New resource assists homeowners with solar energy decisions

Environment

Residential solar energy is booming. The Omaha Public Power District saw a 900% increase in applications for connecting residential and commercial solar systems over the past year. The dramatic increase is partially due to the cost of solar panels becoming more affordable. 

Over the last decade, the cost of residential solar systems has dropped 64% according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The Inflation Reduction Act, which extends the Investment Tax Credit for another 10 years and increases the tax refund from 26% to 30% of the costs of the solar installation, is expected to cause solar costs to fall even more. 

When deciding whether to install solar panels, home and business owners should consider their average monthly electricity usage, the amount of sunlight the structure’s roof receives, and whether there is a local net-metering policy. All of these factors determine the amount of time it will take to see a payback on the investment.

While solar installation companies can assist with this process, with the increase in demand, there has also come an increase in companies looking to make a quick buck. Often, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Therefore, it is important for home and business owners to do their research. 

The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) recently released a new tool—the Solar Trade Ally Network—to help customers identify legitimate solar installers. The network lists companies that have completed NPPD’s training and signed an agreement with the utility to communicate solar information accurately. 

It’s also a good practice to request local references to learn about their experience. 

Now is a great time to consider investing in solar energy. Taking the time to research solar installation companies lays the groundwork for a successful experience.

Live outside of Nebraska? Click here to read about the Solar Energy Industries Association Residential Guide to Solar Power.