Energy cost savings programs and income tax credits, 2016

By Catherine Haug, April 13, 2016

Previously, I posted information from Flathead Electric Coop (FEC) about green programs they offer that could save you money – as opposed to what Arcadia Power is offering (see my Feb 15, 2016 article About Arcadia Power’s mailing to all FEC customers, and my Dec 30, 2017 article Arcadia Power: Is it better than FEC? in response to an email from Daily Kos).

David Bopp at FEC recently sent me more information (see below) about ways to save money on electricity through federal and/or state income tax credits, as well as FEC offerings. 2018 update: I have updated Federal Income Tax Credits section. Read on for more.

Federal Income Tax Credits

Some federal tax credits for energy efficiency were reinstated in 2016, but have expired for 2018  (per Jan 2018 update from David Bopp) – I have crossed them out, bellow).

A solar credit is still available (since 2017); see  (8) and  for solar water heaters and solar panels (9); thanks to David Bopp for the update, Jan 2, 2018). This credit will remain in effect through December 2021.

The following apply to existing homes only.  The credit is for purchases during the 2016 calendar year and is retroactive for purchases made in 2015.  Here is the list:

  • Energy Star certified Air Source Heat Pumps with HSPF of 8.5 and SEER of 15: $300
  • Insulation and air sealing: 10% of the cost (not including installation) up to $500
  • Heat Pump Water Heaters: $300
  • Windows and Doors: Energy Star certified.  10% of cost (not including installation) with maximum of $200 (limited for all years since 2005 if you have claimed any of this before).

The following apply to new homes:

  • Energy efficiency tax credit for ground source heat pumps.  This has not changed but is set to expire 12/31/2016!

Montana Income Tax Credits

All state credits are still valid (per David Bopp, Jan 2, 2018).

The state tax credit remains the same: 25% of the cost up to $500/homeowner for qualifying energy efficiency measures in new or existing homes; see pamphlet, Montana EnergyTaxCredits-2016 pdf file (7) for the fairly long list. For ground source heat pumps it is a flat $1500.  These do not have any expiration date (Don writes, “if you want to keep it that way let your legislators know since they keep trying to kill this each session!“)

FEC Rebates

In addition to the tax credits Flathead Electric provides rebates for eligible upgrades in new and existing homes.  This includes:

  • Upgrading electric resistance heat (baseboards, in wall heaters, electric furnaces) to heat pumps.
  • Upgrading electric resistance water heaters to heat pump water heaters.
  • Upgrading windows and insulation in electrically heated homes.
  • New Energy Star washing machines and refrigerators.
  • New Energy Star certified Manufactured homes.
  • New homes that exceed our energy code and meet Flathead Electric’s requirements.

More information can be found on FEC’s website: FEC Rebate Information (6). In addition to the rebates Flathead Electric also offers 3% interest financing to help out with some of these upgrades.

FEC’s green programs (originally posted 2/15/16)

FEC offers green programs that will accomplish the same as the Arcadia offer and much more. Don  provided the following information and links:

  • Wind energy: FEC offers a Renewable Energy Program that allows members to purchase green tags (RECs ) used to support wind energy. Signing up for this program is easy; your rate for power does not change, but you pay an extra cost of $5 a month for addition of wind power to their portfolio. There is no cost penalty to start or stop the program. Please see the link for FEC’s Renewable Energy Program (2) for more information;
  • Solar energy: FEC’s Solar Utility Network (SUN) program allows members to purchase a solar panel in a community project and receive the credits for that panel on your bill from FEC. Please see the link for FEC’s SUN Program (3);
  • Monthly rebate credits: The Peak Time program is a demand response program that empowers members in helping FEC reduce peak power and save costs for all members. Please see the Peak Time link (4)
  • Net metering and interconnection generation agreements: These member-friendly agreements apply if you add your own power source such as solar to provide energy to your home. You can sell any excess energy produced by such equipment to FEC for distribution on the grid. Please see the Net Metering link (5)
  • FEC’s energy efficiency rebate programs: these incentivize members to choose more efficient solutions to improve the efficiency of their homes and/or businesses. As of this writing, these include home improvements such as certain energy-efficient appliances, heat pump water heaters, ductless heat pumps, air-source heat pumps, ground-source heat pumps, insulation upgrades, window replacements (if electrically-heated home), and more. Please see the link on Energy Efficiency Rebates (6)

Contact Flathead Electric Cooperative if you have more questions about their services and programs. The Kalispell number is 406-751-4483; Libby number is 406-293-7122.


  1. You Tube video:
  2. FEC’s Renewable Energy Program:
  3. FEC’s SUN Program:
  4. FEC’s Peak Time Program:
  5. FEC’s Net Metering Program:
  6. FEC’s Energy Efficiency Rebates:
  7. Montana EnergyTaxCredits-2016 pdf:
  8. Federal solar tax credit (2017-2021):
  9. Solar Energy Systems:

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