Bozeman Solar - Community Solar Study

Project Overview:

The Bozeman Solar Project is a partnership with the City of Bozeman, Montana State University, and NorthWestern Energy. Located on approximately 2.1 acres of land, the Bozeman Solar project is providing enough renewable energy to power more than 60 homes. This project will be able to evaluate long-term sustainable models for the integration of renewable energy while providing the City of Bozeman with data to better understand how they can meet their community climate action plan. Montana State University is using the project for senior design research. 

Bright Stories: Solar Pilot

A still image from a video about the Bozeman Solar Pilot

Bright Stories: Solar Pilot

Making smarter decisions about renewable energy requires knowledge. In addition to being tied to NorthWestern Energy’s power grid, the Bozeman Solar Pilot plays a key role in renewable education programs and provides valuable data for the city of Bozeman’s sustainability action plan.

Project Details:

The grid-connected project uses an array of ground-mounted photovoltaic panels, smart inverters, and an automation controller to understand how inverter functions can be used to better integrate with the grid. The project also involves the installation of advanced metering that captures 15 minute interval data on 40 residential customers, 20 commercial customers, and 1 industrial customer to help understand how solar output aligns with how users are consuming energy. This data is streamed to the project dashboard. Also, two panels with micro-inverters and adjustable racking allows the entire array to be modeled as if it were at different orientations. This orientation modeling is one of MSU’s senior design projects.

System Overview:

  • Installed: 2016
  • Land Area: 2.1 acres
  • Solar DC Capacity: 385.92KW
  • Smart Inverter AC Capacity: 330 KW
  • Estimated Production: 533,000 kWhs/yr

Component Overview:

  • 335W Suniva Solar Panels (x1152)
  • 30kW SMA Tripower Inverters (x11)
  • Enphase Micro Inverters (x2)
  • SEL RTAC Automation Controller (x1)