Homeowners convinced solar power system is the way to go

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Letter to the Editor:

For some time now, we have talked about the possibility of getting solar panels or the feasibility of solar panels. Feasible in a couple of different ways. First, would going solar in eastern Montana even pay for itself? Second, who would be able to install such a system?

This past winter we participated in a Dawson Resource Council (DRC) webinar where Montanans shared their personal experiences with going solar. This, along with the tax breaks, convinced us solar was the way to go. Thanks to the efforts of the DRC Solarize Campaign, a solar installer came to Glendive and did a site assessment at no cost to us. The assessment showed us how many panels we’d need, how the panels would be arranged, and how this would affect our energy bill.

After securing a loan through DEQ for the project, our solar panels were installed within a couple of months. We were then given a tutorial by the installer on how to operate the system which took about 10 minutes. We also installed an app that works with the system showing us how much energy is being produced and how well our system is working.

MDU, our energy provider, and a state inspector checked to see if the system was installed to specifications and MDU changed our electric meter to one that inputs electricity as well as outputs it.

Since we were one of the first installs, there has been a learning curve about the whole process that we hope others can benefit from our experience in order to make the transition to solar as seamless as possible. As far as how well our system works, we’ll have to let it soak up the sun over the winter and into the summer before we will be able to reach any solid conclusions.

Just a couple of other points. After our system was installed, we got a call from (from the installer) wondering if we had any questions or concerns. They are very committed to making sure we have a professionally installed quality product. Jeff, the owner, installer, and electrician even changed a corroded 100 amp main breaker for us. This system pays for itself in 10-15 years and the warranty is for 20 years.

During this whole process, we have had many people driving by and looking. A few skeptics have given us their opinion of the ‘solar thing’ but for the most part people are looking to see if this can actually work.

Sue and Bruce Peterson

Glendive