WHAT DRIVES US Solar is a guaranteed energy source for future generations
We strongly believe in the infinite resource of the sun and the reliability of solar electric systems for our daily energy needs. For over a decade we have been advocating solar electric technologies to Montanans through our own projects, community outreach, and legislative efforts. Our goal is to empower our local and regional community members to choose a future of clean, renewable solar energy for their homes and businesses that benefits our natural environment, our future generations, and our state’s economy.
SOLAR FOR CONSERVATIon: HIGHLIGHTING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND CLEAN ENERGY
One of the most important aspects of renewable energy is the departure from a dependence on heavily polluting traditional energy sources. Carbon-based emissions have a far-reaching negative impact on the quality of our air, water, and soil. The connection between conservation and clean energy begins here: by powering our lives with clean, renewable energy, we can take the next step in protecting the ecological integrity of the land and wildlife habitat that local conservation organizations have already worked so hard to protect from development and fragmentation. In that sense, choosing clean energy is choosing conservation. To support the inherent connection between the two, OnSite Energy has partnered with local conservation organizations by offering a promotion to their members where 1% of the total cost of their solar system will be returned to the organization they belong to as a donation.
Not a member or supporter of these organizations? Visit their websites to join! If you want to learn more or become a participating organization, contact us directly.
Orion has been involved in the Montana solar energy industry for over ten years, both as an industry professional and advocate through education and community outreach. A Montana native who grew up off the grid, his interest in self-sufficiency and alternative energy sources started at a young age. His professional career in the solar industry began when he completed an A.A.S. degree in Photovoltaic (Solar Electric) Design and Installation from San Juan College in 2006 and was quickly hired by Independent Power Systems of Bozeman as a system designer/installer. In 2012 Orion founded OnSite Energy with a goal of providing premier solar electric services throughout the Northern Rockies.
Having served on the board of directors for the Montana Renewable Energy Association (MREA) since 2014, he currently resides as the organization’s Vice President. As a contract instructor for Solar Energy International (SEI), Orion enjoys teaching the fundamentals of grid-tied and battery-based solar electric systems to students from all over the world.
Orion resides in a net-zero energy home with his wife Megan and their two young children. Their home is powered by solar electricity, solar hot water, and wood heat. Dedicated to a lifetime of teaching, living, and working with renewable energy technologies, Orion is hopeful for Montana’s clean energy future…and works tirelessly to help make that future a reality.
A.A.S. Degree in Renewable Energy with a Concentration in Photovoltaic Installation and Design (San Juan College, 2006)
Conor has been dedicated specifically to small-scale renewable energy since studying Environmental Economics as a senior at Middlebury College in 2001. In 2004 he completed courses in Photovoltaic Design and Installation and Wind Energy at Solar Energy International in Carbondale, Colorado. While working as the General Manager at Independent Power Systems in Bozeman, MT from 2004-2012, he provided design, installation, project management, service, and general consultation on hundreds of PV systems, both grid-tie and off-grid. In April of 2008 he attained recognition as a NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professional by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Conor operated his own solar installation company for two years before merging it with OnSite Energy and entering into a partnership with Orion Thornton -his former coworker at IPS- in the beginning of 2014.
Conor worked to create the Montana Renewable Energy Association (MREA) Safety Committee in 2007, which shortly after established an 'Alliance' with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide top-rate training specific to renewable energy system technicians. He served as a MREA board member from 2008-2016, and as the organization's president from 2010-2016. He has on numerous occasions testified before the Montana Legislature as a key proponent for the overall health and viability of the Montana renewable energy industry. From 2013-15, Conor taught the Fundamentals of Photovoltaic Design and Installation course at Missoula College.
In his free time, Conor likes to ski, bike, and climb in the mountains around Southwest Montana, and stays busy with his wife Holcomb raising their two young daughters.
B.S. Degree in Environmental Economics (Middlebury College, 2001)
Photovoltaic Design and Installation Coursework– Solar Energy International, 2004
Over 250 Solar Electric Projects Designed and Project Managed
Project Manager Sarah Ray
Project Manager Sarah Ray
Sarah's interest in renewable energy systems began during her
years at Montana State University, when her family moved to Southeast Alaska.
During a visit to the remote, coastal communities in the area, the off-grid
power systems there, many of which combined solar, wind and micro-hydro,
captured her imagination.
After graduating from MSU in 2006 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Sarah
worked for Independent Power Systems as an installer. Since then, she has held
sales and management positions, and spent a year designing large commercial PV
systems for Meridian Solar in Austin, Texas. Sarah joined the OnSite Energy
team as Project Manager in 2017.
in Electrical Engineering (Montana State University, Bozeman, 2006)
Electrician (Licensed by the Montana State Electrical Board, 2016)
Sam took an interest in sustainability and respect for the environment at a young age. In his adult life he sought to take that further and earned a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Design from North Dakota State University with hopes of helping better the world through positive landscape design. His career path found him working in a wide range of fields including software development, the National Park Service, the outdoor gear industry and finally solar installation with OnSite Energy.
Sam is a proponent of bicycles for both commuting and recreation and is active on the Bozeman Area Bicycle Advisory Board and the non-profit Bozeman Bike Kitchen. His free time is spent camping, splitboarding, and bicycling. He and his wife, Torie share the fun of the outdoors and living a sustainable lifestyle with their daughter whose smile absolutely lights up a room.
B.S. in Environmental Design (North Dakota State University, 2003)
Nicola is a native New Englander who came to Montana as a
wrangler on a horse ranch in 2007. Her interest in renewable energy was sparked
during a permaculture design course she took while traveling after undergrad,
which eventually led her straight back into school, getting her Masters in
Environmental Studies at the University of Montana. During graduate school
Nicola studied renewable energy policy, and was fortunate to work with local
NGOs in support of making renewable energy more affordable and accessible to
After many years in the Missoula and Blackfoot Valleys,
Nicola is having no problem adjusting to the incredible landscape around
Bozeman, which she explores at every opportunity with her fiancé Will and their
M.S in Environmental Studies (University of Montana, 2016)
Adam developed an interest in renewable energy while
studying Environmental Science at the University of Maine in Orono. His love
for nature took him across the United States for rock climbing adventures
post-graduation. He settled down in Bozeman afterwards, drawn to the mountains
and community. Seeking to make a positive impact on the future through
renewable energy, he began working on the OnSite Energy installation crew in 2016. He
is looking forward to developing a career in providing people with clean,
renewable, and equitable energy.
In his free time, Adam enjoys getting outside to rock climb,
hike, and paddle in the amazing natural landscapes of Southwest Montana and the
B.S. in Environmental Science with a Concentration in Sustainability, Environmental Policy, and Natural Resource Management (University of Maine, 2015)