New Solar Installations in Iconic National Parks Helping Keep Them Green
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO – Xanterra Travel Collection, a global adventure travel company and the largest national park concessioner in the U.S., today announced new solar installations in 2018 that will help provide clean, renewable energy for facilities in several of the country’s iconic national parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and Death Valley National Park in California, plus Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. The four new systems will generate a total of 4.5 million kilowatt hours per year, equivalent to the energy used in about 426 average American homes and will avoid the carbon emissions from 3.7 million pounds of coal each year.
Two of the systems, in Rocky Mountain National Park and at The Oasis in Death Valley National Park, are specifically designed to withstand extreme natural conditions – high elevation, below zero temperatures, significant snowfall and very strong winds at the former and intense heat and desert conditions at the latter.
Xanterra’s off-grid, solar array in Rocky Mountain National Park came online last month, providing nearly all of the power needed for the Trail Ridge Store. Officially unveiled today, the system – located at the top of Trail Ridge Road at 11,798 feet –was designed by Independent Power Systems to withstand bitter cold and snowdrifts up to 20 feet. A monitor in the store provides real-time energy usage and generation data.
At Mount Rushmore, the “Thomas Jefferson Solar Canopy,” a 346-kilowatt solar carport system mounted on an existing parking facility, will generate approximately 50 percent of the electricity needed to power Xanterra’s nearby restaurant and gift shop. Slated to come online in December, the system represents $40,000 in yearly electricity savings, reduces the building’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by 24 percent and is the second largest solar installation in the state.
Within Death Valley National Park, The Oasis at Death Valley resort, privately owned by Xanterra, has had a one-megawatt solar array since June 2008, supplying up to 33 percent of the power needed for the resort’s hotel properties, The Inn and The Ranch. Estimated for completion by early 2019, the system is being upgraded this year to two megawatts and has been re-designed to better withstand the extreme summer heat.
Earlier this month, Xanterra completed a new 38-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the purchasing warehouse in Grand Canyon National Park – a distribution hub for the park’s lodging properties. The system will generate 11 percent of the annual energy usage for the warehouse.
A leader in addressing climate change for nearly two decades, Xanterra is focused on the challenge of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions as part of its overall commitment to operate with “a softer footprint”. The company’s 2025 corporate sustainability goals include using 5 percent less energy annually and reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent between 2014 and 2025.
“As many of Xanterra’s national park operations are literally at the end of the electric transmission line, renewable energy options such as solar provide us with reliable power while also decreasing our overall carbon emissions,” said Andrew N. Todd, President and CEO of Xanterra. “Our commitment to the environment and the communities in which we operate remains constant, and we will continually search for ways to collaborate with the National Park Service to modernize our infrastructure and implement new technologies that help us reach our ambitious 2025 goals.”