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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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NorthWestern Energy - USB Renewable Energy Fund   

Last DSIRE Review: 11/11/2014
Program Overview:
State: Montana
Incentive Type: Utility Rebate Program
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics, Wind, Hydroelectric
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential
Amount:Residential PV: $2,000/customer
Commercial PV: $0.50/watt
Wind: $2.00/watt
Maximum Incentive:Commercial PV: $25,000
Wind: $10,000
Equipment Requirements:Residential PV systems must by 2 kW
Installation Requirements:Must use qualified installer
Web Site:

NorthWestern Energy (NWE), formerly Montana Power Company, periodically provides funding to its customers for renewable energy projects. In 1997, Montana established the Universal System Benefits (USB) program. The USB legislation requires all electric and gas utilities to establish USB funds for low-income energy assistance, weatherization, energy efficiency activities, and development of renewable energy resources. A typical NorthWestern Energy residential customer pays approximately $1 per month in electric USB charges. About $9 million is collected annually by NorthWestern, and about $1.2 million is used for renewable energy projects.

Most renewable energy projects include a public education or demonstration component to increase awareness of renewable energy. Residential solar PV incentives are available at a fixed rate of $2,000 per customer. The smallest residential system size supported is 2 kilowatts (kW).  Commercial solar PV incentives are $0.50/watt, with a maximum of $25,000 per customer. The largest commercial system size supported is fifty kW. The incentive for wind is $2/watt to a maximum of $10,000 per customer. 

In order for a customer to receive the funds, the work must be completed by a NorthWestern Energy qualified dealer or installer, as directed by NorthWestern Energy's qualification requirements. Off-grid installations inside NWE's service territory are not eligible for USB funds.

  June Pusich-Lester
NorthWestern Energy
40 East Broadway
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 497-2329
Fax: (406) 497-2084
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.