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GreenPower Financing Resources


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

The tax section of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides a three-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for most renewable energy facilities, while offering expansions on and alternatives for tax credits on renewable energy systems. The PTC provides a credit for every kilowatt-hour produced at new qualified facilities during the first 10 years of operation, provided the facilities are placed in service before the tax credit's expiration date. For 2008, biomass facilities fueled with dedicated energy crops ("closed-loop biomass"), as well as wind, solar, and geothermal energy facilities earned 2.1 cents per kilowatt-hour, while other qualified facilities earned 1 cent per kilowatt-hour.

Homes and businesses also will benefit under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides greater tax credits for clean energy projects at homes and businesses and for the manufacturers of clean energy technologies. For homeowners, the act increases a 10% tax credit for energy efficiency improvements to a 30% tax credit, eliminates caps for specific improvements (such as windows and furnaces), and instead establishes an aggregate cap of $1,500 for all improvements placed in service in 2009 and 2010 (except biomass systems, which must be placed in service after the act is enacted). The act also tightens the energy efficiency requirements to meet current standards. For residential renewable energy systems, the act removes all caps on the tax credits, which equal 30% of the cost of qualified solar energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines, and fuel cell systems. The act also eliminates a reduction in credits for installations with subsidized financing.

2004 Guidebook of Funds and Incentives for Distributed Energy Resources

Covers federal, state and utility grant programs, renewable energy funds, tax incentives, and rebates available to energy service companies, developers, and businesses interested in implementing distributed energy resource projects.

PDF iconBorrower's Guide to Financing Solar Energy Systems

This booklet provides information to assist both lenders and consumers in financing both solar electric and solar thermal systems. It includes information about other ways to make solar energy systems more affordable, as well as descriptions of special mortgage programs for energy-efficient homes.

Clean Power Research

Clean Power Research designs analytical methods to evaluate clean energy investments (photovoltaics, solar thermal, wind, energy efficiency) and builds software programs based on these methods. These programs are licensed to vendors and other parties to help their customers make purchase decisions. This site contains 10+ years of research results.

Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE)

A comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and selected federal incentives that promote renewable energy. Searchable by state, keyword, and topic area.

Distributed Energy Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy identifies resources that provide information on grants from both public and private institutions for distributed energy projects.

Energize Montana

Maintained by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, this website includes an explanation of tax incentives available in the state, net metering laws, and more.

PDF iconGreen Sense: Making Sound Renewable Energy Choices

This guide includes a primer on renewable energy, an explanation of universal system benefits funds, an example of a renewable energy proposal, answers to frequently asked questions, a glossary of terms, a list of Montana renewable energy dealers and installers, a sheet describing NorthWestern Energy's net-metering requirements, the interconnection agreement the utility requires, and a Request for Proposal form.

Montana Energy-Related Tax Benefits

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality website features a guide to state tax benefits for conserving energy, producing and using alternative energy, and recycling. Tax forms and instructions can also be downloaded from the Department of Revenue website.

National Association of Regulatory Commissioners

Aims to provide utility customers with energy services that are environmentally sustainable and affordable. The committee analyzes, develops, and advocates market structures and regulatory frameworks that support and promote energy efficiency, environmental protection, renewable and distributed resources, consumer protection, low-income weatherization and assistance, and "public interest" research and development.

Off-grid Home Loans

Identifies institutions that will provide loans to homes without public electric utilities.

Residential Geothermal Systems Credit

Montana allows individuals to claim an income tax credit up to $250 for the cost of installation of a geothermal energy system. This credit is allowable for the 3 years following the year of installation. However, there is no carry-back or carry-forward of the credit permitted. The only other states with programs specifically targeting geothermal technologies are California (grant), Indiana (property tax), and North Dakota (income tax). For more information, contact DEQ at 406-444-2544.

Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1), signed into law February 17, 2009, extends the production tax credits (PTC) and investment tax credits (ITC), which have been critical to the growth of the renewable energy sector, and adds a new a new incentive, Treasury grants taken in lieu of tax credits, designed to promote the growth of renewables despite the economic downturn.

Companies that generate wind, solar, geothermal, and “closed-loop” bioenergy (using dedicated energy crops) are eligible for the PTC which provides a 2.1-cent per kilowatt-hour (kWh) benefit for the first ten years of a renewable energy facility's operation. Other technologies, such as "open-loop" biomass (using farm and forest wastes rather than dedicated energy crops), incremental hydropower, small irrigation systems, landfill gas, and municipal solid waste (MSW), receive a lesser value tax credit of 1.0 cent per kWh.

The PTC for wind, which as the largest producer of renewable energy has the greatest impact on the budget, was extended an additional two years, until the end of 2012. The PTC for incremental hydro, geothermal, MSW, and bioenergy was extended until the end of 2013. The bill also extends the PTC for electricity produced by wave and tidal energy through 2013.

Renewable Energy Systems Exemption

Montana exempts from property taxation the value added by a qualified renewable energy source. Qualified equipment includes active and passive solar, geothermal, wind, and low emission wood or biomass combustion devices. Such equipment is exempt from taxation for a period of 10 years following installation. The value added exemption applies to systems with up to $20,000 in value in the case of a single-family residential dwelling and $100,000 in the case of a multifamily residential dwelling or a nonresidential structure. For more information, contact DEQ at 406-444-2544.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

The U.S. Dept. of Agricultureaccepts funding applications from eligible entities for grants to conduct energy audits under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The audits are intended to help rural small businesses and agricultural producers determine where to make changes in their operations to enable them to reduce energy consumption. Audits are required for energy efficiency projects funded through REAP that exceed $50,000. States, tribal and local governments, land grant colleges or universities, other institutions of higher learning, and electric cooperatives and public power entities are eligible to receive funds to conduct the audits. Parties seeking audits from the grantees must pay 25 percent of audit costs.

Solar and Wind Easements

Montana's solar and wind easement provisions allow property owners to create solar and wind easements for the purpose of protecting and maintaining proper access to sunlight and wind. While thirty-two other states have solar easement provisions, only three other states have created specific provisions for the creation of wind easements. Montana's solar easement law was enacted in 1979 and the wind easement was enacted in 1983. For more information, contact Tom Livers, DEQ, at 406-444-6776.

Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006

Extends the production tax credit through 2008 for electricity produced from wind power, geothermal power, biomass, landfill gas, small irrigation power, and trash combustion facilities. The act provides a similar one-year tax credit extension for new properties that produce geothermal power or make use of solar energy; for homeowners that purchase solar water heating, solar photovoltaic, or fuel cell systems; for businesses that purchase fiber-optic lighting systems, solar energy systems, or fuel cell power plants; for new energy-efficient homes; and for energy-efficiency improvements to commercial buildings.

The act extends the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds program through 2008, and increases the total annual amount of tax-credit bonds to $1.2 billion. It extends special tax allowances for cellulosic ethanol facilities to include plants placed in service by 2012. It also extends the research and development tax credit, which encourages businesses to invest in new innovations.

Universal System Benefits Programs

The 1997 Legislature, in enacting the Electric Utility Industry Restructuring and Customer Choice Act (EUIRCCA), established universal system benefits (USB) programs.The purpose of the USB fund is "to ensure continued funding of and new expenditures for energy conservation, renewable resource projects and applications, energy conservation measures for irrigated agriculture, and low-income energy assistance during the transition period and into the future." USB programs are public purpose programs that include:

  • cost-effective local energy conservation
  • low-income customer weatherization
  • reducing energy costs of irrigated agriculture in Montana through conservation and
  • efficiency measures
  • renewable resource projects and applications, including those that capture unique social and energy system benefits or provide transmission and distribution system benefits
  • research and development programs for energy conservation and renewables market transformation to encourage competitive markets for public purpose programs
  • low-income energy assistance

Wind Energy System Credit

Montana allows a 35 percent tax credit for an individual, partnership or corporation which makes an investment of $5,000 or more in a wind electricity generating system or facilities to manufacture wind energy equipment. Eligible property includes wind energy system equipment, transmission lines, and equipment used in the manufacture of wind energy devices. For more information, contact DEQ at 406-444-2544.

Wind Energy System or Manufacturing Facility Credit

Montana allows a 35 percent tax credit for an individual, partnership or corporation which makes an investment of $5,000 or more in a wind electricity generating system or facilities to manufacture wind energy equipment. Eligible property includes wind energy system equipment, transmission lines, and equipment used in the manufacture of wind energy devices. For more information, contact DEQ at 406-444-2544.

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