Solar energy is an excellent resource in Montana, even with our short winter days. Montana has several sunny winter days, and over the course of a year, Montana’s solar resource is 26 percent greater than the national average.
Montana has a robust residential and commercial solar installation industry, including photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal technologies. With significant drops in PV prices, utility scale solar developers have come to Montana, proposing dozens of projects scattered around the state.
Senate Bill 93 was approved by the 2019 Legislature and signed by the Governor in May 2019. The bill modifies MCA 75-26-301 to requires owners of solar facilities of 2 megawatts and greater to submit decommissioning plans and bonds to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and requires DEQ to adopt rules prescribing:
- - Standards and procedures for the submission of reasonable bonds with good and sufficient surety by the owners of solar facilities
- - Collection of penalties
- - Criteria and the process for releasing a bond
- - DEQ’s use of a bond in the event that the owner of a solar facility fails to decommission its facility
- - Information required by DEQ to determine bond requirements
- - Any additional requirements to ensure compliance with the bill