Solar panels Montana:

Prices, incentives and best companies 2020

Avg MT solar panel cost:

$8,645 - $10,566*

Avg 25 year savings:

$40,784 - $49,847

Avg payback period:

5.2 - 6.3 years

Estimate cost and savings based on your location and power usage

* Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 26% federal tax credit.

Montana solar panels guide 2020

Updated November 3, 2020

Going solar in Montana is a great investment for your home. State law requires privately-owned utilities to offer full retail net metering to their customers. Montana also has a personal tax credit that residents can claim when they install a renewable energy system on their property. 

Full net metering, the state tax credit, and the 26% federal tax credit make going solar an excellent choice for Montana homeowners.

On this page:

Solar power prices, savings and payback in your part of Montana

The average cost for an installed residential solar system in Montana is currently $10,758 after claiming the 26% federal solar tax credit. This is $2.42 per watt. However, there is some variance in solar prices in different parts of the state. The graph below shows the average cost of installed solar systems in your part of the state.

Cost range of local prices

$8,645-$10,566

Net profit (savings less system cost)

$40,784-$49,847

Payback period

5.2-6.3 years

Recommended size for the selected utility bill

4.9kW

Solar panel cost calculator

Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 4.9kW system

Are solar panels worth it in Montana

Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2020 they also remain subsidized by the 26% federal tax credit and the net metering law, making them an excellent investment. They offer a return well above the long term average return from both the share market and also property investment.

Another way to look at this question is the levelized amount you will pay for each kWh of power you will use over the next 25 years with and without solar panels. As you can see below the savings are significant.

Levelized cost of solar energy
?
Levelized cost per kWh is the cost of the solar system divided by the total number of kWh produced by a solar system over it’s lifetime

5¢ /kWh

If you don't get solar

25¢ /kWh

(forecast avg Montana electric rates over the next 25 years)

MT solar panel cost calculator

Montana solar incentives & tax credits

Federal solar tax credit

The most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and businesses in Montana is the federal solar tax credit. At the end of 2020, the amount of the credit will decrease from 26% to 22% of the cost of the solar installation. 

Because home and business owners want to get the largest incentive amount possible, solar panel installation companies will likely be flooded with new projects before year’s end. In order to maximize your savings potential, the best time to go solar in Montana is now.

Montana tax credit

When Montana homeowners install a renewable energy system on their property, such as a photovoltaic system, they are eligible for a state tax credit that is equal to 100% of the system costs, up to $500. In a home with two taxpayers, they can file jointly for a tax credit of $1,000.

The tax credit is applied to state income taxes.

 

Net metering

Montana law requires utilities to offer full retail net metering to their customers, meaning residents will receive the full retail value for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy their solar electric systems produce.

Property tax exemption

Normally, installing a solar system would lead to an increase in property taxes. However, thanks to the property tax exemption for buildings using renewable energy, 100% of the assessed value of a solar system is exempt from property taxes for 10 years.

Table 2: Available incentive programs
Eligibility: Federal incentive
Type: Personal Tax Credit
Eligibility: State incentive
Type: Personal Tax Credit

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Top models of solar panel installed in Montana 2020

Average cost of solar panel installation in Montana by system size

System size*
Cash purchase

(After tax credit)

Financed purchase

(After tax credit)

4kW $10,592 $11,333
5kW $12,700 $13,589
6kW $14,538 $15,556
7kW $16,772 $17,946
8kW $19,280 $20,630
9kW $21,159 $22,640
10kW $23,240 $24,867

Best solar companies in the main cities of Montana

Different types of solar companies

Solar company reviews

Home solar basics

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in Montana

You will save most money by buying your solar system rather than leasing it. Read more about the pros and cons of leasing vs buying solar.

How long do solar panels last?

Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more

How do solar panels work on a home?

Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2020 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.

How do solar panels work?

Grid-tied solar system

Solar panels are mounted on your roof and wired together in groups called solar arrays. The power they generate flows into a solar inverter, where the direct current (DC) is converted into alternating current (AC). The electricity is then either used by your home or exported to the electric grid.

Off-grid solar system

Off-grid solar power involves meeting all your energy needs from the sun; there’s no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not just during the day, when the sun is shining, but after dark as well. This requires many solar panels, paired with a large battery system.

Hybrid solar system

In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. This reduces your reliance on the utility while also providing backup power when needed. Battery storage is still expensive but you may be able to reduce costs by using state incentives.

Read more about types of home solar systems.

Do solar panels require regular maintenance?

No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.

Will residential solar power system cost fall in Montana in 2020?

Given this environment, and the effect of import tariffs placed on solar panels by the Trump administration during 2018, it is hard to see that solar power system prices in Montana will fall during 2020.

How much electricity do solar panel systems generate in Montana?

Depending on the location, solar panels will generate different amounts of electricity.

A solar system that is installed on a south-facing 24-degree pitch roof Montana will generate 1,550kWh of peak DC (direct current) capacity per year per 1kW in Montana.

Enter your details into the solar panel calculator to see how your location, roof tilt, and roof direction impacts solar panel production.

What are the pros and cons of installing solar panels in Montana?

The advantage of installing solar panels in Montana is the state-mandated net metering requirement. Privately-owned utilities must offer kilowatt hour (kWh) credits for excess energy generated by solar systems. You also get to take advantage of that sweet $500 tax credit when you go solar. Don’t forget about your solar property tax exemption too!

The disadvantage of installing solar panels in Montana is that there is very little in the way of utility-based rebates. Also, Montana does not receive as much sunshine as other states, so a solar system here will produce less than a system in a sunnier state, like Arizona. 

However, the available state-based incentives combined with the federal tax credit more than make up for what the state lacks in sunshine. With the incentives that are currently available, now is the best time to go solar in Montana!

Enter your details to calculate the cost and savings you are likely to get from installing solar panels for your home.

What you can learn from our state solar panel calculator

This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - it tells you:

If you want to see all of the above but also see live pricing, the three best solar deals available in your city and get binding quotes from each of these solar companies then use this Montana solar panels calculator. This calculator requires you to also input your name and contact details because most of our 200+ installer partners will only authorize the sharing of their live solar pricing where we have validated that you are a real homeowner with a home in their service area. We respect the privacy of your data and only share your contact details with the solar companies you ask us to get binding quotes from.

Note: Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.

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