Montana Renewable Energy Association (MREA) gives steps, tips, and tricks to install solar at your home, businesses, farm or ranch, or school to save money on energy and increase your energy independence. Installing solar at your home, businesses, farm or ranch, or school will save you money on your energy bills and increase your energy independence. (1) Gather information: Do some research online and talk to the Montana Energy Office at the Dept. of Environmental Quality and a renewable energy advocate like the Montana Renewable Energy Association (MREA). A few questions to consider: Do you have a location on your property in mind already? Roof? Ground? Does the location get sun? Do you want to stay connected to the grid, or go off-grid? What is your budget for the project? (2) Contact local solar installers: Request bids from several installers to find the right fit and price for you. Ask for an in-person site visit to assess structural issues, electrical connections, and shading. Review historical energy usage to size the system properly. Discuss your energy goals. Do you want to cover all of your energy use or just some? (3) Review costs and financing: Does the cost meet your budget? Will you save as much as you were hoping on your energy bills? What tax credits are available to you? What loan or financing options are available? (4) Sign a contract: Once you’ve made your decision to move forward, contact your installer and sign a contract. Then, work can begin! (5) Installation: The timeline will depend on things like weather and the installer’s schedule, and inspection appointments. For net metering customers, expect additional time for the utility to install your net meter. (6) Start producing energy: Congratulations! Every kWh you produce is saving you money and increasing your energy independence.