Tag Archives: solar financing

New SBS Solar PV Customer Profile

Customer Name, location, system size:
Keegan Eisenstadt, Rattlesnake Valley, Missoula, Montana, 3450 watt solar PV system

What turned you on to Solar?

My father was a solar energy engineer in the 70s-80s in New Mexico.  They have had water heating panels on their house since then.  Additionally, my own work at ClearSky Climate Solutions is related to changing the course of climate change – which is predominantly driven by human demands for energy.  The clear need for more distributed generation of power from renewable sources is the most important element to reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, and leaving a more stable world to my children.  Solar is a great way for me to practice what I preach, and also get a great price on power for my house!

What brought you to SBS?

SBS is an innovative, Missoula company that is looking at a holistic approach to analyzing and reducing energy use (and greenhouse gas emissions) of planned and existing structures.  My company works to mitigate carbon footprints with its clients, and a linkage to SBS was a natural for us.  Once I started learning more about what SBS does, I realized that I needed them to install a system on my home.  The solar system install team at SBS proved to be smart, capable and thorough.  I also think they are genuinely as excited about my system as I am!!!  I know they log into my system’s internet monitoring pages to see how it is performing, not daily as I do (which is great fun!), but at least weekly.

Racking system in, panel get ready!

What were your goals for this system?

My goals for the system were threefold: 1) make my house a laboratory for how to mitigate climate change with distributed generation of renewable power (which is something I have thought about, talked about, and worked towards for years), 2) give me a better-than-market price on electricity – which it will certainly do, and 3) provide an educational/outreach opportunity for my community to see just how easy it is to make your own power!

The financial incentives available right now for installing domestic alternative energy systems are good: 30% federal tax credit, $500/tax payer state tax credit, NorthWestern Energy grants, and low interest loans available.  My system will be financially paid off in 10 years, using a 4% fixed loan from federal stimulus money.  The system payback, from the energy created will be between 8-12 years, depending upon how fast prices for energy rise, and the panels on my system have a 25 year warranty.  So, my house will make roughly 1/3 of it’s power for free from about year 10 until 25.  That’s a good power bill!

Josh setting the first panel. Check out the nice lines on those racks and micro-inverters.

What do you like best about your system?

Actually, I’m surprised by this answer.  I had no idea how much more aware of energy use in my house I would become.  I now see/feel the house using energy….literally with the real-time monitoring tools that are part of the installation.  I turn on the stove, microwave, the stereo and I can see the kilowatts used jump.  It is amazing……I know that the mot

or in my refrigerator uses about 95 kW, that a big light fixture in the living room is 225 kW, that the microwave and clothes dryer are huge energy HOGS.  Frankly, I wasn’t really aware of those things before.  I never really internalized the energy demand of things in my house that way.  Even being interested in these things, I hadn’t internalized them in a tangible way.  It is such a surprise, and I am really enjoying it.  I’m sure in time, I will be happier with the cost savings….but right now, I am learning a lot and feeling great about it!

We just finished installing a 3450 watt solar PV system in the Rattlesnake where we employed 16 Enphase micro inverters. Micro inverters offer several advantages over more conventional string inverters.

Micro-inverters, monitoring and mountains...

Each solar module power production is optimized individually so little module mismatching occurs.  As well, if one module is shaded from a nearby tree, this one module will have reduced output, not the entire series string of modules as with the larger string inverters.  This advantage alone makes a huge difference but the pluses don’t end here.

The Enphase engineers designed one of the coolest monitoring programs found in the PV world.  Each individual module reports its power output over the existing AC output wiring to your in home computer or with internet service, this data is directed to the company’s website where current and cumulative data is displayed and stored.

A good graphic says a thousand words so if you are interested check out this link to the Enphase monitoring examples.

For more information on Solar or to talk with Dan:

Dan Brandborg
NABCEP certified Solar installer dbrandbog@sbslink.com

There is Hope: Energy Efficiency and Solar Energy Tax Credits & Grants for 2011

Over 80% of Montana’s housing stock was built prior to 1980. These homes offer the largest opportunity for Montana to reduce energy consumption through retrofitting and consumer education, as well as a huge opportunity to bolster our local economy by growing the green-collar job sector with verifiers and installers to do this work.

The fact remains that the majority of residents in these 1980 and older homes tend to be first-time home buyers, the elderly, and working-poor. Even when the desire is there, the main sticking point in Montana seems to be the ability for a consumer to cover first-costs on a project. There is a fair amount of assistance out there for those who qualify and are willing to do the work to recover it.

As of late, there has been much debate and confusion over the continuation of certain tax credits, grants and rebates that were implemented during or enhance as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In many cases, a project must be third-party verified or certified to qualify for some of these rebates or credits.  There is good news and bad news:

The bad news is that a few of these options have shrunk back to pre-recession era levels.

The good news is that there is still a lot of money out there for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy applications in the residential and commercial sectors.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY TAX CREDIT:  There has been an Energy Efficiency tax credit around for a while. It was traditionally a 10% credit, maxing out at $500. For the past couple years this was increased to 30% and $1500 cap. For 2011 we are back to the originally levels of 10% and $500 cap. This article offers a great overview of the information for 2011 as well as eligible projects, mounts and forms to get started, scroll down to point 3 for 2011 info.

RENEWABLE ENERGY TAX CREDIT:  The big kicker that keeps on giving is the 30% renewable energy tax credit. It has no monetary cap and is still in place through 2016. This credit can also be carried forward for a few years should you expect a year in the future where it might be more helpful. In addition to the website above, the information at Energy Star is also quite good.

NEW HOME TAX CREDIT:  While these credits are for retrofitting to existing buildings, there are great incentives for new construction as well. A credit of $2000 is still available to home builders who build homes (including both site-built and manufactured homes) projected to save at least 50% of the heating and cooling energy of a comparable home that meets the standards of the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code (the 2003 code including the 2004 supplement). A $1000 credit is available to manufactured home producers for models that save 30% or that qualify for the federal Energy Star Homes program.

In most cases a third-party verifier is needed to qualify that the home is indeed projected to save at least 50% over a comparable home. Businesses should have RESNET or BPI certification and the ability to offer a REM/Rate reading. Other incentives are offered through Northwest Energy Star homes and the NAHB Green program.

CHECK LOCALLY:  It is also a great idea to see what sort of complimentary tax credits or rebates are offered by your state governments and local utilities. In Montana, the Energy Conservation Installation Credit is a tax credit applied against a taxpayer’s income tax liability. Montana resident individuals can claim the credit for energy conservation investments made to a home or other building. The credit is equal to 25% of expenses, up to a maximum credit of $500. Two or more people may each qualify for the credit, as long as the building in which the investment is made is owned by all of the people claiming the credit.

As well, The Alternative Energy System Credit is a tax credit against income tax liability for the cost of purchasing and installing an energy system in a Montana resident’s principal home that uses: (1) a recognized nonfossil form of energy such as, but not limited to, solar energy, wind energy, solid waste, and organic waste; or (2) a low emission wood or biomass combustion device such as a pellet or wood stove. The credit cannot exceed $500. Two or more people may each qualify for the credit, as long as the building in which the investment is made is owned by all of the people claiming the credit. For further instructions on the alternative energy system credit, and to calculate this credit, see Montana Form ENRG-C.

SOLAR PV GRANT IN MONTANA:  As far as utilities go, there Co-Ops and others tend to have different offerings and you’ll have to check with yours for the best information. For much of Montana, Northwestern Energy offers a $6000 grant for Solar PV installations that are at least 2kW in size. The installer must be NABCEP certified for the project to qualify for the grant. Here at SBS both of our installers have the NABCEP certification, so we have a handful of these grants to give away to customers in 2011 and were able to do apply over 10 of these grants to projects in 2010.

MT REVOLVING LOAN FUND FOR RENEWABLES:  As well, here in Montana, we have access to the MT DEQ revolving loan fund. This is a 10-year note at 4% for renewable energy implementation. Each project must be at least 80% renewable energy and can have up to 20% energy efficiency in the mix. That would mean on a $10,000 loan a minimum of $8000 would have to go to renewable implementation and up to $2000 for efficiency implementation. We find that at least half of our customers take the time to go through this application as it is well worth their while.

Here is the breakdown on the rebates for a basic 2kW qualifying solar system for a Missoula household with 2-income earners. A system of this size tends to offset 20-30% of the average MT home’s energy use. Coupled with basic energy efficiency measures and small changes in behavior, it is not uncommon to find 35-50% of energy use offset in the end:

$15,000 2kW Solar PV system
-$6,000 NWenergy PV grant
=$9,000 NET COST

-$2,700 30% Federal Tax Credit
-$1,000 MT Alternative Energy System Credit
=$5,300 NEW Net Cost

If this couple also wanted to implement energy efficiency measures and get the MT DEQ loan, this is a plausible breakdown. They could choose to take the loan based on the gross amount of the System or the net cost at the bottom. If they take it on the gross, this couple would end up having much more than the $3500 allocated below for their efficiency work:

$15,000 2kW Solar PV system (including parts, labor, permits, engineering, etc…)
+ $3,500 extra for some energy efficiency work
= $18,500 TOTAL MT DEQ Loan amount

$ 180 approx. monthly payment

In addition to the federal& state tax credits as well as the utility solar grant in the example above, this customer would also qualify for the additional $500 in federal tax credits from the Energy Efficiency tax credit listed above, as well as numerous rebates from Northwestern Energy with a few more here.

Here at Sustainable Building Systems (SBS) we have the needed certifications listed above in order to work with you on your energy efficiency projects.  Of course, SBS is not a licensed tax preparer and more information on tax credits and energy efficiency incentives is available at www.dsireusa.org .  This summary in no way constitutes guaranteed savings; we recommend consulting an accountant to verify how tax credits apply to you.

If you would like more information of getting started with an energy audit, implementing energy efficiency measures or a renewable energy application, give a call today: 406/541.8410 or visit us at www.SBSlink.com. Here you’ll find access to our Solar Calculator and a basic questionnaire on getting started with SBS.

Remember, the Greenest Energy is the Energy We Don’t Use.

Molly Bradford
Marketing Director
mbradford@sbslink.com

Green Blocks, Phase II

WOW – 120 solar site assessments!

That right, out of the 300 participants in the City of Missoula’s Green Blocks Program we were chosen by 120 participants to do solar site assessments.  This is great news.  I had hoped we’d be a popular Side Order, but this blew our minds.  In fact, we are even getting a second intern from the UM-COT energy program to help with the work load!

Over the next 6-week our interns will be going block by block through the 120 sites to do a basic assessment with our Solar Pathfinder.  We will contact folks a week in advance so they know their block is up next.  Then we’ll do a quick visual assessment and/or a Pathfinder assessment in each yard.

Each participant will be told if they are a good, fair or poor site, why, and what options are available to them according to their results (i.e. PV, Thermal or other renewables like ground source heat pumps).  We will also provide info on available grants, tax credits, rebates and financing for their Solar and Renewable options.

SBS is very excited to be working with the City of Missoula, Northwestern Energy, the COT’s Energy degree program and all of the other Green Blocks Side Orders.  This really is a model public-private project to be duplicated.

SBS Solar Blitz… ready, set, Solar!

SBS is about to begin it’s first SOLAR BLITZ!  From September 15 – October 10th we will really be showcasing, educating and selling our Solar PV expertise.

As a NABCEP certified Solar Installer, SBS has been given a number of $6,000 PV grants from Northwestern Energy to give to YOU… residential and commercial customers.

Couple this with the 30% Federal Tax Credit and the $500 per MT tax payer State Tax Credit and you can get into a 2kW Solar System for under $5,000!

Add to that the potential for financing through the Montana DEQ revolving loan fund (4% financing for 10 years, oac) and you can now get into solar with no money down!

To sweeten the pot further, all new customers between Sept 15 and Oct 10, 2010 will receive a FREE professional home or building energy efficiency audit with analysis.  This is a $750 value.

Contact us to get started with solar today – 406.541.8410, www.sbslink.com, info@sbslink.com

Molly Bradford
Marketing Director

Insulation is Sexy – New Payment Incentives

When it comes to renewable energy and efficiency measures we have an abundance of Federal, State, and utility based incentives to assist us.   Here are some of the incentive options that are offered federally and in Montana….

FEDERAL LOAN PROGRAM

Energy Efficient Mortgage: Homeowners can take advantage of energy efficient mortgages (EEM) to finance a variety of energy efficiency measures, including renewable energy technologies, in a new or existing home. The U.S. federal government supports these loans by insuring them through Federal Housing Authority (FHA) or Veterans Affairs (VA) programs. This allows borrowers who might otherwise be denied loans to pursue energy efficiency improvements, and it secures lenders against loan default.

Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Yes; specific technologies not identified

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Passive Solar Space Heat, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Daylighting

Applicable Sectors: Residential

Web Site: http://www.resnet.us/ratings/mortgages

FEDERAL GRANTS

1. Tribal Energy Program Grant: The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Tribal Energy Program promotes tribal energy sufficiency, economic growth and employment on tribal lands through the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The program provides financial assistance, technical assistance, education and training to tribes for the evaluation and development of renewable energy resources and energy efficiency measures.

Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Clothes Washers, Refrigerators, Water Heaters, Lighting, Lighting Controls/Sensors, Chillers , Furnaces , Boilers, Central Air conditioners, Programmable Thermostats, Energy Mgmt. Systems/Building Controls, Caulking/Weather-stripping, Duct/Air sealing, Building Insulation, Windows, Doors, Siding, Roofs, Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building, other energy efficiency improvements may be eligible

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Passive Solar Space Heat, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Geothermal Heat Pumps

Applicable Sectors: Tribal Government

Amount: Varies by solicitation

Maximum Incentive: Varies by solicitation

Web Site: http://www.eere.energy.gov/tribalenergy

2. US Department of Treasury Renewable Energy Grant:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) allows taxpayers eligible for the federal business energy investment tax credit (ITC) to take this credit or to receive a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department instead of taking the business ITC for new installations. The new law also allows taxpayers eligible for the renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) to receive a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department instead of taking the PTC for new installations. (It does not allow taxpayers eligible for the residential renewable energy tax credit to receive a grant instead of taking this credit.) Taxpayers may not use more than one of these incentives. Tax credits allowed under the ITC with respect to progress expenditures on eligible energy property will be recaptured if the project receives a grant. The grant is not included in the gross income of the taxpayer.

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Municipal Solid Waste, CHP/Cogeneration, Solar Hybrid Lighting, Hydrokinetic, Anaerobic Digestion, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal, Microturbines

Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Agricultural

Amount: 30% of property that is part of a qualified facility, qualified fuel cell property, solar property, or qualified small wind property 10% of all other property

Maximum Incentive: $1,500 per 0.5 kW for qualified fuel cell property
$200 per kW for qualified microturbine property
50 MW for CHP property, with limitations for large systems

Web Site: http://www.treas.gov/recovery/1603.shtml

3. USDA – Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant:

Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Yes; specific technologies not identified

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Renewable Transportation Fuels, Geothermal Electric, Geothermal Heat Pumps, CHP/Cogeneration, Hydrogen, Anaerobic Digestion, Small Hydroelectric, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal, Renewable Fuels, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels, Microturbines, Geothermal Direct-Use

Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Tribal Government, Rural Electric Cooperative, Agricultural, Public Power Entities

Amount: Varies Maximum Incentive: 25% of project cost

Web Site: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/bprogs.htm

FEDERAL PERSONAL EXEMPTION

Residential Energy Conservation Subsidy Exclusion: (Personal) Gross income shall not include the value of any subsidy provided (directly or indirectly) by a public utility to a customer for the purchase or installation of any energy conservation measure.

Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Yes; specific technologies not identified

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics Applicable

Sectors: Residential, Multi-Family Residential Amount: 100% of subsidy

Web Site: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p525/index.html

FEDERAL PERSONAL TAX CREDIT

1. Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit:

Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Water Heaters, Furnaces , Boilers, Heat pumps, Central Air conditioners, Building Insulation, Windows, Doors, Roofs, Circulating fans used in a qualifying furnace

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Biomass, Stoves that use qualified biomass fuel

Applicable Sectors: Residential Amount: 30%

Maximum Incentive: Aggregate amount of credit for all technologies placed in service in 2009 and 2010 combined is limited to $1,500

Equipment Requirements: Equipment must be new and in compliance with all applicable performance and safety standards as described in tax code Web Site: http://www.energystar.gov/taxcredits

2. Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit:

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Other Solar Electric Technologies
Applicable Sectors: Residential
Amount: 30%
Maximum Incentive: Solar-electric systems placed in service before 1/1/2009: $2,000
Solar-electric systems placed in service after 12/31/2008: no maximum
Solar water heaters placed in service before 1/1/2009: $2,000
Solar water heaters placed in service after 12/31/2008: no maximum
Wind turbines placed in service in 2008: $4,000
Wind turbines placed in service after 12/31/2008: no maximum
Geothermal heat pumps placed in service in 2008: $2,000
Geothermal heat pumps placed in service after 12/31/2008: no maximum
Fuel cells: $500 per 0.5 kW
Carryover Provisions: Excess credit may be carried forward to succeeding tax year
Eligible System Size: Fuel cells: 0.5 kW minimum
Equipment Requirements: Solar water heating property must be certified by SRCC or by comparable entity endorsed by the state in which the system is installed. At least half the energy used to heat the dwelling’s water must be from solar. Geothermal heat pumps must meet federal Energy Star requirements. Fuel cells must have electricity-only generation efficiency greater than 30%.
Web Site: http://www.energystar.gov/taxcredits ,

IRS Form 5695 & Instructions: Residential Energy Credits

STATE TAX INCENTIVES

1. Energy Conservation Installation Credit: Individual taxpayers may claim a credit against their tax liability for up to 25% of the costs of investment for energy conservation purposes in a building.

Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Water Heaters, Lighting, Lighting Controls/Sensors, Chillers , Furnaces , Boilers, Heat pumps, Central Air conditioners, Programmable Thermostats, Caulking/Weather-stripping, Duct/Air sealing, Building Insulation, Windows, Doors

Applicable Sectors: Residential, Multi-Family Residential

Amount:25% of cost of capital investment

Maximum Incentive:$500

Web Site: http://mt.gov/revenue/energyconservationcredit.asp

2. Residential Alternative Energy System Tax Credit: Residential taxpayers who install an energy system using a recognized non-fossil form of energy on their home are eligible for a tax credit equal to the amount of the cost of the system and installation of the system, not to exceed $500 or $1,000 per household.

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Passive Solar Space Heat, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Low-Emission Wood Stoves, Small Hydroelectric, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels

Applicable Sectors: Residential

Amount:100%

Maximum Incentive:$500 per individual taxpayer; up to $1,000 per household Carryover Provisions:Excess credit may be carried forward four years

Eligible System Size: Hydroelectric systems not to have generation capacity greater than 1 MW

Equipment Requirements: Systems must be new and in compliance with all applicable performance and safety standards

Web Site: http://revenue.mt.gov/revenue/energyconservation.asp

3. Residential Geothermal Systems Credit: A resident individual taxpayer of Montana who installs a geothermal heating or cooling system in their principal dwelling can claim a tax credit based on the installation costs of the system, not to exceed $1,500.

Use Montana Department of Revenue Form ENRG-A to claim this tax credit.

PRODUCTION INCENTIVES

1. Northwest Solar Cooperative – Green Tag Purchase: The Northwest Solar Cooperative* (NWSC) offers to purchase the rights to the environmental attributes or “Green Tags” derived from grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) or wind energy at a rate ranging from $0.02 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to $0.10/kWh. Residential and non-residential owners of PV and wind-energy systems installed after June 1, 2002, in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana are eligible to participate in the Green Tag Purchase Program.

The contract term does not have a fixed duration. Interested participants sign an agreement with NWSC to sell their Green Tags, report any system failures and submit AC production meter readings each year. The NWSC agrees to make payments to participants by March 31 of the year following production of Green Tags.

*The NWSC is a not-for-profit service operated by Solar Oregon. It purchases Green Tags from many individual private sellers throughout the region, aggregates them, and sells them in one package to 3 Degrees Energy who, in turn, sells them to wholesale customers and consumers.

PROPERTY TAX INCENTIVE

1. Renewable Energy Systems Exemption: Montana’s property tax exemption for recognized non-fossil forms of energy generation or low emission wood or biomass combustion devices may be claimed for 10 years after installation of the property. The exemption is allowed for up to $20,000 in value for single-family residential dwellings and up to $100,000 in value for for multifamily residential dwellings or nonresidential structures. This property is class 4 property and otherwise would be taxed on 3.01% of assessed value.

Recognized forms of energy generation include solar photovoltaics, passive solar, wind, solid waste, decomposition of organic wastes, geothermal, small hydropower plants, low-emission wood or biomass combustion systems, and fuel cells that do not require hydrocarbon fuel.

Use Montana Department of Revenue Form AB-14 to claim this exemption.

2. Renewable Energy Production Incentive (REPI):

Established by the federal Energy Policy Act of 1992, the federal Renewable Energy Production Incentive (REPI) provides incentive payments for electricity generated and sold by new qualifying renewable energy facilities. Qualifying systems are eligible for annual incentive payments of 1.5¢ per kilowatt-hour in 1993 dollars (indexed for inflation) for the first 10-year period of their operation, subject to the availability of annual appropriations in each federal fiscal year of operation. REPI was designed to complement the federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC), which is available only to businesses that pay federal corporate taxes.

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal Electric, Anaerobic Digestion, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal
Applicable Sectors: Local Government, State Government, Tribal Government, Municipal Utility, Rural Electric Cooperative, Native Corporations
Amount: 2.1¢/kWh (subject to availability of annual appropriations in each federal fiscal year of operation)
Terms: 10 years
Web Site: http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/repi

STATE LOAN PROGRAM

Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program: The Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program (AERLP) provides loans to individuals, small businesses, local government agencies, units of the university system, and nonprofit organizations to install alternative energy systems that generate energy for their own use.

Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Building Insulation, Windows, Doors, Appliances, when installed as part of the alternative energy project

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Small Hydroelectric, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels, Geothermal Direct-Use

Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government

Amount: Varies

Maximum Incentive: $40,000

Terms: Up to 10 years; 4.0% interest rate for 2010 Web Site: http://www.deq.mt.gov/Energy/Renewable/altenergyloan.mcpx

UTILITY BASED INCENTIVES

1. NorthWestern Energy – USB Renewable Energy Fund:

In 1997, Montana established the Universal System Benefits (USB) Program. The USB requires all electric and gas utilities to establish USB funds for low-income energy assistance, weatherization, energy efficiency activities, and development of renewable energy resources. A typical NorthWestern Energy residential customer pays approximately $1 per month in electric USB charges. About $9 million is collected annually by NorthWestern, and about $750,000 is used for renewable energy projects.

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics, Wind, Hydroelectric Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential

Amount: PV: $3.00/watt
Wind: $2/watt Maximum Incentive:PV: $6,000

Wind: $10,000 Web Site: http://www.northwesternenergy.com/display.aspx?Page=Renewable_Ene

2. NorthWestern Energy – E+ Business Partners Program: The E+ Business Partners Program offers funding for local energy conservation and load management projects in new and retrofit applications including commercial, institutional, industrial, agricultural, and multi-family residential facilities/systems.

Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Retrofit and new construction applications

Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Multi-Family Residential, Agricultural, Institutional

Amount: Varies

Web Site: http://www.northwesternenergy.com/display.aspx?Page=Business_Part

3. NorthWestern Energy – Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program: NorthWestern Energy offers a variety of rebates for their residential customers to make energy efficiency improvements in their existing homes.

Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Equipment Insulation, Water Heaters, Lighting, Furnaces , Boilers, Programmable Thermostats, Energy Mgmt. Systems/Building Controls, Building Insulation, Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building, Cooking Equipment

Applicable Sectors: Residential

Amount:ENERGY STAR® CFLs: $2 per bulb
ENERGY STAR® hard-wired CFL fixtures: $15 per fixture
Programmable Thermostats: $30/unit
Gas Heating Equipment: Varies by technology and efficiency
Insulation: Varies by efficiency and location

Maximum Incentive:Lighting: maximum of fifteen CFLs and five lighting fixtures per calendar year
Programmable Thermostat: Two units per household

Funding Source: Funding for these rebates is provided through NorthWestern Energy’s natural gas and electric supply rates.

Web Site: http://www.northwesternenergy.com/display.aspx?Page=Rebates_Home_

4. NorthWestern Energy – Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program: NorthWestern Energy offers multiple rebate programs for their commercial and industrial customers to make energy efficient improvements to their businesses.

Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Equipment Insulation, Water Heaters, Lighting, Lighting Controls/Sensors, Furnaces , Boilers, Heat recovery, Programmable Thermostats, Energy Mgmt. Systems/Building Controls, Duct/Air sealing, Building Insulation, Windows, Motors, Motor-ASDs/VSDs, Commercial Cooking Equipment, Stack Heat Exchangers, Boiler Tune-Up, DHW Circulation Pump Time Clock Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Irrigation Supply

Amount: Lighting: Varies based on bulb/fixture type ($1.00 to $40.00) or energy saved (10-50 cents per watt saved).
Motors: $13-$600 depending on HP and efficiency rating
Motor Rewind Program: $40-$500 depending on HP and RPM
Furnace/Boiler: $3.25 (KBtu/hr)
Water Heater: $2.50 (KBtu/hr)
Stack Heat Exchanger: $0.50 (KBtu/hr)
Griddle: $4.00 (KBtu/hr)
Fryer: $6.00 (KBtu/hr)
Refrigeration Heat Recovery: $1.00 (OA-CFM)
Boiler Tune-Up: $100
DHW Circulation Pump Time Clock: $100
EMS Optimization: $500
Water Heater Tank Insulation: $35
Other Insulation (equipment and building): varies $0.30 – $1.50 (per linear or square ft of insulation)
Windows: $3.50 (per square foot of window)
Energy Star Programmable Thermostat: $0.08 (per square ft of controlled area)

Maximum Incentive: Lighting: Rebates will not be provided for lamps or fixtures placed in stock in excess of 5% of installed equipment.

Equipment Requirements: Varies greatly by product, see application forms. Funding Source: Funding provided through NorthWestern Energy electric default supply rates for its default supply customers. Web Site: http://www.northwesternenergy.com/display.aspx?Page=Rebates_Busin

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The Obama administration has called on Congress to pass a new incentive program for home energy efficiency upgrades called Home star. Created to help bolster the hard hit construction sector and national security by decreasing foreign energy dependence Home star will create tens of thousands of jobs and save home owners billions of dollars in long term energy reductions not to mention green house gases.  Rebates will be provided directly to the consumers and the federal government will reimburse accredited contractors and utilities for efficiency work performed. (SBS does this type of work.)

There are two tiers of the program: Gold star and Silver star.   Gold star is a two-year program that will provide between $3,000-$8,000 for 20%+ modeled savings for home owners.  Homeowners will need an audit by a RESNET HERS Rater or BPI Building Analyst Certified Professional to assess energy savings through improvements before work begins.  Work must be performed by a Gold star accredited contracting company.

Silver star is a one-year program which will qualify homeowners to receive between $1,000-$1,500 for each qualified efficiency measure, $250 per appliance, with a cap of $3000or 50% of project costs whichever is less. Qualified measures include: air sealing, attic, wall, and crawlspace insulation, duct sealing or replacement, replacement of existing windows, doors, furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, water heaters, and appliances with high-efficiency models.  When this bill passes through congress (expected in the next few months) there will be a huge demand for audit and efficiency retrofit work.

The Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) Program Act has been submitted to the House Energy and Commerce and House Financial Services Subcommitees.  This bill Requires: (1) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and implement standards for a national energy and environmental building retrofit policy for single-family and multifamily residences; (2) the Secretary of Energy (DOE) to develop and implement standards for a national energy and environmental building retrofit policy for commercial buildings; and (3) the program to implement such policies to be known as the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program.

Requirements of the REEP program: (1) facilitate the retrofitting of existing buildings to achieve maximum cost-effective energy efficiency improvements and significant improvements in water use and other environmental attributes; and (2) provide financial assistance to states, to be administered through the State Energy Program, for management and accomplishment of the program’s objectives at the individual building level. Authorizes states and local agencies to offer free or low-cost building audits, incentives, technical assistance, training, incentive financing, and other forms of assistance to individual building owners. Requires the Administrator and the Secretary to assist states and local agencies in establishing revolving loan funds or other forms of financial assistance.

Also, view President Obama’s presentation on Retrofitting for Energy Efficiency and New Jobs to get pumped about energy efficiency: Insulation is sexy!

President Obama\’s presentation on Retrofitting for Energy Efficiency and New Jobs

Contact SBS today to learn more about additional rebates, ratings and grants.  The offerings are constantly changing and we’re doing our best to stay on top of all the options.  Feel free to comment here with related incentives that would be important to share.