Spring is finally happening after a long winter. Solar interest is especially high as a number of wheels are spinning which are creating financial deadlines for installing a home solar system.
As you may be aware, NorthWestern Energy has proposed a rate change for future net metering solar owners. The rate change case has been filed with the Public Service Commission and it has gained significant traction.
Bob Lake and four other climate deniers make up our PSC and we know their anti-renewable voting record and desire to shut down as many renewable projects as possible.
Northwestern has requested that any new solar system have its own set of rates which in summary add significant costs of an estimated $600 a year for the average solar homeowner. See the attachment for the cost breakdowns from our state solar group, Montana Renewable Energy Association. As members of this group we have filed as an intervener with the PSC and hired an attorney to represent us.
Bottom line for those wanting to go solar is the ability to be grandfathered in before the PSC finalizes the rate change. We believe this to be in the June / July time frame. This timeline may change and if we are lucky, may not pass.
Adding to the confusion is a second and separate case for large solar and wind farms. We have seen progress here possibly opening the doors for larger projects, (recent press articles term these small systems, which they are not compared to a home system.) This is dealing with a separate case and attack upon renewables and not part of the homeowner net metering rate case.
If you have been thinking about adding solar and NorthWestern is your utility, now is the time to make it happen. Give us a call or email and let’s see if we can have your system in and inspected and permitted before the grandfather deadline.
Call for your free solar estimate today. 406-541-8410
The dream continues. Tax time 2019.
- You invest in you long term energy independence.
- New Construction?
- Planning fro Growth?
- 30% federal tax credit still available in 2019.
- 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.
Our ground mounts utilize galvanized steel posts which are set in concrete a minimum of four feet in the earth. Solar modules are long term, no maintenance by design so we want our mounting structure to be as well.
We are seeing some companies utilizing precast cement block to hold their solar structures. This is a way around having a backhoe for installation and its cost. However, any foundation built correctly, needs to be placed below the frost zone so it stays in one place.
Looking at a number of these precast units after one winter shows movement of one portion of the solar array one way and the next another direction. Frost heaving through the year has moved the entire precast block. What will this look like after 10 years. Not very good in our view.
We do not believe this is a place to skimp and have our own excavating equipment to keep the cost down as low as possible.
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.
- 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.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality offers $0 down, low-interest loans for solar and other alternative energy systems. Call 406-444-6586 or click here for details.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality offers $0 down, low-interest loans for solar installations and other alternative energy systems to individuals, small businesses, nonprofit organizations and government entities. For details about the Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program, call 406-444-6586, or click here.
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.
You will often find Clover Quinn at the Hamilton Farmers Market on Bedford St from 9:00 – 12:30 on Saturdays in the summer. Clover is very excited about her solar electric system. “Last month our electric bill was $50.04. That includes the base rate of $46.00.” Clover smiles, “Who would have dreamed we would eagerly await our electric bill in the mail.”
You can also find Wild Rose Emu Ranch products at https://www.wildroseemuranch.com/.
Invest in your own Solar Electric System Today. SBS Solar Can Help
Call SBS Solar today for your free solar estimate. 406-541-8410.
Micro Inverters versus SolarEdge and why we do not use Micros anymore.
Nine years ago, Enphase Corporation from California introduced one of the first viable micro inverters and it was a big deal. The advantages were huge as no longer did we need to have long strings of 10 modules that suffered greatly when only one was shaded or covered with snow. As well we could now look at the production of each individual module and easily identify an issue. The monitoring was easy to employ with a simple data cable which transmitted production data to a website keeping track of production. Before this detailed monitoring was an expensive option.
That was nine years ago, a lifetime in this industry. Enphase upset the domination of several European manufactures who owned the world-wide inverter market. Several of these companies came out with there versions of micros. One Swiss company jumped into micros and a couple of years later discontinued this offering.
This was telling as one of the major questions of utilizing a microinverter is where it is placed. Micros sit behind the solar module in a hostile environment. Here in Western Montana we know that a summer day can start in the cool 40’s and end up in the 90’s. And up on your roof high afternoon temps are even more extreme. This a big temperature change for the electronics to tolerate on a daily basis.
Other parts of the planet do not see this extreme variation and this is less of a factor. However, the manufactures claim a 25 year warranty. The big question is will these electronics last as claimed. In our experience it is common to see a company with grand claims disappear with insolvency or reorganization saying goodbye to long term liabilities like warranties.
SolarEdge steps in and changes the Inverter world once again.
This inverter system is the next step in the evolution of the inverter. SolarEdge took the advantages of Micros and said goodbye the largest disadvantage of where the electronics do their job. By taking the bulk of the electronics and placing them on a protected wall or even better in a utility space, this reduces the operating temperatures and gives us a longer useful life. A small optimizer with much simplified electronics is placed behind the module and provides all the benefits of micros such as individual module level monitoring.
These inverters operate at an amazing 99% efficiency and have swept the grid tied solar market with a dominate hold of the world inverter market.
We have 450 micros out in the field and we can see some applications for this product yet SolarEdge remains our go to inverter technology.
Selway the SBS Solar Dog was very happy when Montana Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed Senate Bill (SB) 7 last week.
Frank Andorka writes in PV Magazine,Sanity prevailed in the Montana’s governor’s mansion last week as Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed a bill that would have effectively ended net-metering in the state. (Read all the details)