Letter: Free up Montana’s renewable energy market – Billings Gazette, Jan. 4, 2015

January 5, 2015

Categories: Clean Energy, Legislature, Letters, News


Environmentalists are supposed to want to saddle business with burdensome laws. Right? Well, here’s one that wants to change some laws hamstringing private business, limiting your access to a free market.

Thanks to breakthrough technology, the cost of renewable energy has plummeted in recent years, making it affordable and cost effective, especially for solar panels to generate electricity. Now, you can save the earth and save money.

Unfortunately, laws currently on the books in Montana seriously limit your choices if you want to take advantage of this new technology. If the roof on your house doesn’t face south, your property is shaded by trees, or you rent, you might want to buy a share in a neighborhood solar system, which, wherever it is, would generate credit against your electric bill. But you can’t do that.

You might need a large system, which would generate enough electricity for an industrial operation, big box store, or a hospital, school or university. But you can’t have it. If you have multiple meters, like any farm or ranch has, you might want to build one system and generate credit from it for your other meters. But you can’t do that.

And then, if you generate more electricity at the end of the year than you use, you have to give that electricity away for free to the utility.

Unfair? Of course it is. Tell your legislators that you want these laws changed. Tell them you want everyone to be able to get renewable energy.

Wade Sikorski


220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154