Solar can serve communities

As renewable energy development continues to surge across the nation, states like Nebraska are building more local renewable energy to meet consumer needs. Nebraska has significant renewable energy resources, ranking 13th for solar energy potential, but still relies heavily on fossil fuels like coal to generate our power. While we continue to import coal from other states, residents are missing out on the opportunity to develop energy locally.

Developing local renewable energy can help save consumers money, and keep energy dollars in our state. A 5 kW rooftop solar system could save the average household $683 per year on their energy bills. As of 2015, Nebraska’s solar industry has already supported 776 jobs, including installation, manufacturing, distribution and development of projects and parts.

One way of ensuring that more Nebraskans have the ability to invest in solar is to clear the way for shared community solar projects. These projects allow members to buy in, receiving credit for part of the output on their electric bills. State residents have already seen several projects spring up recently, and a legislative bill would allow customers to request their local utilities create these programs.

LB 626, which is currently under consideration, would help open up solar investment to more Nebraskans. To fully embrace this opportunity, we must allow consumers and communities to work hand-in-hand with their utilities, identifying projects that will best serve them.

To learn more about LB 626, contact Lu Nelsen at 402-687-2100 or lucasn@cfra.org.