Spark R&D, the splitboard binding manufacturer based out of Bozeman, MT, has completed the installation of a 50kW solar photovoltaic system on the roof of their 12,000 square foot building.
“This project has been on my mind and in the works from the moment we bought our building in 2016,” says Becca Ritter, Spark R&D’s co-owner and CFO. “We manufacture everything right here, and with a shop full of CNC machines and various production systems running around the clock, it’s an energy-intensive operation. Capturing and convertingthe sun’s energy to make power for us just makes sense.”
The solar array consisting of 166 panels will cover two-thirds of the company’s roof and will offset approximately 25% of their energy consumption.
“One of the really cool parts about being tied to the grid is that the grid actually works as a battery for us. As mentioned, when our shop is cranking we’ll offset about 25% of our energy usage, but when things slow down a bit, we’ll be putting clean energy back into the grid and we’ll be credited back on our utility bill for our contribution.” -Becca Ritter
Spark R&D has always been committed to incorporating sustainable practices into their manufacturing, from recycling aluminum shavings and sourcing materials as nearby as possible, to reusing shop wastewater and adding energy- efficient lighting. Adding solar into the mix is just a natural progression.
“We are adding as many panels as we’re allowed to by the state of Montana,” explains Ritter. “Right now we are bound by the 50kW law, so we cannot exceed that. We are hopeful that someday the rules will change and that we’ll be able tocover the remaining third of our roof with panels. But for now, we are excited to begin producing solar-poweredsplitboard bindings this summer.”
Bozeman based OnSite Energy Inc. was contracted on this project.