Program NorthWestern Energy - USB Renewable Energy Fund
Category Financial Incentive
Implementing sector Utility
Last Update
State Montana
Administrator NorthWestern Energy
Technologies Solar Photovoltaics

NorthWestern Energy (NWE), formerly Montana Power Company, periodically provides funding to its customers for renewable energy projects. In 1997, Montana established the Universal System Benefits (USB) program. The USB legislation requires all electric and gas utilities to establish USB funds for low-income energy assistance, weatherization, energy efficiency activities, and development of renewable energy resources. A typical NorthWestern Energy residential customer pays approximately $1 per month in electric USB charges. In 2021, NorthWestern’s USB charge generated over $10 million, of which about $900,000 was used for renewable resources, and research and development projects.

The E+ Renewable Energy Program provides custom incentives for projects that benefit organizations and communities for non-profit or government facilities. Projects receiving these funds must provide civic value including education and visible representation of renewable energy technologies to a broad audience. Proposals are considered twice a year, once in the spring (applications due May 1st) and once in the fall (applications due November 1st). 

In order for a customer to receive the funds, the project may not exceed a nameplate capacity of 50 kW, must be net metered, and work must be completed by a NorthWestern Energy qualified installer. Off-grid installations inside NWE's service territory are not eligible for USB funds.

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