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Montanans learn about residential renewable energy

When some people hear about solar energy or wind farms, often giant turbines in sprawling farms come to mind, or perhaps solar energy complexes that produce huge amounts of energy. But one program in Montana is hoping to change all that, KAJ 18 News reports.

According to the news source, Great Falls College now offers a Small Wind and Solar Renewable Energy training course, which teaches residents how to benefit the most from residential renewable energy systems.

"Really to just give them fundamentals of small wind and solar P-V, so they have some basic understanding of what they state of the industry is, what current applications are," Wind MT project manager Mel Lehman said.

Course instructors received their training from Roy Butler, an expert on the matter, who helped write the curriculum based on his years of living off the grid.

"They can embark on a program of energy conservation at home," Butler said. "Even though it's free, it's the most difficult thing for them to do because it's called behavior modification."

Switching to renewable energy systems is part of a nationwide trend that is flourishing in states with energy deregulation laws. These states, which include Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, allow residents to compare energy plans to determine the best available.