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Montana solar 101: must read before you buy solar panels

Last updated 12.01.21

Montana State 53 solar panels available

  • $2.21 / W Average gross price of a solar power system as of January 2023
  • 11 years Average system payback period
  • $37 720 Average savings from going solar in Montana
  • 7 ¢ / kWh Levelized cost of solar energy
  • 5.42 kW Recommended system size

Benefit from a PV system
in Montana

Solar panels in Montana

Montana #37 in the US
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What our happy customers say

I like this company. Good service 👍
Daiga Ellaby
Via Google
Sep 19, 2022
I was choosing between a1solar and another store, the prices finally convinced me,
and I contacted A1. Everything was processed, packed and delivered to Fresno, CA
in under a week. We kept in contact during the installation and I got a few additional
parts from them. A1SolarStore deserves a solid five stars!
Michael Grubb
Via Google
Sep 7, 2022
I ordered some solar panels. The top 4 ones were damaged during delivery (A1 had emailed me in advance what to check for before I took delivery which I followed even though the truck driver was pushing not to inspect them as thouroughly) and A1 replaced them in a timely manner and kept me informed. The price on the panels were some of the best on the internet (delivered). I would buy from them again.
Robert Broughton
Via Google
Nov 27, 2021
Ordering online was easy.
Price was reasonable even with shipping added. Actually, it was the best I could find with the panels I wanted.
Customer service was beyond expectations. I received a phone call after the order to verify everything. The rep also went over receiving instructions. I got an email with recieving procedure. I got a follow up call the day before the panels were to be delivered. The day of delivery, the FedEx call also called. I got a follow call afterwards verifying everything was good.I had 8 350 watt panels shipped. They arrived via FedEx on a pallet. Recieving instructions said to not sign the recieving doc until I inspected everything. I am half paralyzed so I asked my neighbor ahead of time to help unpack the panels to inspect for physical damage. The FedEx guy dropped the pallet in my driveway and handed me the package list and then he very quickly left before I was able to inspect the panels. He said he did not need a signature. My mindset immidiately turned negative since fraud, burglary, murders, etc are now legal, encouraged, and even rewarded in the US. To my relief, the panels turned out to be in good shape.
I have had several different panels prior to ordering from A1 Solar. I am used to solar panels outputting 70% or less of the rated output.I hooked up one panel yesterday and I was getting over 85% at 9:30 AM in direct sun output which really suprised me. This number is what the charge controller reported while charging a 12 volt battery bank. My current project that these panels will be used for is my second offgrid system.
Next year after I have my house electrical panels rebuilt to allow for a whole house battery bank, I will be ordering another 7KWH in panels and I plan to order those from A1 Solar Store.
Junkyard Dog
Via Google
Aug 12, 2021
Solar panels are great quality at a good price! Pick up was very easy!
Quirino Passione
Via Google
Jul 27, 2021
Great price and AWESOME service.
Sam McCleary
Via Google
Jun 23, 2021

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Solar laws, incentives and rebates in Montana you need to know

Save 30% of your PV system cost with Federal Solar Tax Credit

The US government wants more people to go solar: it’s a modern and green way of getting energy. This is why the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program was developed. It allows American citizens to claim 30% of the cost of their installation as an income tax deduction. The cost here is not only solar panels, but also shipping, installation expenses and more. For example, if your system overall made you spend $10,000, the government returns you $3,000. To claim the ITC, complete all the necessary forms and submit them when filing your taxes.

Save up to $1,000 with Montana’s residential tax credit

This program allows you to recover up to 100% of the costs associated with acquiring a PV system, including installation. The limit is set at $1,000 per household with two married taxpayers, or $500 per individual. The credit may be carried forward for four taxable years. The Residential Alternative Energy System Tax Credit is compatible with all other credits and incentives. It means that you can claim it together with the federal 26% ITC. Before applying, make sure your system is new and meets all relevant safety and performance standards.

Sell excess electricity with Net Metering Program

Solar laws in Montana make Net Metering programs available to customers of all investor-owned utilities. Also, a draft Net Metering agreement has been signed by most electric cooperatives in Montana. The program gives households an opportunity to send the excess electricity back to the grid instead of storing it with battery banks. When you sell your solar power to the utility, you receive credits that can be used to offset your next bills. In Montana, their value is equal to full retail electricity price. If you accumulate any unused credits, they will expire at the beginning of the year, either in January, April, July or October. The customer gets to choose when the cycle starts.

Save additional $300 to $1,000 a year trading RECs

Renewable Energy Credits are certificates granted to any person or entity upon generation of each MWh of clean electricity. Unlike with Net Metering, you don’t need to sell any electricity to get credits. The value of RECs is always changing, which makes them similar to stock market assets. Based on the available data, selling RECs could mean anywhere from $300 to $1,000 annually for a 10 kW solar system. To participate, you have to apply for certification from the Montana Public Service Commission. After that, you can create a REC account with Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) or Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS) to begin storing and selling your credits.

Get a solar loan at 3.25% interest rate with the Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program

The program allows homeowners in Montana to take a 10-year loan to cover costs associated with acquiring an alternative energy system. The loan amount is limited to $40,000 and no down payment is required. All proposals are assessed and approved by the Department of Environmental Quality. The projects are then ranked according to such criteria as reliability, return on investment (ROI) and avoided fossil fuel consumption. Use this checklist to get ready and apply.

Freeze your property tax with Renewable Energy Systems Tax Exemption

A solar PV system installed in a home increases its value by about 4%, says 2019 Zillow report. In Montana you don't have to pay extra taxes during the first few years. According to the state laws, 100% of the value added as a result of a solar PV system installation shall be exempt from taxation for 10 full assessment years. The maximum amount of added value to be exempt is limited to $20,000. To claim the exemption, use Form AB-14.

Protect your solar panels from shade with Solar Easements

A solar easement contract is a written agreement between you and another party, for example, your neighbor. This type of contract helps to protect a reliable supply of sunlight for your solar panels. A solar easement guards your panels from potential impairments, such as vegetation and structures. It is voluntary and must contain the description of protected space, a list of restrictions and a clause on revision or termination of the contract. Once signed, it is tied to the land, not the owner. Any such agreement must be created in written form and must meet the general requirements for easements on real property.

Install your solar panels in Montana with no worries

It is legal to install solar panels on your house in Montana. However, there is no statewide legislation that makes it unlawful to restrict installation of solar PV systems, so it’s best to contact your HOA or study its declaration and rules to find out more. You may have to submit your project for approval before changing the exterior of your house. The board may ask you to hide the system from view, reduce the number of panels or just reject your proposal.

Solar panels help Montana survive wildfires

Montana is threatened by wildfires, floods and severe winter storms. These disasters come hand in hand with infrastructure damages that interfere with both generating plants and power lines. Your PV modules are designed to handle most natural hazards, and that’s good news in case of a blackout. Almost every summer comes with Public Safety Power Shutoffs. As the wind picks up, temperature rises and the trees are getting drier, the electricity in certain high-risk areas is turned off, leaving many Montanans without electricity. The Environmental Protection Agency warns that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and powerful, adding to the list of reasons to opt for solar.

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