Solar Power Rebates, Tax Credits and Solar Panel Incentives in Montana; 2012 Update
We have taken a look at the incentives and rebates available for solar power in Montana.
Montana's RPS or Renewable Portfolio Standard
Montana has a Renewable Portfolio Standard ("RPS"); targets have been set a very modest 15% by 2015 and to remain at this rate indefinitely. I was a bit surprised by this modest target there is a good chance that the RPS could be revised in the near future. This is the reason why rebates and incentives are being offered by utilities and power retailers as it will help them meet their targets. To help your understanding we distinguish the rebates and incentives available for solar electricity panels into incentives that reduce the up-front cost and incentives that increase the income and savings from the system over time.
Federal Tax Credit
The single most significant financial incentive for your solar power system in Montana is the same Federal Tax Credit that applies right across the USA. This gives you a credit on your Federal Tax bill equivalent to 30% of the cost of your solar system For more information on this visit out page "The 30% federal tax credit for residential solar power systems" Because this is a tax credit you get the benefit of this when you do your next federal tax return, rather than getting a cheque on the day of installation. Still, it has a real value if you are in a position where you are paying annual federal income tax equivalent to 30% or more of the value of your solar panel system.
Montana State Rebates
Montana has a Utility run solar power rebate program in place and glancing through it, it seems like a good one. Basically it has a maximum rebate available to solar PV of $6,000 and that is better than most folks. Incentives of $3.00/watt are offered for residential solar photovoltaic (PV) installations up to a maximum of $6,000 per customer. NorthWestern Energy has developed qualification requirements for dealers and installers of these small scale systems. In order for a customer to receive the funds, the work must be completed by a NorthWestern Energy qualified dealer or installer. Off-grid installations inside NWE's service territory are not eligible for USB funds. Residential solar PV installations receive the incentive through a qualified installer. All other systems must participate in a request for proposal (RFP) process. A guide to funding renewable energy projects, "Bright Ideas in Renewable Energy", explains the program and the request for proposal (RFP) process. The RFP should be submitted along with a cover sheet and equipment and installation cost information. A subcommittee of non-utility reviewers selects proposals for funding twice per year."
Net Metering in general means that your electricity provider will monitor how much power you consume from the grid and how much power you generate and send back to the grid. This can be achieved by the installation of a bio-directional meter that separately records what you buy from the grid and what you push back into the grid. This is not always the case some Net Metering systems can work with existing meters. The best way to find out what applicable to you is to click "here" and get some quotes from local solar professionals. Here are some particulars about the Montana Net Metering system; Montana's net-metering law applies to all customers of investor-owned utilities. Systems up to 50 kilowatts (kW) in capacity that generate electricity using solar, wind or hydropower are eligible. Utilities may not require customer-generators to comply with any additional standards or requirements beyond those established by the National Electric Code, National Electrical Safety Code, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Net excess generation (NEG) is credited to the customer's next monthly bill. Any remaining unused kilowatt-hour (kWh) credits accumulated during the previous year are granted to the utility.
Montana Solar Incentives and investment case: Summary April 2012
Montana has a reasonable package of solar power incentives and rebates. There is a good Utilities run rebates system and a reasonable Net Metering system, notice I said reasonable, there are better around. Top that of with property tax and sales tax incentives you have a reasonable overall package. The best way to find out what is available to you is to get some quotes and have a chat with local solar professionals, click "here" and we can make this happen. Remember, Warren Buffet's compound annual return on investment over 50 years is only around 20% and with a solar power system you are likely to exceed this within only 5-6 years. From then on the percentage return you get each year just goes up and up as power prices go up and up over the next 30 years