Thank you, Bozeman!
The 8th Annual Montana Clean Energy Fair was a huge success! This would not have been possible without the help and support of so many people. Thank you to our generous sponsors, to all of the businesses and advocacy groups that hosted tables, and to our workshop speakers and presenters. Thank you to our volunteers who helped throughout the day. And, of course, we owe a huge thank you to everyone who came out to join us! We're already looking forward to next year. You can see some of the photos from this past year below.
We hope to see you at another MREA event soon!
Christopher Borton, Fair Coordinator and Board Member
Andrew Valainis, Executive Director
The Workshops will take place through the day, starting at 10 am and running through 3:45 pm. More information on the topics and speakers are below. You can also download a copy of the full list of topics and speaker bios.
10:00 – 10:45 am: Solar Electricity Basics (Exhibit Building #2)
Dan Kenworthy, Kenworthy Electric
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. Learn the ins and outs from industry veteran Dan Kenworthy.
10:00 – 10:45 am: Large-Scale Solar and Wind (Exhibit Building #3)
Amy Berg Pickett, Cypress Creek Renewables; Dave Ryan P.E., Balance Engineering
Montana has tremendous wind and solar resources, and in the past decade more than a dozen wind farms have been built across the state. Recently, large scale solar arrays have made their way to Montana. What’s next for large-scale wind and solar development?
11:00 – 11:45 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? Ben will explain 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 – 11:45 am: Batteries and Energy Storage (Exhibit Building #3)
Kyle Bolger, Blue Planet Energy
Have you been wondering when and if you need batteries for emergency backup or how to store electricity for your on-grid or off-grid house? Join Kyle Bolger to learn about battery history, options, and the evolving technologies of energy storage. The battery revolution is on and is poised to change our entire way of thinking about electricity and independence!
12:00 – 12:45 pm: Financing and Incentives (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 – 12:45 pm: Electric Vehicles Show-and-Tell (Exhibit Building #3)
Kyla Maki, Montana Department of Environmental Quality; Alicia Cox, Yellowstone-Teton Clean Cities; Bill Clem, KERBSpace; plus electric vehicle owners.
Get the low-down on electric cars and what they have to offer you and your community. This workshop starts with an overview of the technology, will cover how electric buses are changing the public transit landscape, and ends with a show and tell from car owners. This electric car show is truly a unique event for Montanans!
1:00 – 1:45 pm: Solar 2.0: Taking Solar Electricity to the Next Level (Exhibit Building #2)
Dave Ryan, P.E., Balance Engineering
You’ve already installed solar on your home. But what's next? Join us for a workshop on living life after installing solar. Now that you are producing your own electricity, have you thought about getting more out of your PV system? Did you know you may be able to expand your system with more panels? Have you thought about integrating an electric vehicle or at-home battery storage? We cover all this and more at this exciting workshop.
1:00 – 1:45 pm: Efficient Water Heating Options for Home and Business (Exhibit Building #3)
Todd Hoitsma, Liquid Solar Systems
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. In this session Todd Hoitsma of Liquid Solar 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.
2:00 – 2:45 pm: Renewable Energy Policy (Exhibit Building #2)
Brian Fadie, Montana Environmental Information Center; Diego Rivas, NW Energy Coalition
The upcoming legislative session is likely to see another round of bills addressing net metering, renewable energy incentives and tax credits, and more. The Public Service Commission will soon be considering whether to change the rules for distributed generation (e.g. rooftop solar and small wind). And discussions around large scale solar and wind continue at the Public Service Commission and among legislators. Join this session to hear what's happening now and what’s on the horizon for state renewable energy policies.
2:00 – 2:45 pm: Off-Grid Living (Exhibit Building #3)
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.
3:00 – 3:45 pm: Community-Scale Solar (Exhibit Building #2)
Garrett Martin, Montana Department of Environmental Quality; Natalie Meyer, City of Bozeman
Communities around Montana are turning to renewable energy to further their energy goals and to save money. Meanwhile, Montana utilities, including rural electric Co-ops, are starting to explore shared solar projects which allow individuals to buy into a single solar electric system. Hear from our panelists about developments in community based efforts to go solar and how shared solar is becoming more viable in Montana.
3:00 – 3:45 pm: Lithium-Ion Batteries (Exhibit Building #3)
Kyle Bolger, Blue Planet Energy
You probably already use them in your phones, power tools, and maybe your hybrid car. But did you know that there is a major transformation taking place at this moment within the energy storage industry? Lithium ion batteries are leading the way for homes, businesses, and the surging electric car market. Find out the details of this technology and why the costs are coming down and the efficiencies are going up.
All-Day Activities (9 am to 4 pm)
- Bouncy Castle
- Face Painting
- Coloring and Drawing Station
11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Solar Cooking (recommended for ages 6 and up)
Build your very own pizza box solar oven and cook up some treats!
12:00 – 1:00 pm: Recycled Art Projects (recommended for ages 6 and up)
Create works of art from commonly used household items!
1:00 – 3:00 pm: Model Solar Car Assembly and Racing (recommended for ages 8 and up)
Build a model solar racing car from kits provided by MREA. Races will be ongoing as models are completed, with awards for all racers! Parents have the opportunity to purchase the model cars for $20 each.
Thank you to all of our generous donors to our raffle! Stop by the MREA tent to buy tickets and enter to win any of these great prizes. The drawing will be at 4pm, and you must be present to win!
Our grand prize is an Electric Power Mountain Bicycle. This is a Pro Folding 500W 26" mountain bike with 21 speeds. The bike can go up to 20mph, and the lithium ion batteries charge in just 4-6 hours. It's lightweight, compact, and fits easily into the trunk of your car, camper, boat, home, or office.
Other great prizes include:
- Two synthetic down vests from the Patagonia Outlet in Dillon
- A $50 gift card to the Bozeman Co-op
- Solar powered lanterns and Kill A Watt energy monitors, donated by Oasis Montana
- Two $50 gift cards to Montana Ale Works
- Gift card and Miir commuter cup from Wild Joe*s Coffee Spot
- Gift basket including gift cards to Nova Cafe, Feed Cafe, and their associated restaurants
- $25 gift card to White Dog Brewing
- Gift basket including a gift card from Townshend's Tea Company
The 2018 Sponsorship Packet for sponsors, exhibitors, food vendors, and car-show participants is now available.
You can fill out the form online here, or to submit it by mail you can download a PDF version here. Sponsors and exhibitors can pay by check (see form for instructions) or online, using the online payment page.
Clean and Green Level Sponsors
Gold Level Sponsors
Silver Level Sponsors
Bronze Level Sponsors