Your Guide to Solar Panels in Montana: 7 Steps to Solar Panels in Montana
By Dan Simms /
Here’s a quick look at the estimated cost of solar in Montana:
*Average system size is calculated using data from the Energy Information Administration. This price is after tax credit.
**Payback period is calculated assuming the system is purchased in cash.
The average cost of solar panels in Montana is $2.54 per watt, which is less than the national average of $2.66 per watt. In Montana, the typical homeowner needs a 9-kilowatt system to offset the average monthly electric bill of $96 per month. Using these figures, in Montana, a typical solar panel installation would cost $16,002 after claiming the 30% federal solar tax credit.
For most homeowners, the point of incorporating solar energy is to eliminate or drastically reduce their electric bills. With this goal in mind, heavy emphasis falls on the size of the system, which determines whether you can achieve that goal. The chart below offers a quick overview of system costs based on varying system sizes.
|Size of Solar Panel System||Montana Solar Panel Cost||Cost After Federal Tax Credit|
Ready to find the best solar companies in Montana that offer consistently high-quality and affordable systems? Click here.
The solar equipment, installation company and financing choices you make will all determine the cost of your solar panels. You must also consider solar incentives offered in Montana when calculating the final cost of your system, like the Montana Solar Property Tax Exemption and Montana’s net metering program.
Although Montana receives ample sunlight to power solar panels, snowfall and high winds in the state can be a concern for residents with solar systems. We recommend you opt for a brand with high wind and snow load ratings, as well as a warranty that will guarantee power production and cover weather-related damages.
Highly durable brands with comprehensive warranties often, but don’t always, cost a little more than average.
In the wintertime, you’ll want to brush off snow and ice that accumulates on your solar panels to keep your panels working and undamaged.
See also: See how much you can save by going solar with the EcoWatch Solar Calculator
Montana residents enjoy solar incentives like net metering, property tax exemptions and the federal solar tax credit. But Montana also offers affordable loans and grants for homeowners looking to switch to renewable energy. Take a look at some of these options:
Montana has over 40 solar companies, but ranks 49th for solar jobs in the nation, employing fewer than 300 people across the state.1 That means that most solar installation companies in Montana are small, locally owned businesses.
But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Check out the best solar options in Montana to learn more about our top-ranked Montana solar installers.
Since all installers offer different levels of quality, workmanship, warranty and equipment, you’ll encounter very different prices from various installers. That’s why we always recommend getting multiple quotes.
Make sure your bases are covered and take a look at these additional considerations and costs when installing solar in Montana:
From the federal solar tax incentive to local rebates, residents of the Big Sky State have several financial incentives at their disposal to mitigate the overall cost of their solar energy systems. Here are a few of the highlights:
|Montana Solar Incentive||How it Affects the Cost of Solar Panels in Montana|
|Renewable Energy Systems Exemption||This property tax exemption ensures you won’t have to pay extra property taxes because of your solar energy system, even though it adds value to your home|
|Net Metering||Through net metering programs, you can get utility credits for the energy you send back to the grid when your system produces more than you use. Not all states mandate that these credits be valued at the retail rate of electricity, but Montana does, which is good news for residents trying to reduce their energy bills to $0 per month.|
|Local Solar Rebates & Incentives||Many utility companies and municipalities offer their own rebates and incentives for renewable energy systems. Your solar installer should be able to help you identify these, but make sure to research them on your own, too, to make sure you don’t miss out on any money-saving opportunities.|
|Federal Solar Tax Credit||The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is available to homeowners who install solar electric systems across the country, including in Montana. This credit on your federal income taxes is valued at30% of the total system cost, which, in Montana, comes out to an average of $6,858.|
It’s worth clarifying that Montana used to offer a Renewable Energy Systems Tax Credit that was worth $500. However, this state tax credit was repealed by the state legislature in 2021.
Solar photovoltaic panels are available from a diverse array of brands, which is another component that affects the cost of your solar solution. While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact, all-encompassing costs of each solar panel brand, we can offer a general idea.
The table below gives a price comparison for a few of the best solar brands in Montana.
|Solar Panel Brand||Average Cost Per Watt ($-$$$$$)|
Do you want to know how much solar panels would cost for your Montana home? Check out our preferred providers below to get a free, no-obligation quote based on your household’s energy needs.
Read More About Going Solar
From rural homeowners who want to go off-grid to residents of cities like Bozeman and Helena, we get questions about solar energy from many Montanans. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at email@example.com.
The cost of a solar energy system for your Montana home hinges on various factors, including how many kilowatt-hours of energy you use per month, the solar installer that handles the project, and the particular equipment you choose to install. For this reason, giving an exact figure for the cost of installation is tricky.
However, we can provide a general idea of what the solar array system may cost. Considering the average system size in Montana is 9 kW, and the cost per watt is $2.54, we can calculate that the typical cost of solar in Montana is $22,860 before the federal tax credit, or $16,002 once the credit is taken into account.
Again, keep in mind that the actual cost of your solar power system may be higher or lower depending on factors unique to you.
Yes, solar panels will increase your home value in Montana. According to Zillow, homes with solar energy systems sell about 4.1% more than those without solar.4 Certain areas and markets boast higher percentages of increased home value, such as New York City or Los Angeles.
Using this figure, the median-valued home in Montana ($428,294 at the time of publication) gains about $17,560 in value.5 This can benefit homeowners who sell their homes before noticing a significant return on the original investment. Although the added value may not cover the entire cost of the solar PV system, it can offset a considerable chunk.
Of course, the added value is only applicable if you own the system outright. Panels don’t add any value to your home if you lease them, as you don’t technically own them.
No, solar panels aren’t free in Montana. Some solar providers advertise free solar panels to catch the attention of potential customers. The caveat of the “free panels” is that you’ll have to sign a lease or PPA.
While leasing solar panels is a sensible option for some residents, it’s usually not the best, most cost-effective option for homeowners looking for a permanent solar solution. Before committing to something like this, ensure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Complete thorough research on the company in question to ensure it’s reputable.
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