A bipartisan bill to move solar energy into the mainstream — HB 504, The Solar Jobs and Energy Freedom Bill — has just been introduced in the Legislature. People from all over Montana crowded into the capital yesterday to rally in its support. It’s a really good bill that would break solar energy out of the arbitrary constraints imposed by NorthWestern Energy and other fossil fuel interests.

Ninety percent of Montanans support increasing solar energy. This bill improves solar in Montana by:

  • Raising the cap on a net metered system to 1 megawatt, giving homeowners, farmers and businesses the freedom to purchase a solar system that meets their needs.
  • Giving more Montanans access to affordable solar energy through community solar projects that allow those who rent or live in a home not suitable for a solar array to have the choice to invest in a local solar project and receive credits that reduce their energy bill. (Colorado hopes to increase electricity generation in the next two years significantly through community solar. Why not Montana?)
  • Giving farmers, ranchers, and business owners the freedom to choose a solar system that meets all their energy needs by allowing for net-metering credits to be applied across multiple meters (aggregate net metering).
  • Helping Montanans struggling to pay their utility bills by requiring NorthWestern Energy to apply left over net metering credits to low-income bill assistance.

There isn’t a lot of time. You must act today:

  • Email ALL the members of the The Montana House of Representatives Energy, Technology and Federal Relations Committee, please CALL and leave a message urging them to support HB504. Click here for contact info for all committee members. Keep it brief. Make it simple. Tell them increasing solar power is important and they should support this bill.
  • Send an email or call your own representative in the Montana House telling him/her to support this bill.

Thank you.

Jeff Smith, co-chair, 350 Montana