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Solar array in the Thomas Jefferson Solar Canopy at Mount Rushmore lines lead to the mountain sculpture surrounded by trees
Thomas Jefferson Solar Canopy at Mount Rushmore

Solar Solution for Softer Footprint at Mount Rushmore

Client

Pivot Energy

Project Location

Keystone, SD

Energy Capacity

346 kW

Our firm teamed with Pivot Energy in the design of a 346kW solar canopy system to produce clean energy at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota. The project supports Xanterra’s goal of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions as part of its overall commitment to operate with a softer footprint. A live data dashboard includes information on energy generation as well as environmental benefits like carbon offset.

When parking vehicles under the array, visitors are protected from the elements and take advantage of views of the Memorial made possible by the distinct angular design of the 975 solar panels atop the carport.

The solar canopy is located on top of a nearby parking structure protecting visitors from the elements and framing unobstructed views of the memorial. The system will generate over half of the electricity used at Xanterra’s gift shop and restaurant at Mount Rushmore. In 2019 the cafe achieved 4-star Certified Green Restaurant certification.
We provided electrical design and engineering services for the project which is estimated to reduce existing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent. The Thomas Jefferson Solar Canopy at Mount Rushmore provides power for the concessions and visitor’s center. The system is expected to generate almost 500,000 kilowatt hours and save the park $40,000 in energy costs annually.
The canopy, powered by 975 solar panels mounted on the parking structure, is strategically designed to prohibit obstructing views of the memorial when parking at the site. The array is positioned on the top of the Washington Parking Garage and is designed with a dual tilt configuration. The northern half of the structure is tilted at 5 degrees for production purposes but also ensures that visitors do not lose sight of the memorial when standing on the top level of the garage. The southern half is at a minus-1-degree slope to catch any snow that slides down from the northern half of the array and direct any moisture away from patrons.

Awards

2018 Intelegant Award for Excellence

SunPower

2019 Coolest Carport

Solar Builder Editor’s Choice Projects of the Year

2019 Act of Excellence

South Dakota Hall of Fame

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