When the University of Montana needed to power monitoring equipment in remote mountainous areas for a environmental research project



A University of Montana research project involves studying the Earth’s lithosphere to understand the mechanisms that produce the continental landscape, especially how landscape is related to the forces associated with tectonics and topography. The ultimate goal is to educate local populations about potential earthquakes in order to lessen fatalities.

This research uses many different tools, including numerical simulation, GPS geodesy, seismology and tectonic geomorphology in the western U.S., Central Asia, and Ethiopia.


The project consists of placing equipment in very remote and mountainous areas of the world, where access is limited. Power systems needed to be portable, reliable, and low maintenance.


SunWize Power & Battery Power Ready Systems are complete solar electric systems that provide continuous, reliable power and are easily deployed, cost-effective and require little maintenance. The systems are partially assembled to facilitate transportation and for easy assembly in the field. On the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, research is being conducted to characterize earthquake hazards throughout Central Asia. There are very big faults with some record of past large earthquakes. The regional disaster response capabilities are poor, so getting a more specific sense of which areas are highest risk may be critical for using very limited resources efficiently.
The site consists of a high-precision GPS instrument powered exclusively by SunWize equipment. The nearest power line is 25 km away. This site has now been running for 6 years without any data loss. Research is also being conducted in the Lost River Range of Idaho. This range is one of the most isolated places in the continuous U.S. and they hiked the system on foot for 3 miles.

This experiment is designed to characterize regional earthquake hazards and tests whether the surface motions caused by tectonic processes can provide information about the materials that make up deeper layers of the lithosphere. The instrument is set in very wild country with grizzly bears and elk.

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