As part of America’s breadbasket, Nebraska has plenty of sunlight that keeps its crops growing. Sadly, as of yet, Nebraska’s legislature has not yet done much in the way of promoting this natural resource as a source of clean energy for its residents. Net metering does exist in Nebraska, but unfortunately, the rate is so low that only industrial-sized solar energy systems could benefit appreciably from it. Additionally, the cap for credits in this program is 1 percent of the total energy produced by the utilities companies, so after the cap is reached, you will not receive any credits at all. Contact your state legislature to see how you can go about trying to improve this program for all Nebraska residents.
If you are a Cornhusker, there are some renewable energy programs available for homeowners and business pioneers in the forms of loans and energy innovation grants. Additionally, most utilities companies in the major cities offer ways to take advantage of the net metering program. Nebraska has the potential to become a solar energy powerhouse that would rival its agricultural capacity, but it’s up to you to make sure that the state starts taking steps in the right direction
|Program Type||State Loan Program|
Photovoltaics (Solar Panels), Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, among other renewable energy
equipment and energy-efficient appliances
|Amount||Varies, but is generally between $35,000 and $75,000 for homeowners|
|Required Documentation||Loan application from your financial institution or the State Energy Office|
|Official Web Site||http://www.neo.ne.gov/loan/|
The Nebraska Energy Office, with help from funds made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has awarded over $205 million in loans for renewable energy and energy-efficient improvements to homes and businesses in Nebraska since 1990. While only a few renewable energy projects have been funded by this loan, in theory it could be used for any solar energy system that meets certain requirements. To qualify, the solar energy system would have to be on the list of “pre-qualified improvments” that meet minimum energy efficiency requirements, or the loan application would have to be submitted with an energy audit showing that the project would have a reasonable payback period.
Local financial institutions are heavily involved in this loan program, so if you are interested in applying, a great first step would be to contact your local lender. Your lender will then contact the Nebraska Energy Office, which will then purchase between 50 to 75% of the loan at 0% interest, making the interest you must pay the lender either 5 percent or 2.5 percent, respectively, over the course of 5 to 15 years. After the State Energy Office has approved the loan, you have 5 months to complete any remaining qualifying work, so make sure that you have thoroughly researched the loan terms and your renewable energy project before applying.
|Program Type||Net Metering|
|Technologies||Photovoltaics, Wind, Geothermal Electric, other specified renewable energy sources|
|Amount||Varies by utility company, but usually $0.001 per kW/h|
|Required Documentation||Agreement with your utility provider|
|Official Web Site||http://uniweb.legislature.ne.gov/laws/browse-chapters.php?chapter=70|
While the payoffs may not be great, Nebraska does have a net metering program that will hopefully serve as a springboard toward the proliferation of renewable energy. Any renewable energy system rated at 25 kW or less can qualify, and energy is generally purchased by the utilities companies at the wholesale price of $0.001 per kW/h. However, a cap is set at 1% of the average monthly peak energy demand for a given utility company, so any energy produced from renewable sources after that point will not be paid back.
If you have a solar energy system in place, you get to retain the renewable energy credits that it generates, and credits are carried over onto next month’s energy bill. Unlike some states that only require utilities companies to reimburse customers in the form of credits, Nebraska’s program makes utilities companies offer payouts at the end of the year for any excess credits remaining. This program is certainly a start, but let your legislators know that more favorable payout rates and a higher energy production cap would help solar energy gain even more popularity.
Sales Tax Exemption
State Loan Program
Utility Rebate Program
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Building Energy Code
Solar and Wind Access Law
Related Programs & Initiatives
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) provides a wide range of information and resources to enable the use of alternative fuels and other petroleum-reduction options, such as advanced vehicles, fuel blends, idle reduction and fuel economy. The AFDC site offers a database of state and federal laws and incentives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, air quality, fuel efficiency, and other transportation-related topics.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.