COLUMBUS, Neb. — Consumers today are showing more interest in becoming “green” and using solar energy to generate electricity for their home or business. Oftentimes, this can be a complex process that includes solar developers, electricians, and your local utility to pinpoint needs surrounding project financing and return on investment, construction, electric requirements and building and zoning codes.
How does one pull this information together with little knowledge of the industry, all while decoding considerations like net metering, inverters, rooftop versus ground units, and safety? Renewable energy consultants with Nebraska Public Power District can help solar enthusiasts through this maze to avoid any roadblocks and pitfalls along the way.
“NPPD’s renewable energy consultants are available to discuss the details of a consumer’s solar project, including a rooftop assessment, proper project size, estimated costs and return on investment time frames, best practices for installation, and how to select a reliable solar developer,” said NPPD Renewable Energy Consultant Ron Rose. “We will also discuss the full financial impacts of the project, including homeowner’s insurance.”
In turn, NPPD has many tools consumers may use when first exploring a self-owned solar project. NPPD’s public powered solar calculator (https://publicpowered.wattplan.com/pv/ ) will assist consumers in finding their personal project estimate, comparing options and making an informed decision.
When working with a solar developer, NPPD always urges consumers to obtain more than one project bid, and ensure the developer is meeting all building codes and taking appropriate safety precautions. Consumers are advised to complete energy efficiency projects prior to installing solar, as these types of improvements can help to obtain additional, recurring energy savings. This includes sealing air leaks, ensuring proper ventilation and insulation, and upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, electronics, and appliances to ENERGY STAR-rated versions.
For those unable to participate in a self-owned project, NPPD suggests investing in a local SunWiseSM Community Solar project. To be eligible, the participant must be a resident of the community where a project is in operation, which currently includes Venango, Scottsbluff, and Kearney. Future projects are planned for Norfolk, Ainsworth, York and Ogallala.
“NPPD fully supports the growth of solar in the state,” said Rose. “As a public power utility, we are focused solely on our customers. No matter what type of solar project is chosen, we want to ensure it is met with success and completed correctly and safely.”
Consumers interested in speaking to an NPPD renewable energy consultant may call NPPD’s Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD during normal business hours Monday through Friday.
Visit www.nppd.com/powering-nebraska/solar for a wide array of solar resources, including frequently asked questions, information on both consumer-owned and community solar, and questions to ask a solar developer, as well as renewable rate plans, should consumers choose the self-owned approach.