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Lamar Ranch in Yellowstone PV-Powered

Credits: ©2010 National Park Service

A 7-kilowatt PV array helps power the remote Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone National Park. The system is the main source of power for three residences occupied by National Park Service rangers and 16 small cabins operated by the Yellowstone Institute. Altair Energy of Colorado assisted the Federal Energy Management Program with the design, specification, procurement and installation of the PV hybrid system. The PV array is part of a hybrid remote power system that features two alternating engine generators. The system is the main source of power for three residences occupied by National Park Service rangers and 16 small cabins operated by the Yellowstone Institute. System components include a 7-kilowatt PV array, inverters, controls, industrial battery storage and two alternating 12 kilowatt propane-powered engine generators.


Lamar Buffalo Ranch Solar Arrays

At the Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone National Park, electricity comes from an array of solar panels. Energy from the sun is converted into DC (Direct Current) power and stored in large batteries. The batteries are connected to an inverter that converts the DC power to AC (Alternating Current) for the lights, fans, refrigerators, freezers, microwave, and coffee makers. There is a propane powered backup generator which is available when the batteries are too depleted to supply the required power. ©2009 NPS

Altair also conducted installation and maintenance training for the park's electricians.

The Buffalo Ranch

The Lamar Buffalo Ranch was built in the early part of the century in an effort to increase the herd size of the few remaining bison in Yellowstone, preventing the feared extinction of the species. Buffalo ranching operations continued at Lamar until the 1950s.

The valley was irrigated for hay pastures, and corrals and fencing were scattered throughout the area. Remnants of irrigation ditches, fencing, and water troughs can still be found. Four remaining buildings from the original ranch compound are contained within the Lamar Buffalo Ranch Historic District (two residences, the bunkhouse, and the barn) and are on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the early 1980s, old tourist cabins from Fishing Bridge were brought to Lamar to be used for Yellowstone Institute classes.

In 1993, a cabin replacement project, funded by the Yellowstone Association, was begun. At this time all of the old cabins have been replaced with new insulated and heated structures.

The facility is also used in the spring and fall for the Park Service's residential environmental education program.


Greening Yellowstone