The Nature Conservancy's Niobrara Valley Preserve is one of the largest Conservancy 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 natural laboratory, The Nature Conservancy had a facility constructed to provide for 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 to meet the goals of the organization. The only thing preventing the facility from having true off-grid capability has been a lack of 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.