Despite being the 14th sunniest state, Nebraska ranks 47th in installed solar capacity, with enough solar to power 7,100 homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). However, the state has seen a rise in home solar installations, doubling between 2020 and 2021. Additionally, Nebraska cost of going solar has decreased by over 50% in the last decade.
In Nebraska, net metering is a program that enables solar panels and other renewable energy generators to connect to a public utility. It allows customers to offset the cost of power they consume from the utility by earning credits from their production. Any excess electricity your system produces is sold back to the grid, and you receive credit on your power bill. However, Nebraska version of net metering only partially adheres to the traditional definition. Instead, monthly surplus energy production (known as "net excess generation" or NEG) is credited to your next bill at a rate set by the utility. Nebraska offers net metering to all solar systems up to 25 kW capacity. It works on a first-come, first-served basis until the net-metered systems reach 1% of the utility's peak electricity demand from the previous year.
Unfortunately, there's no state solar rebate in Nebraska. But, Lincoln Electric Systems utility customers may be eligible for several thousand dollars in rebates. This one-time capacity payment applies to customers who use a solar installer from Lincoln Electric System's (LES) Solar Trade Ally Network as solar incentives. The rebate for solar energy systems in Nebraska depends on the size and placement of the system. The Lincoln Electric System (LES) recommends a rebate of $375 per kW of capacity for south-facing panels. West-facing or tracking panels could be eligible for up to $475 per kW installed.
Nebraska has this, too, as part of its solar incentives. The idea behind states offering this credit is that you can lower the state taxes you owe by deducting all or part of the cost of a solar system. Unfortunately, the average property owner installing solar in Nebraska is not eligible for a state sales tax exemption.
The Nebraska Dollar and Energy Savings Loan program offers low-interest loans for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy projects. Solar projects can have an interest rate as low as 3.5% and a loan term of up to 10 years.
Unfortunately, no property tax exemption exists for homeowners who install solar panels in Nebraska. However, homeowners who join solar community projects can indirectly benefit from an exemption provided to systems with a capacity of over 100 kW under Nebraska solar incentives program.
The Federal Tax Credit in Nebraska for solar energy equals 26% of the solar panel system cost, and you can deduct it from your federal income tax. The credit is given to the system owner, so you get it if you pay for it with cash or a loan. But if you lease the system, the incentives go to the third-party owner. If you install the system before 2032, you can enjoy a 30% federal tax credit for the system's entire cost, including equipment, labor, and permitting. For example, if your solar system costs $20,000, you can get a federal solar tax credit of $6,000.
The state of Nebraska may not be the best place in the U.S. to install solar, given the low cost of electricity. However, property owners who want energy independence and cut carbon footprint can take advantage of some solar incentives in Cornhusker State.
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