- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

HANCOCK, Mich. (AP) - The electric costs for the Quincy Mine Hoist are significant, but the recent installation of a solar panel array is expected to reduce those costs.

Glenda Bierman, manager of the Quincy Mine Hoist Association, said the funding for the two-panel solar array came from the National Park Service through the Keweenaw National Historical Park.

“We were contacted back in 2014,” she told The Daily Mining Gazette ( https://bit.ly/1NX6TIZ ).

This solar panel array was installed this past summer on the property of the Quincy Mine Hoist Association north of Hancock. It will be used to power the lighting for a section of the shaft shown during tours.

The money the National Park Service received came from a lawsuit settlement, Bierman said.

Bierman said the solar array is intended to provide electricity for the lighting in the adit (horizontal shaft) of the mine. With the installation of the array and LED bulbs in the shaft, the savings for electricity costs is expected to be substantial.

John Rosemurgy, KNHP historical architect, said the funding for the QMHA solar array came to KNHP from the NPS as a result of a settlement from Wisconsin Public Energy for a violation of the Clean Air Act.

“That money was distributed to national parks to reduce reliance on coal-generated power,” he said. “A portion was allocated to Keweenaw National Historical Park.”

The amount the park received was $35,000, Rosemurgy said.

Several ideas for the use of the money allocated for KNHP were considered, Rosemurgy said, including putting a solar array on the roof of the Calumet Visitor Center on Fifth Street in Calumet. However, there were some technical problems which prevented that; the ballast needed to keep the array from blowing away in heavy wind would have been too heavy to be supported by the roof.

Because the QMHA is in the Quincy Unit of the KNHP, it’s one the park’s Heritage Sites, and because discussions had previously taken place regarding the future installation of solar panels at the QMHA, Rosemurgy said it was decided to offer the funding for the panels to the QMHA.

“It was a good fit,” he said. “Their utility costs are a significant expenditure.”

The design for the array came from Midland, Michigan-based Currin Corp., which Rosemurgy said has done projects for other NPS properties.

Rosemurgy said placing the panels at the QMHA was the proper choice.

“It’s a good project,” he said.

The solar panels are intended for just the adit of the shaft, Bierman said. It doesn’t provide any power for the rest of the site.

“We’re still hooked up to the electric grid,” she said.

Bierman said the panels were installed this past summer. They went into operation in October, and they’re working well.

“It’s exciting to go with some solar power,” she said.

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Information from: The Daily Mining Gazette, https://www.mininggazette.com

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