Solarize Central Montana

Solarize Central Montana is a campaign of Central Montana Resource Council. We are bringing together community members from Fergus and Judith Basin Counties to get more solar energy in Central Montana. Solarize Central Montana is working to select expert installers and gathering information you need to consider going solar on your home or business.

Solarize Central Montana is a campaign of Central Montana Resource Council. We are bringing together community members from Fergus and Judith Basin Counties to get more solar energy in Central Montana. Solarize Central Montana is working to select expert installers and gathering information you need to consider going solar on your home or business. 

Through our 2022 Solarize Central Montana campaign, 20 contracts have been signed and 68 free assessments have been completed. Given the success of our campaign, we will be launching a Phase 2 of our Solarize Central Montana campaign. You can  Click here to sign up today for an early bird Phase 2 assessments. Assessments for Phase 2. Assessments will begin spring 2023.

Questions? Contact bronya@northernplains.org.

Check out the recording of Solarize Central Montana’s “Solar Made Easy” Event!

Frequently Asked Questions

Solarize is a short term local effort that brings together groups of potential solar customers through widespread outreach and education. This model helps customers access solar installation companies that are offering competitive, transparent pricing.

If you live in Fergus or Judith Basin Counties and own your own roof, you are eligible to join Solarize.

A south or southwest-facing roof are the most ideal locations for a solar electric system. Shading can cause a decrease in your system’s ability to function at its maximum capacity. To avoid this, ensure trees and other obstructions, current and future, do not compromise your system. When you schedule your at-home solar assessment, your solar installer will provide specific information on your roof’s viability.​

A solar PV system generates electricity by converting sunlight into electricity that can be used in your home. This reduces the amount of electricity you need to purchase from your utility. Your utility keeps track of how much electricity you supply to the grid as well as how much you purchase, and bills you only for your net electricity consumption.

The size of a solar PV system is often described in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW). 1,000 W = 1 kW. Watts are a unit of power, just like the horsepower of an engine. They express the maximum possible output of energy the system can produce at any point in time. When sunlight strikes solar PV panels, they produce electricity that is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). Kilowatt hours are the units of energy you buy from your utility and use in your home to run your appliances, lighting, and electronics. Your system will be sized based on the amount of energy you use and the amount of usable space on your roof.​

Yes, just not as much. Under an overcast sky, panels will generate less electricity than they produce on a clear, sunny day.​

Solar electric systems require very little maintenance. Rain showers will generally take care of the pollen and dust that fall on your solar panels. You may have to trim trees and maintain branches to protect your system from falling limbs, minimize shading and maximize electric production. Snow removal is not necessary or recommended unless proper precautions and tools are used to avoid personal injury or damage to the panels.

 

Without a battery backup, grid-tied solar electric systems won’t operate when the power goes out. You can add a battery backup to your system to keep the lights on during a blackout, typically these types of backup systems can range from $5,000- $15,000.​

Your solar savings depend on the size of the system you choose, your annual electrical usage, electricity rates and any financing option that you choose. With your solar assessment, you will receive information on much electricity your new system is expected to produce on an annual basis and an estimation on how much you will save on an annual basis.​ Sign up for an assessment on your home, ranch, or business to find out!

Yes. You will receive a monthly bill from your utility company as you always have, but the amount owed will differ depending on your monthly electrical usage. Depending on how your system is sized, you may accrue credits in the more productive summer months, which can be carried over and used in the less productive winter months.

The federal government provides an income tax credit equal to 21% of your system’s total installed cost, net of state incentives. This can be claimed on your tax return. This tax credit is set to expire in 2023. The ITC is a 30% tax credit for solar systems on residential (under Section 25D) and commercial (under Section 48) properties.

Yes.  The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has a Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program (AERLP) which provides low interest loans (3.25%) for renewable energy projects like installing a solar PV system. You can find more information at the DEQ website here.

Studies have shown that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. However, your property value will only increase if you own, rather than lease, your solar panel system. In most parts of the country, going solar will actually increase your property value more than a kitchen renovation.

About Central Montana Resource Council:

Central Montana Resource Council is a grassroots organization working to protect water quality and quantity from corporate privatization, over-withdrawal, and degradation and to research and develop local food production and distribution and improve the self-sufficiency of Lewistown.

Contact:

Questions about Solarize Central Montana? Contact Bronya Lechtman at bronya@northernplains.org or (406) 248-1154.

Solar Assessment Sign-up

Sign up by the Solstice, June 21st!
Solar Assessment Sign-up
Name(Required)
Address(Required)

Active Campaigns

Tell NorthWestern Energy to stop disrespecting our communities

Tell NorthWestern Energy to stop disrespecting our communities

NorthWestern Energy is recklessly pushing forward with construction of a methane fired power plant in Laurel, Montana. This project creates financial risks for energy customers while threatening our health, air quality, and climate. Montanans deserve a fair, reliable, and sustainable source of power that protects the people and places we love. The time to act is now!

Take Action
Tell President Biden to fix our broken cattle markets

Tell President Biden to fix our broken cattle markets

In July 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. Sign our petition to tell President Biden to uphold his executive order and restore fair competition to the cattle market!

Take Action
Sign our petition in support of the Montana Constitution

Sign our petition in support of the Montana Constitution

The MT Constitution guarantees at least 17 rights that are not protected under the federal constitution, but because it gives us those rights, and limits the power of politicians, there are state legislators talking about amending it, or even scrapping it entirely and starting over. Take action in support of the Constitution today!

Take Action
Tell Sen. Daines to co-sponsor the bipartisan American Beef Labeling Act

Tell Sen. Daines to co-sponsor the bipartisan American Beef Labeling Act

It’s time to bring back Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL)! Consumers deserve the right to know where their meat is from, and ranchers deserve the right to an honest market.

Take Action
Secretary Vilsack – stop cattle market corruption

Secretary Vilsack – stop cattle market corruption

For decades, family ranchers and beef consumers have been harmed by corruption within the cattle market system. Please take a moment to add your name to our letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking him to restore fairness, transparency, and competition to cattle markets during this rulemaking period.

Take Action

Sign up to receive important email updates!

Stay informed about the work we are doing across Montana to protect our air, water, agriculture, and natural resources.

WordPress Lightbox