Sibanye-Stillwater Smelter Installs Montana's First Behind-the-Meter Industrial Scale Solar Array

Sibanye-Stillwater Smelter Installs Montana's First Behind-the-Meter Industrial Scale Solar Array

Rooftop Solar, Utility Scale
As of December 20, 2017, the Sibanye-Stillwater metallurgical complex in Columbus can now boast the first “behind-the-meter” industrial scale solar installation project in the state. The 100 kW solar array was installed by OnSite Energy, based out of Bozeman. The project was completed in a short time-frame to accommodate the end of the fiscal year, and the OnSite crew of four pushed through an icy December to complete the installation process. Many commercial and residential solar installations in Montana are net-metered, meaning when the panels are producing more energy than is being consumed on site, that excess energy is exported back to the electric grid for other customers to use. There is currently a 50 kW cap on net-metered systems for NorthWestern Energy customers. The Sibanye-Stillwater project is unique in that…
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What do these solar tariffs mean?

Industry & Technical, Policy & Advocacy
Last week the President ordered 30% tariffs on imported solar cells and modules. These tariffs are nothing short of artificial price increases, leaving many in Montana to wonder how this will affect their ability to purchase solar. This will be a surmountable, albeit frustrating, speed bump on the road towards energy independence. ​The decision, touted as a way to bolster american manufacturing and create jobs, is projected instead to cost the american solar industry 23,000 jobs. Most of these will be in installation, which makes up the majority of the solar industry. In Montana, installation makes up approximately 80% of the solar industry. These are small businesses, hiring a local workforce, and providing well paying jobs. Already, the uncertainty over the tariffs has caused businesses to curtail expansion. The tariffs…
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