The Nature Conservancy's Niobrara Valley Preserve is one of the largest preserves in the U.S., and a model for grassland management using bison, cattle and fire. It encompasses once majestic pine-clad canyons, extensive grasslands and a 25-mile stretch of the Niobrara River. To help manage this world-class, living laboratory, The Nature Conservancy constructed a facility to satisfy the needs of site visitors, researchers, ranchers, students and conservation professionals. Replete with cabins, conference rooms, a research lab and a 142' by 60' maintenance building with additional conference rooms, meeting rooms and a full kitchen; the facility has everything required for an extended stay and meet the goals of every stakeholder. The only thing the facility lacked was true off-grid capability without on-site power generation.
Through a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, that off-grid, clean power capability is now a realty. A solar power system designed by Morrissey Engineering of Omaha was installed by SWT Energy in collaboration with Sentry Electric of Lincoln, Nebraska. The 50 kW solar power system produces ample power for the facility as well as providing backup capability through a BYD battery system in case of a power outage ensuring this remote site stays up and running no matter what Western Nebraska throws at it.