Mount Rushmore plans to add solar panels this fall

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The top floor of the Washington side of the parking garage will look a little different next summer. A large solar panel awning will take up nearly half of the lot. The reason for the addition- a more efficient way to use energy, powering more than half of the restaurant and gift shop.

"We're always trying to reduce green house gas emissions, reduce our air pollution here, and reducing our electricity consumption is one way to do that. We've done a lot of projects like that- new lighting projects, efficiency projects. Now we're looking to use alternative energy to offset even more of those emissions from the electricity," says Kevin Crosby the sustainability manager for Xanterra Parks & Resorts.

For visitors parking on the top floor, the solar panel will act as protection for their cars. And once the nearly one thousand panels are completed, upkeep should be limited.

"One of the great benefits of solar power as a renewable energy source is it's very low maintenance, there's no moving parts, very little that you need to do to maintain it. We've designed it in a way so it slopes so the snow will slide off of it gradually over the winter," says Crosby.

Construction begins October 1st and should be completed by December 1st. Crosby says the parking lot will be closed as usual during the months of construction, so the public will not be affected.