Pacific Outdoor Equipment receives USDA Grant for Solar Project Official ‘Switch Throwing’ Ceremony with USDA Speaker Matt Jones

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Pacific Outdoor Equipment received the REAP grant from the USDA to build a 3-kilowatt solar array on its headquarters and warehouse in Bozeman, Montana. Matt Jones, the USDA’s Montana State Director of Rural Development, participated in the official solar “switch throwing” ceremony.

Pacific Outdoor Equipment, international manufacturer of innovative and environmentally conscience outdoor equipment, received the Rural Energy for America (REAP) grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to build a 3-kilowatt solar array on its headquarters and warehouse in Bozeman, Montana. Matt Jones, the USDA’s Montana State Director of Rural Development, participated in the official solar “switch throwing” ceremony.

The solar array is part of Pacific Outdoor Equipment’s continued conservation commitment to build innovative outdoor gear grounded in a business ethos to protect the environment its customers enjoy. The outdoor company’s sleeping pads, dry bags, urban packs, camping accessories and pannier bike bags have been built with an eye on the environment since 1983.

The new solar array is grid-tied which further benefits the local community’s infrastructure through decentralized power generation to reduce demand on transmission power lines, and the consumption of additional infrastructure resources. The annual estimated output (or offset) of the system is 3,715 kWh/year. The solar array offsets 100% of Pacific Outdoor Equipment’s office use and 30% of its total facility use. The outdoor company is committed to increase, through conservation, the total percentage impact of the solar array’s energy production over the next few years.

The grant was part of a competitive process and awarded based on Pacific Outdoor Equipment’s comprehensive dedication to conservation and efficiency in their business. According to Pacific Outdoor Equipment’s President, Greg Garrigues, “Ecology is not a buzzword in our business, it is a battle cry. Our motto ‘Good Gear = Less Waste’ speaks to making equipment that best utilizes sustainable and low impact materials from cradle to cradle that are built durably so they don’t contribute to future landfills.”

The official solar system’s “switch throwing” ceremony on October 12, 2010 commenced with speeches from the Montana’s Congressional Representatives, USDA’s Montana State Director of Rural Development, Matt Jones and Pacific Outdoor Equipment’s President, Greg Garrigues. Celebrations included a cook out, beverages from Big Sky Brewing, solar-oven baked brownies and tours of Pacific Outdoor’s Bozeman facility.

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. Grants are incentives available to agricultural producers and to rural small businesses to purchase solar energy systems (including solar water heating and solar electric systems) and wind energy systems.

Pacific Outdoor Equipment’s mission is to create and deliver the highest quality, best-designed outdoor gear imaginable, and have a great time doing it! Good Gear = Less Waste. Which is why POE’s sleeping pads, dry bags, urban packs, camping accessories and pannier bike bags are built to last and have raised the bar in lightweight performance, packability, water resistance and welded airtight construction -- all while incorporating innovative eco-friendly materials since 1983. http://www.pacoutdoor.com

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Liz Hutchins

Greg Garrigues
Pacific Outdoor Equipment
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