Net Metering

March 06, 2023


Eligibility and Applicability

Montana's net-metering law, enacted in July 1999, applies to all customers of investor-owned utilities. Systems up to 50 kilowatts (kW) in capacity that generate electricity using solar, wind or hydropower are eligible. No limit on enrollment or statewide installed capacity is specified. Utilities may not require customer-generators to comply with any additional standards or requirements beyond those established by the National Electric Code, National Electrical Safety Code, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

Net Excess Generation

Net excess generation (NEG) is credited to the customer's next monthly bill. The customer may choose to start the net metering period at the beginning of January, April, July or October to match seasonal farming cycles. At the beginning of the year -- either in January, April, July or October, depending on the customer's choice -- any remaining unused kilowatt-hour (kWh) credits accumulated during the previous year are granted to the utility.

Electric Cooperatives

Montana's electric cooperative utilities developed a draft net-metering agreement in 2001; this agreement has been adopted by most of the state's cooperatives. According to Montana's DEQ, all electric co-ops in the state have voluntarily adopted net-metering policies, contact your electric cooperative to find out if net metering is available.

Studies and Successor Tariff

The Legislature passed a joint resolution in April 2015 to conduct a study on the costs and benefits of net metering, noting it is necessary to determine such impacts before moving forward with changes to the state net metering program. The Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee reviewed net metering issues, prepared a draft report to the legislature, and has drafted several proposed bills to implement changes to the state's net metering policy to be reviewed by the full legislature in the next session. Committee materials may be found here. 

In May 2017, H.B. 219 was signed into law, directing the state's public utilities to study the costs and benefits of customer-generators. After submission of these studies, the Public Service Commission may make a determination as part of a utility's general rate case that customer-generators should be served under a separate class of service with separate rates. Should the Commission make such a determination, existing net metering customers will be grandfathered under current rates for a certain length of time.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: Montana
Incentive Type: Net Metering
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar Photovoltaics
  • Wind (All)
  • Wind (Small)
  • Hydroelectric (Small)
Applicable Utilities: Investor-owned Utilities
System Capacity Limit: 50 kW
Aggregate Capacity Limit: No limit specificed
Net Excess Generation: Credited to customer's next bill at retail rate; granted to utility at end of 12-month period
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits: Not addressed
Meter Aggregation: Not addressed


Name: Mont. Code § 69-8-601 et seq.
Date Enacted: 03/06/2023
Name: SJ0012
Date Enacted: 04/27/2015
Name: H.B. 219
Date Enacted: 05/03/2017
Effective Date: 05/03/2017


Name: Ben Brouwer
Organization: Department of Environmental Quality
Address: 1520 E. Sixth Ave.
Helena MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-6459

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.