Solar-Powered Beer at the New Butte Brewing Company

Solar-Powered Beer at the New Butte Brewing Company

Rooftop Solar
The Butte Brewing Company is a local legend. It opened in uptown Butte 1885, and though its doors shut in 1965, advertisements for its “Butte Special” beer still grace the sides of several historic uptown buildings. Tony and Teresa Olson, natives of Butte and Anaconda, respectively, bought rights to the Butte Brewing Company name and broke ground on a new home for the brewery in 2012. The Olsons were determined to honor the character of the old brewing company while bringing it into the 21st century, and sustainability was an important component of their plans from the beginning. The new Butte Brewing Company is constructed of insulated concrete forms and heated with an efficient in-floor radiant heating system. As for solar, “We wanted to be able to produce as much…
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Legislative interim study of net metering gets underway

Policy & Advocacy
The members of Montana’s Energy and Telecommunication Interim Committee (ETIC) met on June 5 to establish their work plan over the coming eighteen months. The legislative interim committee, which is composed of four Republicans and four Democrats, selected a study of net metering as one of their primary focus areas. The study is guided by SJ 12, a resolution that passed the 2015 Legislature calling for a study of net metering. Within the broad scope of SJ 12, a cost/benefit analysis of net metering will receive the most attention of the committee, followed by a review of safety regulations for net metering systems, an examination of Montana incentives for net metering and a report of the economic impacts of the industry. Ben Brouwer, MREA’s Policy Director, provided guidance to ETIC…
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Missoula Couple Inspired at Clean Energy Fair to Go Solar

Missoula Couple Inspired at Clean Energy Fair to Go Solar

Rooftop Solar
Eric and Donna Mendelson built their home in Missoula in 2008 with energy conservation in mind. The walls are constructed of structural insulated panels (SIPs), and the heating system is a hybrid high-efficiency heat pump and high-efficiency gas furnace. Eric explains that the furnace heats the home when outside temperatures are coldest, and the heat pump takes over when it’s warmer than 28-30 degrees F, maximizing the overall efficiency of the system. The Mendelsons didn’t include solar in the initial design of their home, but they hoped to add a solar array one day. So they jumped at the chance to learn more about solar at MREA’s Clean Energy Fair in September 2014. At the fair, they attended workshops on solar electricity and financing and incentives, and chatted with several…
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