Alternative Energy Information

Permitting Requirements

 Alternative Energy is becoming more prevalent and permitting does not readily conform to this ever changing environment.  Below you can find information on the most common permits  issued for residential and commercial solar or wind turbine installations. Please click on one of the drop-downs for information on required permits and licensure.

If you have questions about other specific types of alternate energy projects please contact building codes staff at (406) 841-2056 or   buildingcodes@mt.gov

 

Click to access Alternative Energy Consumer Guides

 

 

  • New Residential Building

    • If installer is a licensed electrical contractor, then the electrical contractor will apply for an electrical permit for the type of dwelling and amperage of service & select solar on the permit application
    • If installer is not an electrician the solar installer will apply for single family interior/exterior wire or rewire on the electrical permit, option (i) & provide solar information – If the system will be grid tied then a licensed electrical contractor is required to perform the needed wiring. If Electrical Contractor is doing the entire project, then the contractor would obtain a permit as indicated above. If Electrical Contractor is only connecting solar then the contractor would apply for a permit for residential change of service, option (i) on the application and provide solar information.
    • A homeowner can install the alternate energy system by obtaining an electrical permit for single family interior/exterior wire or rewire, option (h) & provide solar information. - If the system will be grid tied a licensed electrical contractor is required to perform the needed wiring. If Electrical Contractor is doing the entire project, then the contractor would obtain a permit as indicated above. If contractor is only connecting system to the grid, then a permit for residential change of service option (i) & provide solar information

     See the Flow Chart to determine when a permit is required for solar installation.

    Commercial Solar

    All commercial work requires a licensed electrical contractor. If the project includes solar the electrical contractor will apply for a permit for the project & select solar. The fee is based on the total value of the electrical work, including solar.
  • A permit and inspection are required for wind turbines being installed. The applicant must pull a building permit for the raised platform(s) and associated foundation(s) or pier(s).  The permit fee is calculated based on the cost of construction for the new platform(s)/foundation(s) and associated equipment.

    If new raceways and wiring carrying 90 volts or more are being installed those require an electrical permit and need to be installed by a licensed Montana Unlimited Electrical Contractor.

    • Replacement of same for same equipment in the same location(s) is considered maintenance and does not require state permitting or inspection.
    • The cost of swapping out existing equipment for those sites is not included in the scope of the permit or fees.
    • Raceways and associated wiring under 90 Volts including Fiber is exempt from inspections and permitting.
    • Public utility electric energy generation facilities are exempt from permitting and inspection requirements.
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