Solar Power in Nebraska: All You Need to Know

Nebraska Solar Power: Check Your Savings, Costs, Tax Breaks, Incentives and Rebates

Nebraska gets alot of sunlight and is a sure money opportunity for  homeowners who want to go solarHomes in Nebraska have access to generous amounts of sunlight throughout the year, and it represents a great opportunity to save money by investing in a residential photo voltaic system.

Nebraska receives between five and six peak sun-hours per day on average, depending on the exact location of a project site within the state, with the west being slightly sunnier than the east.

Remember this is the average solar radiation available in Nebraska: every site is unique and requires a detailed evaluation. Contact a trusted solar contractor near you for an assessment of your residential property.

Getting a lot of sunlight is a natural incentive to go solar in Nebraska.

The main incentives from the local authorities and utilities are the following:

- A favorable net metering policy: you get credit for every kilowatt-hour at full retail price.

- For customers of Lincoln Electric, there are rebates of up to $475 per installed kilowatt.

Return on Investment for Residential Solar Power in Nebraska

The ideal solar PV system size mainly depends on the energy consumption of your home and the suitable rooftop area available. However, residential PV systems tend to average at around five kilowatts, so we will carry out a case study based on that system capacity.

The costs and savings for a 5-kW PV system in Nebraska can be broken down as follows:

- Before incentives of any type, the average cost of a solar PV system is $20,000.

- Thankfully, the 30% federal tax credit allows you to get back $6,000 as a tax deduction, bringing your outlay to $14,000.

- Over the first year you can expect to save around $750, bringing the net expense for year one to around $13,250.

- You can expect to get back your investment in 15 years. Considering that even the best solar panels typically have 25-year warranties, you are assured to have a full decade of free energy!

- You can expect to make a total profit of around $15,200 from your solar PV system over 25 years.

- Also, going solar will increase the value of your home by around $15,000.

- The environmental benefit of your photo voltaic systems will be equivalent to planting more than 120 trees per year.

The project payback period is extended by the low electricity prices in Nebraska, which average at $0.11/kWh. However, these low energy prices are possible thanks to power plants fired by fossil fuels, and could rise if more stringent regulations for fossil fuels come into play.

If this happens and you had the foresight to go solar, you will save even more cash than initially expected. Even with the current energy prices, a residential solar PV system in Nebraska can provide you net savings of more than $15,000 over 25 years.

This analysis is for a 5-kilowatt system, assuming the average sunlight conditions in Nebraska. Since every home is unique, the ideal PV system and project financials may vary. However, the analysis above gives you a general idea of what you can expect.

The top sites for solar power in Nebraska are those that meet the following conditions:

- A location to the southwest of the state, where the highest solar radiation rates are available.

- Having a south-facing rooftop area. However, if you are customer of Lincoln Electric you can get the best rebate from a west-facing solar array.

- No natural or artificial obstacles blocking a significant portion of the incident sunlight.

These conditions are optimal, but not mandatory. Unless you have severe shading issues on your rooftop, a solar PV system can be lucrative for you.

If you have the exact coordinates of your home, an excellent resource you can check out is the NASA Atmospheric Science Data Center. By inputting your coordinates, you can generate a wealth of meteorological information about your location, including the available sunshine rates: the site even breaks it down by month and by rooftop tilt angle!

Talk to one of our trusted solar installers in Nebraska to get a detailed solar analysis for your property, as well as a quote for a solar PV system installation.

Nebraska Solar Power Incentives, Tax Breaks and Rebates

The favorable net metering policy is the main incentive for solar power in Nebraska, and you can also get rebates if you are a customer of Lincoln Electric.

Also, don’t forget the 30% federal tax credit which applies on any state. There is also a state tax credit, but it’s value is extremely low and not significant in the long term.

Other than that, Nebraska does not have a Renewable Portfolio Standard requiring utilities to source a minimum percentage of their energy from renewable energy sources.

There are no tax exemptions either: solar PV systems are subject to both the sales tax and the property tax.

Nebraska Tax Credit

The only significant tax credit for Nebraska homeowners who go solar is the 30% ITC from the federal government. This is a great benefit which immediately takes off a huge portion of your upfront solar panel cost, and you can divide it into two if you are not taxed high enough to apply the full tax deduction in one year.

A word of advice: the 30% federal tax credit is set to expire in 2020, when it will be reduced to a more modest 10%. If you are planning to go solar, do so before the tax credit expires!

Nebraska also has a local tax credit for solar power, but its value is just $0.0005/kWh. Yes, the zeros are right… it is not 5 cents, but 0.05 cents. This means that if you have a solar PV system producing 7,000 kWh per year, you only accumulate a $3.50 tax deduction.

Considering that the yearly savings from solar power in Nebraska can exceed $750, this tax deduction is not even a one-percent boost.

Are There Any Rebates for Solar Power in Nebraska?

There is a tendency that repeats itself from state to state: if there is no Renewable Portfolio Standard, rebates and performance payments tend to be non-existent or extremely rare. This applies for Nebraska, where the only utility company offering rebates is Lincoln Electric.

- For a south-facing PV system, you get a rebate of $375/kW.

- For a west-facing or a tracking PV system, you get $475/kWh.

For a 5-kW residential PV system in Nebraska, this translates into a rebate of $1875 or $2375 depending on orientation. This is great, because you can expect the payback period of your PV system to be reduced by two to four years!

 

Nebraska Electricity Rates

Nebraska has a good net metering program for residential solar systemsNebraska has very cheap electricity: At $0.11/kWh, the state is two cents below the national average, and this is one of the main factors that extends the payback period of solar PV systems.

However, this is by no means a deal breaker: A 5-kilowatt PV system in Nebraska will still save you more than $15,000 over 25 years, and you will have contributed positively to the environment by reducing your consumption of high-carbon energy from power plants that use fossil fuels.

 

Is There Net Metering in Nebraska?

Nebraska has a solid net metering framework for residential photo voltaic systems, where you get full credit for every kilowatt-hour your PV system exports to the grid.

This is great, because you can roll over you credits month by month, generating a surplus in the summer in using it during the winter.

You can’t overdo it, however, because any credits accumulated at the end of a yearly period expire without compensation: utilities are not required to give you cash, only credits. This means that if you want to go 100% solar in Nebraska, your PV system has to be sized just right, not over sized!

The net metering policy places a 25-kilowatt cap on PV system size, which is a limitation for commercial solar power systems. However, homeowners should not worry because 25 kW is way above the size of nearly all residential PV systems.

Although net metering in Nebraska is good for residential PV systems, there is no standard interconnection policy and each utility sets its own rules. Lack of a standardized procedure can complicate the interconnection process, but once your PV system is up and running this no longer affects you.

To ensure your residential PV system is properly sized and interconnected, the best thing you can do is to hire a trusted solar installer who is familiarized with the process. Our experts can get you in touch with the best solar contractors in Nebraska.

 

Are There $0 Down Payment Financing Options in Nebraska?

There is no framework for third-party PV system ownership in Nebraska, which means there are no leases and power purchase agreements. The only option for homeowners who want to go solar for $0 down is to take a low-interest HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit).

 

Solar Loan

Taking a low-interest solar loan is a financial juggling strategy that eliminates the upfront cash payment, but gives up a portion of the potential lifetime savings of a solar PV system.

The basic procedure is:

- You get a loan on your home equity, typically at around 5% interest and with a term of 10 to 15 years.

- You purchase your PV system through the loan, claim your 30% tax credit, and use the money that would have been paid in taxes to start paying the loan instead!

- Yearly savings also contribute towards loan payments.

You will still have to pay some cash from your pocket to fully cover the loan, but will start getting back your investment as soon as the loan is paid. Over a 25-year period, you can expect around $7,000 in net savings.

 

Cash Purchase VS Loan: What’s Best for Nebraska Homeowners?

we recommend buying a PV system through a loan in Nebraska only to those who have a lot of equityNo option is better for all scenarios, as it all depends on your cash availability and home equity owned. Another defining factor is your priority: going solar for zero upfront cost, or maximizing long-term savings?

Purchasing a PV system in Nebraska in cash

Purchasing a PV system in Nebraska in cash is recommended if you want to maximize total savings from your solar PV system and have the cash availability for the entire down payment. The net savings over 25 years are above $15,000 with this option.

Purchasing a PV system in Nebraska through a loan

Purchasing a PV system in Nebraska through a loan is recommended if you have a lot of equity and are unwilling to assume the long payback period of a cash purchase. The PV system lifetime savings are reduced to $7,000, but you can go solar for $0 upfront and can use the tax deduction and system savings pay a significant part of the loan for you.

 

What is the Solar Power Installation Process in Nebraska?

Having no standard interconnection policy means that solar PV system installation in Nebraska can be complex. Therefore, we recommend you hire an experienced and trustworthy solar contractor to make the process go by with minimum hassle.

If you have already decided to go solar, the process is very simple and you can start today:

1. Fill our solar installation form, providing basic information on your property.

2. Talk with trusted solar contractors near you to get accurate quotes.

3. Compare quotes (we recommend you get at least three) and choose the best option for you.

4. Have your contractor install the PV system, and enjoy clean power while helping the planet.

Remember all examples in this article are for a 5-kilowatt photo voltaic system in Nebraska, assuming average sunlight conditions for the state. After you get in touch with a contractor near you, you will get a detailed and custom-tailored proposal according to your exact site conditions.

Solar PV system installation is quick and free from disruption, taking from three to four days after you have closed the deal.

 

Conclusion

A solar panel system is a good investment in Nebraska thanks to the sunlight and net metering programThe two main incentives for going solar in Nebraska are the generous amounts of sunlight available and the favorable net metering policy. If you are a Lincoln Electric customer, their rebates provide additional motivation to equip your Nebraska home with a photo voltaic system.

In addition to local incentives, remember the 30% federal tax credit is available everywhere in the US.

The main areas of opportunity to improve the outlook for residential solar power in Nebraska are the introduction of a Renewable Portfolio Standard and easing up the taxes on photovoltaic technology.

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