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2019 MT Clean Energy Fair Workshops Announced

The workshops cover everything from solar PV basics to off-grid living, from energy storage to electric vehicles, and from policy to financing – we have something for everyone! New in 2019: after the Fair we have set up self-guided tours of solar arrays on a nearby net-zero home and local business.
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9th Annual Montana Clean Energy Fair 
Saturday, August 9th at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds

The 2019 Fair will feature ten workshops designed to educate and inspire. The workshops cover everything from solar PV basics to off-grid living, from energy storage to electric vehicles, and from policy to financing – we have something for everyone! New in 2019: after the Fair we have set up self-guided tours of solar arrays on a nearby net-zero home and local business. Read on to learn more about 2019 Workshop Series!

Find out more on the Fair webpage, and RSVP on Facebook here.


10:00 am: Solar Electricity Basics and Grid-tied Energy Storage (Exhibit Building # 2)
Dan Perata, Independent Power Systems
Think solar is expensive? When’s the last time you checked? Solar photovoltaic costs have dropped dramatically over the last 5 years, and there's never been a better time to produce your own power from the sun. What’s more, pairing solar with energy storage is becoming a key way to increase the economics and resiliency of your system. Learn the ins and outs about using solar and/or storage to produce your own energy.

10:00 am: Efficient Water Heating Options for Home and Business (Exhibit Building # 3)
Mark Jensen, Big M Construction
Water heating uses up to a third of a building’s energy demand. With lower-cost solar PV and new innovative water heaters, there are many ways to improve on the standard inefficient water heating systems. This session will review water heating technologies and compare tank vs. tankless, electric vs. gas, heat pump water heaters, and solar thermal vs. solar PV to help determine what makes most sense in your home or business.

11:00 am: Smart Solar Shopping (Exhibit Building # 2)
Ben Brouwer, Montana Energy Office, Department of Environmental Quality
How do I even begin if I’m thinking about buying solar electricity to offset my power bill? Learn how to set appropriate solar goals for your home or business, estimate costs, find a contractor, and review solar bids. This session is a must for anyone who’s interested in the exciting market of solar energy.

11:00 am: Large-scale Renewables and Utility Planning (Exhibit Building # 3)
Brian Fadie, Montana Environmental Information Center; Mark Reller, Bonneville Power Administration
Montana has tremendous wind and solar resources, which are being harnessed by large scale wind and solar projects across the state. Recently, the State of Montana partnered with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) on the Montana Renewable Development Action Plan to explore the opportunities and barriers of renewable resource development in Montana. Join our experts to learn what’s on the horizon for large-scale wind and solar development in the state.

12:00 pm: Financing and Incentives for your Renewable Energy System (Exhibit Building # 2)
Ben Brouwer, Montana Energy Office, Department of Environmental Quality; Paul Herendeen, Missoula Federal Credit Union
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there are incentives, tax credits, low interest loans, and other programs that can help you finance your renewable energy project. Find out which incentives will work for you, and see how your investment will net returns.

12:00 pm: Electric Vehicles Show-and-Tell (Exhibit Building # 3)
Kyla Maki, Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Get the low-down on electric cars and what they have to offer you and your community. In addition to going over technology options and charging, learn about the Montana Solar Powered Transportation Initiative and the future of solar powered electric transportation. This workshop ends with a hands-on show and tell from EV car owners – this electric car show is a truly unique event for Montanans!

1:00 pm: Off-Grid Living (Exhibit Building # 2)
Henry Dykema, Sundance Solar Systems
Trying to power an RV, cabin or a remote home? Or just wanting to be more self-sufficient? Learn the basics of off-grid technologies, such as battery storage and load management, and hear first-hand what it takes to cut the power cord.

1:00 pm: Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the Bozeman Community (Exhibit Building # 3)
Natalie Meyer, City of Bozeman; Kristin Blackler, Montana State University; Connie Campbell-Pearson, St. James Episcopal Church
The City of Bozeman is experiencing large development and not just in population growth. From the city to the university, to schools and churches, folks across the entire community are working to increase solar adoption and energy efficiency programs in order to save money, decrease harmful emissions, and make the Bozeman community more resilient. Hear about past, present, and future projects, including an important update to Bozeman’s Climate Action Plan.

2:00 pm: Renewable Energy Policy & Regulation (Exhibit Building # 2)
Brian Fadie, Montana Environmental Information Center; Cody Ferguson, Northern Plains Resource Council
In 2019 Montana experienced a legislative session that did little to shift the energy landscape in Montana, though not for lack of trying. Learn about the good, the bad, and the ugly from our latest legislative session. In addition, the Montana Public Service Commission is in the middle of deliberating on a rate increase request from Northwestern Energy that could drastically change the future of rooftop solar in Montana. Join this session to get all the updates from the past year.

2:00 pm: Best Practices for Net-Zero Homes (Exhibit Building # 3)
Susan Bilo, Green Compass Sustainability Consulting; Barbara Miller, National Affordable Housing Network
What would it be like to live in a house where your net energy use - not just your energy bill - was zero? Learn what a Net Zero Energy (NZE) Home is and the best practices for a successful design. Discover how the practices were implemented for the Mountain Horizon's (NZE-Ready) solar subdivision in Whitehall, Montana. Prepare to be inspired, and plan to join us after the Fair for a field-trip and tour to a nearby net zero energy home!

3:00 – 3:20: Raffle Prizes -- Electric Bicycle Grand Prize (Exhibit Building # 2)
Don’t forget to stop by the Montana Renewable Energy Association booth any time before 3:00 pm and enter a raffle for the chance to win great prizes, including your own electric ‘vehicle’ – an electric bicycle valued at over $1,000! Our Grand Prize is a E-ride Electric Mountain Bike from Hyper Bicycles. This 26”, 6-speed bike has a top speed of approx. 20mph, and charges is just about 4 hours. Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, are just starting to catch on in the U.S. but they’re already wildly popular in China and Europe – in the Netherlands, for example, one in every five bicycles sold is an e-bike. Other prizes include items from local businesses, breweries, and restaurants! You can buy raffle tickets at the MREA booth. You must be present to win.

4:00 – 5:00: Solar Home Tour
After the fair, get an in-depth experience with a solar array! Visit a true Net Zero Energy (NZE) building just down the road from the fair. This ultra-low-energy building produces as much energy as it consumes on a net annual basis and showcases a number of fascinating features: grid-tied solar pv, super insulated, solar hot water, air-to-water heat pump, EV car charging, and much more. Get all the details at the MREA booth at the Fair, or during our Best Practices for Net-Zero Homes workshop.

Find out more on the Fair webpage, and RSVP on Facebook here.