Category Archives: Montana Solar Electric

Make a Solar Electric Investment in Your Future

Solar Installation Missoula Montana

This 49.8 kW solar electric installation in the heart of Missoula is not just another pretty face this solar electric system works for a living.

It is tax time and this 49.8 kW solar electric installation in the heart of missoula is a working investment.  Plan ahead for April 15, 2019.  Talk to your accountant.

30% federal tax credit still available in 2018.

State tax credit, $500.00 per tax payer makes this a great time to invest for the long term.

Call SBS Solar today for your free solar estimate.  406-541-8410.

Lifeline Creamery Solar Electric Install

Lifeline Creamery and Farm Store in Victor Montana received a REAP grant that will cover 25% of their solar electric project. The 60 Module array produces 50% of the average annual electric usage for this active farm and commercial dairy.

Do you own a small business in Montana (outside the city limits of Missoula)? The USDA Rural Development, REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) offers up to 25% grants for total eligible project costs, as well as loan guarantees.  Partnered with the 30% federal tax credit your savings really add up.

This program helps increase American energy independence by increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements. Over time, these investments can also help lower the cost of energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers.

Application Deadline: 

  • Grants of $20,000 or less: October 31, 2018 and March 31, 2019;
  • Unrestricted Grants (up to $500,000): March 31, 2019;
  • Loan Guarantees are competed continuously throughout the year.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to invest in the long term health of your business with an investment in solar energy and energy savings.

Call Dan for a free solar consultation today 406-541-8410.

 

Best Time to Install Solar Electricity in Montana

Solar Electric InstallationWhen is the Best Time to Install a Solar Electric System in Montana?

Spring is an ideal time.  Nearly all modern solar panel systems are connected to the conventional electric utility grid. When this happens, your meter spins backwards and your utility company credits you for that power. This grid-tied method tends to be the most convenient for homeowners. This is ideal for us in Montana, because of our long solar days in the summer and shorter days in the winter time.  In Montana the utility company will not write you a check for excess energy that you produce.  So generally your system will be sized to accommodate your average annual usage.  (determined by your utility bill).  Each year the solar electric system generates power during peak season (summer), and you consume power during the darker, shorter days of winter.  The utility company (each one slightly different dates) resets once a year and the process begins again.  We generally recommend with NorthWestern Energy to reset on April 1st.  This gives the entire summer to generate power and the entire winter to consume power before beginning the cycle again.

Other conditions that make the perfect time to install your solar electric system:

  • 30% federal tax credit still available in 2018.
  • State tax credit, $500.00 per tax payer makes this a great time to invest for the long term.

Call SBS Solar today for your free solar estimate.  406-541-8410.

36-panel Solar Array Hamilton MT

Solar Panels Hamilton Mt

We are thrilled with our new 36-panel solar array installed recently by Dan Brandborg and his great team at SBS Solar. This highly skilled and experienced group was great to work with from start to finish, and we most highly recommend this company to anyone wanting to utilize clean solar energy for their home or business. Dan and his team were always available to answer our questions, the project went smoothly, and we are now producing clean electricity for us and even others to use. Thank you SBS Solar for everything you did.

Carol and Tom Schwan
Hamilton, Montana

 

Solar Energy System Installed for Your Annual Energy Usage

Solar Myth # 7 I will have an excess of energy that will go unused and will be wasted

Fact: Nearly all modern solar panel systems are connected to the conventional electric utility grid. When this happens, your meter spins backwards and your utility company credits you for that power. This grid-tied method tends to be the most convenient for homeowners. This is ideal for us in Montana, because of our long solar days in the summer and shorter days in the winter time.  In Montana the utility company will not write you a check for excess energy that you produce.  So generally your system will be sized to accommodate your average annual usage.  (determined by your utility bill).  Each year the solar electric system generates power during peak season (summer), and you consume power during the darker, shorter days of winter.  The utility company (each one slightly different dates) resets once a year and the process begins again.

Check out the rest of our videos.

Solar Made Easy. Is Solar Right for You?

Making solar easy in Missoula   Climate Smart Missoula, Montana Renewable Energy Association (MREA), the City of Missoula and Missoula Federal Credit Union presented an informational workshop about going solar. Their aim – to make it easy! The goal is to help the consumer understand the process of installing a solar electric system and what barriers stand in the way.   Links to all the resources are Here.

Is Solar right for you?  Solar Energy, Missoula-Style!  Solar Process Flowchart

Navigate the flow-chart below to go step-by-step through the process of understanding the local solar landscape, and then chart your own path!

Solar Installer Missoula Montana

Embedded Energy – Solar Module Manufacturing and Pay Back

Embedded Energy - Solar Module ManufacturingOne often stated myth is that manufacturing solar panels requires more energy than the solar module will produce is simply not true.

According to a 2004 National Renewable Energy Laboratory study that analyzes several different panel technologies, “Producing electricity with photovoltaics (PV) emits no pollution, produces no greenhouse gases, and uses no finite fossil fuel resources.” and it takes only 1 – 4 years for the energy savings accumulated by producing electricity from solar to equal the energy cost of producing the panel.

Solar technology has improved in the years since this study was conducted, and production efficiencies have driven the “energy payback period” down even further.  Solar modules generally have a 25 year warranty and can continue to produce long after that time frame(at a slightly reduced rate) lifetime production of a solar module exceeds far embedded costs.

Affordable Housing Valley Villas Solar Electric System Hamilton Montana

Valley Villas-Solar Electric Hamilton Montana Valley Villas is one of the largest solar electric systems in Montana.    It has many unique features, three separate buildings, 34 apartment units, with two laundry rooms.  SBS Solar used all SolarWorld 325 modules and Fronius inverters.

The developer and architect on the project kept their eye on efficiency.
Apartments feature:

  • Air source heat pumps for heating and cooling
  • All energy efficient appliances
  • High performance insulation in the ceiling and walls
  • LED lighting indoors and out
  • High-E windows and doors
  • All 17 lower level units also incorporate handicapped accessible design features
  • Energy efficient washers and dryers in each laundry room
  • And of course individually Net Metered photovoltaic systems to help with energy costs

This landmark installation offers efficient affordable housing units that are a model for the affordable housing industry.

Solar Panels on a cloudy day in Western Montana

Solar Works in Montana on Cloudy Overcast Days

Solar Panels on a cloudy day in Western MontanaSolar electric modules will produce energy even on cloudy days. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, consider that solar panels on a rooftop in foggy San Francisco produce nearly the same as the ones in nearby sunny Sacramento. Consider too that Germany (with a climate not that different from Vancouver Canada) leads the world in residential solar right now, and it is generally an overcast climate.

While the amount of sunlight your panels receive is important, a more accurate representation of the amount of energy your panels can produce is referred to as peak sun-hours or equivalent full sun. It is important, first of all, to note that “peak sun-hours” are not the same as “hours of daylight.” Peak sun-hours refers specifically to how much solar energy is available in an area during a typical day. As a comparison Phoenix Arizona has equivalent full sun value of 6.5, in Western Montana we use the equivalent full sun value of 4.5.  The same equivalent sun hour value as a good part of the continental United States.

Financing Solar – Missoula Federal Credit Union

Solar Panel Financing Missoula MontanaMissoula Federal Credit Union Offers Financing For Your Solar Electric System

Planning your solar electric system?  Thinking about financing? Missoula Federal Credit Union offers two loan options:  Solar Home Equity Loan or Home Energy Loan.

The Missoula Federal Credit Union is a
not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution, serving people who live, work, worship, or belong to
an association headquartered in Missoula, Lake, and Ravalli counties.  (Not a member?  No Problem. Becoming a member is easy, and is well integrated into the loan application process and can be done via mail, and need not include any financial services beyond the loan. Membership in the Montana Renewable Energy Association would qualify a
borrower for MFCU loans, making them available to the entire state.  Check out the Missoula Federal Credit Union Home Energy Loan Brochure.  Or Call (406) 523-3300.

Don’t forget:

Federal Tax Credits
Residential 30% Renewable Energy Credit (thru 2019)This tax credit is applicable for all primary and secondary private homes.  It includes all associated costs, such as installation and electrical work.

State (Montana) Tax Credits
Montana State provides a 500.00 per tax payer tax credit, or 1000.00 per couple for your solar installation.