On Monday, the Montana Public Service Commission unanimously rejected a proposed change to the state's renewable energy policy that solar installers say would hurt the industry. The PSC's decision in mid-2017 came after a coalition of solar and wind companies and their supporters asked the commission to suspend the current price NorthWestern charges for paying small independent solar generators. There have been repeated opinions lately that wind power is too expensive and would somehow lead to higher energy prices in our country.
The company also says the prices have led to an increase in complaints about the tariffs it has received. After about a year of paperwork and patience, the Garners got their funding and found that solar power was even a viable option in northwest Montana. Montana has built more than 1,000 megawatts of solar power generation capacity, but none has been built in Montana, according to the company.
Enerparc has completed River Bend Solar, touted as one of the largest solar power projects in the US, and has begun to complete three more Montana projects for fall 2017. EnerParc completed the first of these projects, a 1,000 megawatt solar power plant in Great Falls, Montana, in August 2016.
While the solar industry's lawsuits at PSK Montana are bearing fruit, PURPA and the environment remain challenging for solar plants in Montana, as onshore wind power is reserved for offshore wind to avoid costs. For Montana's solar industry to continue to develop its enormous potential, we need the right policies. The original terms received enough support not to reject the local community on NIMBY grounds.
Check out our list of companies and entrepreneurs working in the renewable energy industry here in Montana for more information on the opportunities of solar and wind power in the state.
Most of these companies are small, local businesses that work in the solar, wind and other renewable energy industries here in Montana. In addition, large companies are competing with local solar companies, which now offer zero start-up financing through specialized solar loan companies. Consumers who want to buy rather than lease solar panels can now access loans from many different companies, and some solar loans can be applied for through solar system companies acting as dealers for the financing company.
If you are ready to push your PV system forward, you can confirm how long it takes for your system to pay for itself and to use the energy saved and the current incentives that apply.
O'Donnell's motion also calls on NorthWestern to reconsider the proposal when the meters reach the meter to provide better information on cost allocation. North Western Energy buys wind power from wind farms in the Great Falls region and other parts of the state, but it has a long history of putting favorable terms on solar projects. This will give North Western Energy a windfall that will make it easier for them to pass on the costs to Montana consumers in the form of higher bills. How much of a fee you pay for excess energy produced by your rooftop solar system would more accurately reflect the cost your system imposes on the power grid, "NorthWestern said.
To receive this incentive, a solar or wind turbine must be installed by a company that is qualified through NorthWestern Energy and installed and sold to install or sell it in the Great Falls region or other parts of the state. Buying solar panels is preferable to leasing because it helps to keep the cost of your solar system as low as possible. However, if you lease the solar panels, the credits will go to the lessor instead. These credits are used to offset the cost of buying electricity from Northwest if the customer's solar system does not produce enough.
The Great Falls region and other parts of the state benefit from incentives for solar and wind power through NorthWestern Energy's renewable energy tax credit.
The weekly solar index includes the average daily short-wave solar energy that reaches per square meter of soil (orange line). This section discusses the expansion of the soil over a wide area, taking full account of wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric and other renewable energy sources. Average daily short wave solar energy (blue line) and average daily solar energy (yellow line), the total amount of solar energy that reaches the surface and the ground over the largest area (red line, orange line).
The savings for the above reasons were calculated using the average daily solar energy production per square meter of land in the Great Falls area. Montana has significant renewable energy sources and generates nearly half of its state's electricity from renewable sources, mostly hydropower. The solar potential is enormous, and Montana has great potential to meet a large portion of the state's energy needs from wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, and other renewable energy sources.