Nebraska solar 101: must read before you buy solar panels
Benefit from a PV system
5.22 peak sun hours
117 clear days per year in Nebraska – pick panels with good performance in cloudy conditions
11 years payback time
A solar power system in Nebraska is a smart long-term investment
Sell excess energy with Net Metering program
Cover your bills with the credits from utilities
Solar system doesn’t raise your property taxes
A house with a PV system is going to cost more on the market though
Get a solar loan at a 5% interest rate or lower
Loans for energy-efficient upgrades are issued for up to 15 years
Nebraska #17 in the US
- $44 472 Average savings from going solar in Nebraska
- 12 048 kWh/year Average electricity consumption of a FL household
- 8 248 kWh/year AC energy output of a 5 kW solar system installed in Nebraska
- 11 ¢ /kWh The cost of electricity today in Nebraska
- 23 ¢ /kWh The forecast average utility price over the next 25 years
- $2.29/WAverage gross price of a solar power system as of December 2022
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Solar laws, incentives and rebates in Nebraska you need to know
Save 26% of your PV system cost with Federal Solar Tax Credit
The main solar incentive that works across all United States is the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program. By applying to this program, all Americans can deduct 26% of the total cost of their installation from the income tax. The PV system cost doesn’t amount to only how much you’ve spent on your solar panels, but includes the shipping and installation as well. To claim the ITC, complete all the necessary forms and submit them when filing your taxes. It makes sense to hurry up: in 2023 the Tax credit decreases to 22% and after that it’s 10% for commercial systems only.
Join Net Metering program and gain credits to cover your bills
A great way for solar owners to gain value from their systems is to enter the Net Metering program. If your installation generates more energy than you need, you can sell the excess into the grid and gain credits to cover your bills. This electricity is credited at the utility's avoided cost rate. Unused credits carry over to the next billing period.
In Nebraska, solar systems must be under 25 kW to be eligible for Net Metering. If yours is bigger, you have to negotiate the terms with the electric company separately. Note that there may be fees for entering the Net Metering program and non-electric bills for customers. Check the rates and conditions with your electric supplier.
Residential systems are exempt from property taxes
Residential systems that are smaller than 25 kW are exempt from property and capacity taxes in Nebraska. That means solar panels raise the market value of a house, but the taxes for it don’t change. With commercial systems of 100 kW capacity or more, it’s more complicated. While all solar equipment is exempted from property tax, there is nameplate capacity tax of $3,518 per installed MW.
Solar panels are cheaper for community projects
Solar panels in Nebraska are exempt from sales and use taxes for community-based energy development projects (C-BEDs). For example, a solar system bought or rented by residents of an apartment house can be viewed as a C-BED project. In practice it means that these projects should be cheaper to bring to life in Nebraska. To get the exemption, members of the community have to file an application to the Tax Commissioner.
Increase your buying power with Dollar and Energy Savings Loans
If you want to increase your buying power to go solar, another Nebraska solar incentive – Dollar and Energy Saving Loans – can help you with that. The state provides loans for renewable energy projects of both residential and commercial scale. The interest rates are 5% or lower. The program involves the State Energy Office and Nebraska banks and credit unions. First, the client approaches his financial institution and then its representatives discuss the project with the Nebraska Energy Office. The loans are issued for up to 15 years. Generally, the applications are processed within 10 working days. Check the website for more information and application guide.
Get a permit to install your solar panels in Nebraska
The requirements for solar permits, as well asd solar laws in Nebraska vary from city to city. For example, the city of Lincoln has streamlined the process – getting a permit for a system under 25 kW takes only three days. You can examine the checklist that contains all the basic steps. Notice that you might need a stamp from a structural engineer, which raises the cost of a permit. Consult with your installer beforehand – generally, it’s up to him to obtain a permit and to make sure that it is legal to install solar panels on your house in Nebraska.
Solar easements help to ensure your access to the sun
In Nebraska, property owners are encouraged to create solar easements that would ensure that their solar systems get enough sunlight. In practise it means that neighbors together make sure that nothing on their lands overshadows solar installations of each other. What is more, counties and municipalities of Nebraska are free to develop their own zoning regulations and rules to ensure the access to the sun. It makes sense to consult with your installer and local officials about the easements in your area beforehand.
Solar panels help Nebraskans survive tornadoes
Nebraska experiences 50-60 tornadoes of a different scale every year. The last strong storms hit the southwestern part of the state in the end of May: the wind has peaked at 115 mph speed, according to the National Weather Service. Solar panels are actually great at withstanding harsh weather. The average speed of a tornado is about 40-100 mph, but a standard PV module is made to endure the 140 mph winds on the front side. This is why a solar system is a great choice in Nebraska. It will survive most storms and you won’t have to buy and build a new installation after a natural disaster. When power lines are down, the grid-tie system shuts down as well, but an off-grid solar system works no matter what.