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New solar array begins supplying commercial energy to southwest Montana

Solar panels.

A new utility-scale solar array near Dillon powered up and began supplying commercial energy this month. The new facility doubles Montana’s solar energy potential.

The 600-acre solar project, located along I-15 near Dillon, began providing power to NorthWestern Energy’s regional infrastructure on Aug. 4. Clenera, the Boise-based company that built the project, said its capacity of 80 megawatts is enough to power over 13,000 homes in southwest Montana.

The only other utility-scale solar project in Montana, the MTSUN array near Billings, has the same capacity.

Clenera has a 20-year contract to provide power to NorthWestern, Montana’s largest monopoly utility.

The contract was agreed under provisions of a federal law that requires regulated utilities to offer long term contracts to alternative energy providers.

A third solar project, to be located near Trident in Broadwater County, is currently seeking a contract with NorthWestern Energy.

John joined the Montana Public Radio team in August 2022. Born and raised in Helena, he graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Media Arts and created the Montana history podcast Land Grab. John can be contacted at
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