Montana solar has been running into some legislative obstacles. The Montana Renewable Energy Association explains in this email to their members:

Date: Thu, Feb 5, 2015, at 4:32 PM
Subject: [mrea] net metering policy update
MREA Members–This week the House Energy committee voted down two of MREA’s priority bills to expand net metering. The votes followed on the heels of votes in the Senate Energy Committee last week to block two other proactive net metering bills. The legislature killed this legislation despite compelling testimony from MREA members and our allies. NorthWestern Energy and the rural electric co-ops lobbied hard to kill these bills and unfortunately, the committees voted to reject economic development and consumer choice in favor of protecting utility interests.
The House Energy Committee voted to table HB 192, sponsored by Rep. Art Wittich (R-Gallatin Valley) to increase the 50-kilowatt net metering cap to 1 megawatt. The vote came even after the committee amended the bill to increase the bill to only 350 kW. They also voted down HB 188, also carried by Rep. Wittich, which would have extended the carryover of credits from 12 months to 24 months. Last week the Senate Energy Committee voted to table SB 134, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Fielder (R-Thompson Falls), which would have allowed for one net metering system to cover the energy demand on multiple meters. They also tabled SB 182, carried by Sen. Mike Phillips (D-Bozeman), to allow for neighborhood net metering or community solar projects.**
There’s still a good chance that compromise net metering legislation and/or a bill to study net metering in a legislative interim committee and/or at the Public Service Commission will move forward. We’ll be sure to let you know when there are more opportunities to weigh in.

In the meantime, please plan to join us at the Capitol on February 18 for the Clean Energy Lobby Day. It’s an important opportunity to thank our legislative allies and encourage those who voted against us to change their position next time.

Thanks for all you do,

Ben Brouwer
Policy Director, Montana Renewable Energy Association
(406) 465-8920

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Header image by Flickr user 3twenty6 (license).