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Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
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Solar Power at NOLS

Though NOLS is a wilderness leadership school, our commitment to the environment is not restricted to the backcountry.

Environmentally conscious frontcountry operations have long been part of NOLS culture. NOLS’ solar roots go back to 1985 when the NOLS Board of Trustees donated two “Arco Genesis” solar panels to NOLS Mexico. These panels were connected to a car battery and used to power the cassette tape player, and the solar program grew from there.

In 2006 we formalized our commitment to sustainability by creating the NOLS Sustainability Initiative and setting a series of carbon reduction goals aimed at both increasing our operational efficiency and decreasing our environmental impact. Electricity is responsible for nearly one third of our entire carbon footprint, so energy efficiency and solar energy production became high priorities.

In 2008, NOLS received its first grant from the Rocky Mountain Power Blue Sky Renewable Energy program for a solar array at NOLS Rocky Mountain, starting a second wave of solar power production to spread throughout the school. The momentum from that original grant continues to inspire and motivate NOLS students and staff around the glove.

In 2013 we celebrated our fourth grant from the Blue Sky Renewable Energy program with the installation of a 23.5 kilowatt solar array on the roof of the NOLS International Headquarters in Lander, Wyoming.

As of 2014, NOLS has solar arrays in nine locations:

  • NOLS Mexico (installed in 1985)
  • NOLS Rocky Mountain (2008)
  • NOLS Teton Valley (2010)
  • NOLS Australia (2010)
  • The Noble Hotel (2011)
  • NOLS Southwest (2012)
  • The Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus (2012)
  • NOLS Pacific Northwest (2013)
  • NOLS Headquarters (2013).

Scroll down to see the live feed of solar production at our domestic locations.

NOLS Headquarters Solar System Live Stats:


NOLS Rocky Mountain Solar System Live Stats:


Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus Live Stats:


Noble Hotel Solar System Live Stats:


NOLS Pacific Northwest Solar System Live Stats:


NOLS Southwest Solar System Live Stats:


NOLS Teton Valley Solar System Live Stats:
 
Reducing fossil fuel use is central to NOLS’ Carbon Reduction Goals and to part of the core vision of our Sustainability Initiative—to reduce consumption.
Photo: Amy Rathke
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