Montana solar rebates and tax credits calculator

Solar incentive

Federal ITC 26% (tax credit)

State tax credit: Yes ($1,000)

Net metering (by utility)

Calculate for your homes location

There can be solar tax credits and incentives available at the federal, state and local levels. The calculator above will show you the value of all incentives your home is eligible for.

Summary of Montana solar incentives 2020

Montana legislators haven't done a whole lot to make it easier for you to go solar, but the state's Public Services Commission came through in a big way for 2020 and beyond. NorthWestern Energy advanced a frankly villainous proposal to end net metering, reduce compensation for excess solar energy made by home solar panels, and impose new fees on solar owners. Thankfully the PSC not only rejected the proposal, but responded with a resounding "NO."

The PSC not only rejected NorthWestern's proposal, but also decreed that net metering would be the law of the land until distributed solar generation reaches as much as 5% of the utility's peak load. For context, Montana currently has enough rooftop solar to meet about 1% of peak demand, which means you'll have solid net metering for years to come.

Want to get solar panels for your home? Net metering provides you with 100% credit for every kilowatt-hour your panels generate, meaning you save as much money as possible and solar pays off its cost faster. Montana's commitment to net metering means you can rely on it long into the future.

On this page, you can:

  1. Learn what solar incentives are available to Montana homeowners

  2. See what Montana solar incentives you qualify for based on your utility company and city

  3. Find out how much these incentives and/or Montana solar tax credits will reduce your cost to go solar and add batteries

Federal solar investment tax credit

The federal solar investment tax credit will have the biggest impact on the cost you will face to go solar in Montana

This perk is commonly known as the ITC, short for “Investment Tax Credit”. If you install your photovoltaic system in 2020, the federal tax credit is 26% of the cost of your solar panel system. This is 26% off the entire cost of the system including equipment, labor and permitting.

Example: If your solar energy system costs $20,000, your federal solar tax credit would be $20,000 x 26% = $5,200.

The federal tax credit falls to 22% in 2021. Unless new legislation is introduced in Washington D.C., this program will be gone in 2022.

Net energy metering in Montana

With net metering in some states, you get full retail rate credit for the amount of electricity you send back into the grid with your solar panels.

Net Metering requires your utility to monitor how much energy your solar power system produces and how much energy you actually consume to make sure you get credit for the surplus you send back to them.

In 2019, the Montana Public Services Commission rejected attempts by the state's main utility company, NorthWestern Energy, to reduce the amount paid for solar energy and levy new fees based on peak demand of solar owners. The Commission also put in place rules that net metering in the state would be preserved until the solar power reaches 5% of the state's total energy generation capacity.

Montana requires all investor-owned utilities to offer net metering. All surplus energy you produce will be applied as a credit to your next monthly bill. Unfortunately, if you manage to run a surplus for an entire 12-month period (customers may elect to start yearly cycles in January, April, July or October), the accumulated surplus is granted back to the utility without compensation. We think they should cut you a check.

While electric companies other than investor-owned utilities are not covered by the regulation, the Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association (“MECA”) has adopted model net metering/interconnection guidelines that mirror state law, but with an even lower 10 kW system size limit. Net metering is available in whole or part from most MECA members.

Montana solar rebates

While Montana does not have a dedicated state rebate for solar panel installation, some manufacturers like LG offer their own solar rebates. These programs are usually time sensitive. For example, LG offers a $600 solar rebate on their equipment, which your installer can help you redeem over the next year.

Montana state tax credit

In addition to the solar power rebate from NorthWestern Energy, when tax day rolls around you’ll also get some cash back from the state. Montana’s Residential Alternative Energy System Tax Credit offers a tax credit on 100% of the price of a solar power system, up to a maximum of $500 for individuals and $1,000 for households with more than one taxpayer. The credit may be carried over for up to four years.

Property tax exemption

In addition to the money you’ll get back on your state income taxes, Montana legislators have made sure you’ll also save bundles of money in property taxes. After all, installing a solar power system adds a great deal of value to your home.

Thanks to the Renewable Energy Systems Exemption, up to $20,000 of assessed value from your solar power system is 100% exempt from all property taxes for 10 good long years. That’s thousands of dollars saved over the next decade!

Cost of solar panels in your part of Montana after all applicable solar incentives

Solar prices near you

Cost range of local prices

$19,707-$24,086

Payback period

9.1-11.1 years

Net profit (savings less system cost)

$43,018-$52,578

Average size system installed in MT in 2020

11.8kW

Solar panel cost calculator

Best 10 solar companies in Montana

9 solar companies in Montana provide pricing on SolarReviews. Here are the best rated companies near you.

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