Montana Clean Energy Fair returns to Butte

Fair offers workshops, electric car and e-bike show and home tour Aug. 13

New & Notable

Heat waves, rain events and drought: Curious about how clean energy can help the environment and your pocketbook? Head for the 11th annual Montana Clean Energy Fair, Saturday, Aug. 13, at the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) in Butte.

Kids ready their creations for the solar car race at the Montana Clean Energy Fair.
Kids ready their creations for the solar car race at the Montana Clean Energy Fair.Photo © MREA

The fair, organized by the Montana Renewable Energy Association, is the premier event of the year for renewable energy education and engagement, featuring a series of 45-minute workshops on topics including solar electricity and solar heating, batteries and energy storage, financing and incentives, off-grid living, and much more.

The fair also features an electric car and e-bike show with cutting-edge vehicles. Local, Montana-based renewable energy businesses will be on hand to showcase their offerings and answer questions. Raffle prizes (top prize is a $2,000 e-bike) and a local solar home tour will round out the event.

All-day offerings for kids include face painting, a coloring and drawing station, and a bouncy castle. Workshops that blend education and fun include solar cooking (bake cookies in a solar oven) at 11 a.m., recycled art projects at noon, and the ever-popular model solar car assembly and races from 1-2:30 p.m.

Adult workshops take place throughout the day, starting at 10 a.m. and running through 2:45 p.m.; each lasts 45 minutes. Renewable energy experts and professionals begin each workshop with a presentation and conclude with plenty of time for discussion and Q&A.

After the fair, get an in-depth look at a new net-metered, solar-powered home. From 4-5 p.m. visit a house just down the road (less than one mile away) from the fair to hear first-hand about what it means to produce your own energy from the sun. The house features a large, new grid-inter-tied solar electric system and inverter. The hosts will walk through their experience with the installation, cost, and how owning solar has impacted their life, with plenty of time for questions and discussion.

In conjunction with the Clean Energy Fair, NCAT will host an open house for visitors to tour the Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training (SIFT) agricultural program. Learn about hi-tunnel construction, solar passive greenhouses, season extension tools useful in southwest Montana, and the resources readily available to operate a sustainable farm.

NCAT is located at 3040 Continental Ave. in Butte. The fair is free and open to the public – neither tickets nor registration is required.