The solar energy economy is booming – and Montana should be leading the way. We work hard. We’re innovative. And we have sunshine in spades. We should be using this God-given resource to create good paying jobs.
What are we waiting for?
Billings is a place that could have a vibrant solar economy. It has more than 200 days of sunshine a year — more than any other city in Montana. It’s also got a population that keeps growing which means more people need jobs and more houses need electricity. Surely, you would think that Billings’ elected officials would see the light on this one.
Well, South Billings, your representative has left you in the dark.
Earlier this year, Rep. Adam Rosendale co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that would have made it easier for people to install and use solar panels. It became known as the “Solar Jobs and Energy Freedom Act.”
Unfortunately, when push came to shove, Rosendale voted against his own bill — and the bill died in committee.
Rep. Rosendale, what gives?
His district on the south side of Billings is attracting more and more young families. These folks need good jobs to support their kids and to build a strong future. According to Jeff Fox at Renewable Northwest (a group promoting renewable energy), solar installers in Montana make between $40,000 and $50,000 per year. Why would Rosendale vote against a bill that could help create these kinds of good-paying jobs?
This bill would have allowed individual families, renters, larger businesses and even farms to use larger solar power systems on homes and businesses, which would lower energy costs. That’s important because our big electricity monopoly, NorthWestern Energy, keeps raising their prices. People living in Billings pay more for electricity than people in any other city across our state.
It’s no surprise that NorthWestern opposed the “Solar Jobs and Energy Freedom Act.” They are looking out for themselves. But Rep. Rosendale? Shouldn’t he be looking out for the people of Billings instead of siding with a big energy monopoly?