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NorthWestern, City of Bozeman, MSU Launch Solar Project

Sep 30, 2016

Butte, Mont. – September 30, 2016 – Officials from NorthWestern Energy, the City of Bozeman and Montana State University launched the Bozeman Solar Project today with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. The pilot project represents a partnership between the three entities.

The project is located at 93 Moss Bridge Road in Bozeman. The 2.3-acre site is on property owned by the City of Bozeman near its water reclamation facility, which is just north of Interstate 90 near the 19th Street exit. Onsite Energy of Bozeman is the general contractor on the project and oversaw the engineering and construction of the solar photovoltaic system.

The pilot project is designed to have energy output of about 533,000 kilowatt-hours per year, enough to power about 54 homes. The project will be tied to the power grid operated by NorthWestern Energy. Along with solar photovoltaic panels and smart inverters, the project will also involve the installation of 40 residential and 20 commercial advanced meters to help the project partners better understand how solar power aligns with customer needs.

“Our responsibilities are to provide Montana’s critical energy infrastructure; to deliver our customers reliable energy service from a diversified portfolio; and to work with our customers to develop solutions to meet their particular needs,” said Bob Rowe, NorthWestern Energy’s CEO.  “Our partnership with Bozeman and Montana State University helps advance all of these goals. It’s been particularly exciting to help design and build a project that meets our partners’ goals and may provide a model for how we can work with other communities.”

In addition to the Bozeman project, NorthWestern is in the early stages of renewable energy pilot projects in Missoula and Helena. About a year ago, the company completed a Rural Micro-Grid pilot project near Deer Lodge that uses solar panels and batteries to improve service reliability to small group of customers in rural Powell County.

The Bozeman project will also help the City of Bozeman achieve its Climate Action Plan goals and guide future renewable energy projects.

“Good communities are built when government is able to partner with other entities to meet their mutual needs,” said Carson Taylor, the mayor of Bozeman. ”The Bozeman Solar Project is a great example of this kind of partnership.  NorthWestern Energy has coupled its imagination and its funds with the City of Bozeman's land to create a pilot project from which both entities can benefit and learn.”

NorthWestern has committed up to $1 million for this project, an amount that expected to cover the cost of building and operating the project. The City of Bozeman agreed to provide use of the land but has no additional financial responsibility tied to the project. Montana State University will help with research tied to the five-year pilot project.

NorthWestern Energy has made a $3 million commitment to community-based renewable energy projects. With the recent addition of 11 hydroelectric facilities to NorthWestern’s generation portfolio, 62 percent of the electricity we supply to our Montana customers comes from carbon-free water or wind. The company also relies on coal and natural gas to generate electricity for its roughly 360,000 Montana electric customers.

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About NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE)
NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 701,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the company's website at

Media Contact:
Butch Larcombe
(866) 622-8081

Community Contact:
Heather Bellamy
(406) 570-2092

City of Bozeman Contact:
Natalie Meyer
(406) 582-2317

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