Nebraska Solar Panel Buyers Guide [Installation & Efficiency 2022]

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide to Nebraska solar panels:

  • How to begin the process of going solar in NE
  • How the local sun availability affects your expected energy production
  • The history of solar policy and current incentives available in NE
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How to Get Solar Panels in Nebraska

If you’re ready to begin the process of going solar in Nebraska, you can start by choosing a solar installer and requesting a free quote. A representative should inspect the exterior of your home for roof size and shading, as well as review your recent electric bills to check your energy needs. Your solar power system will be designed accordingly.

Next, you’ll get your financing options squared away. You can typically choose from a cash purchase, a loan, a lease or a power purchase agreement (PPA). After that, your installer will get building permits approved before the installation is completed. Finally, your system will be turned on, and a final inspection will close out the permits.

There are many benefits to going solar in NE, including a reduced carbon footprint and less reliance on fossil fuels. Most importantly for many solar customers, the typical system in NE pays for itself and then saves an additional $13,421, on average, on your electric bills.

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GRNE Solar

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Comprehensive service offerings
  • Excellent reputation

Cons

  • Limited brands of solar equipment available
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GenPro Energy Solutions

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • NABCEP-certified technicians
  • Competitive pricing
  • Multitude of products and services

Cons

  • No leases or PPAs
  • Limited warranty coverage
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ADT Solar

Best Warranty Coverage

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Industry-leading warranty coverage
  • Expansive service area

Cons

  • Some reported communication issues
  • No leases or PPAs
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What Is the Price of Solar Panel Installation in Nebraska?

Unfortunately, solar equipment in NE is a bit more expensive than the national average. Panels usually go for around $2.83 per watt, compared to the typical $2.66 across the U.S. NE residents often need a 10.5 kilowatt (kW) system to offset energy bills, which totals approximately $20,800 after the federal tax credit is taken into account.

A good metric to use to see how valuable solar equipment is in a given area is what’s known as the panel payback period. This takes electricity cost, energy consumption, and average system costs into consideration to estimate how long it takes for your energy savings to pay for your system. In NE, it’s around 14 years, which is two years above the average for the U.S.

For more information on the payback period or solar cost estimates in your area, you can check out our pricing guide for photovoltaic equipment in NE.

The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Nebraska

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports that NE is ranked 47th in the country for solar adoption. However, the local solar industry is still quite healthy, and most of the larger panel manufacturers still provide products throughout Cornhusker State.

Since NE receives plenty of sun but also its fair share of extreme weather — namely tornadoes, as it’s located in Tornado Alley — residents usually prioritize panel warranties over high-efficiency ratings. Photovoltaic (PV) equipment with lengthy protection agreements provides peace of mind through extreme weather events.

Below are some of the more popular panel brands in NE. These all include excellent warranty coverage that keeps your panels protected from damage, manufacturer defects, and more.

  • Maxeon (previously called SunPower)
  • Tesla
  • Panasonic
  • LG (being discontinued soon)
  • REC
  • Canadian Solar
  • Qcells
  • Trina Solar
  • Mission Solar
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Is Nebraska a Good State for Solar Panels?

Although solar isn’t terribly popular in NE, it’s still quite beneficial for residents to make the switch to clean energy. There are a few factors at play that push the value of solar PV equipment up in the area. These include:

  • Abundant sunshine: Since PV panels only generate electricity — and, therefore, save you money — when the sun is shining, it stands to reason that areas with higher rates of sunshine will see a higher return on solar investment. NE residents enjoy around 223 sunny days annually, which is well above the U.S. average of 205.1 With more sun available, panels can generate more energy and offset more of Nebraskans’ electric bills.
  • High risk of power outages: NE is in Tornado Alley and experiences tornadoes and severe thunderstorms regularly.2 These weather events put homes at risk of power outages. If you have just solar panels installed, they will not provide electricity through blackouts for safety reasons. However, if you install solar batteries alongside your panels and inverters, then you can effectively go off-grid and maintain electricity in all conditions. This makes solar energy storage solutions highly valuable in NE.
  • Above-average energy needs: NE homeowners enjoy below-average electricity rates per kilowatt-hour (kWh), but they also use more energy than most U.S. residents and have higher utility bills as a result.3 Solar equipment is more valuable where energy consumption is higher because there’s more money each month to offset and save.

How Much Energy Can I Get From Solar Panels in Nebraska?

When you go solar, your installer will size your solar energy system to suit your roof size and energy needs. Understanding how much electricity your panels will produce would theoretically let you come up with an average installation cost before reaching out to any providers.

Unfortunately, it’s challenging to estimate what your panels will produce because there are several factors that complicate the calculation among home solar panel systems based on local conditions. We’ll discuss these factors below.

  • The intensity of the sun: More intense and direct sunlight will usually yield higher levels of energy production from your panels. Since south-facing roofs are angled toward the path of the sun in the sky in North America, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) notes that these roofs are the best for solar panel installation.4 The orientation of your home can play a significant role in the intensity and amount of sun your panels receive, which affects production and savings.
  • The amount of sunlight your panels receive: Shading on your roof is also a major factor in estimating electricity generation. Anything that interrupts the sunlight hitting your roof — like tree coverage, buildings, utility poles, and electrical lines — and casts shadows on your panels will cause a drop in your production.
  • The number of panels you have: The number of panels you install on your roof will usually be the most significant factor that affects production. Having more panels means more sunlight will be collected and a higher overall rate of production. Each kilowatt (kW) of solar equipment you install should theoretically bump up your monthly production by around 100 kWh. However, adding panels to your solar array will naturally drive up your up-front costs.
  • The type of panels you have: Each panel brand comes with a different efficiency rating. This specification tells you what percentage of the sunlight that hits your panels can be used to produce energy. The higher your energy efficiency, the more energy your system will generate.
  • The weather: Finally, cloud coverage can cause significant drops in production, sometimes up to around 90%. Weather conditions should be considered when your installer sizes your system, but it’s still something to keep in mind as you move forward.

Cloud coverage impedes sunlight and drops the production of solar panels in Nebraska. Credit: eberhard grossgasteiger / Unsplash

Alt text: Cloud coverage impedes sunlight and drops production

Below, we’ll include estimates for daily, monthly and annual energy production based on common solar system sizes in NE. Keep in mind that these are just rough estimates, and your production can vary quite a lot based on the factors discussed above.

Solar Power System Size Expected Daily Energy Produced Expected Monthly Energy Produced Expected Annual Energy Produced
8 kW 26.6 kWh 800 kWh 9,600 kWh
9 kW 30 kWh 900 kWh 10,800 kWh
10 kW 33.3 kWh 1,000 kWh 12,000 kWh
11 kW 36.6 kWh 1,100 kWh 13,200 kWh
12 kW 40 kWh 1,200 kWh 14,400 kWh
13 kW 43.3 kWh 1,300 kWh 15,600 kWh
14 kW 46.6 kWh 1,400 kWh 16,800 kWh

If you need a more personalized estimate, you can use our solar calculator. This tool uses hyper-local data for your specific property to estimate how much energy panels on your roof will produce.

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Solar Panel Policy History in Nebraska

Nebraska might not be the most solar-friendly state in the nation, but the Cornhusker State has made efforts to make solar energy more appealing.

Pro-solar legislation in Nebraska began in 2007, decades after many other states. It was this year that NE began the sales and use tax exemption for community renewable energy projects.

This policy waived sales tax on equipment for large-scale community solar projects, which drastically reduced the up-front costs and made community solar a great option in NE.

Community solar farm producing large-scale power
Credit: American Public Power Association / Unsplash

Two years later, in 2009, Nebraska began one of the most crucial solar incentive programs: net metering.

This program is hugely beneficial to solar customers, as it helps bump up long-term savings and reduce the payback period for solar equipment. Unfortunately, NE has yet to set a mandatory net metering rate, so most local utility companies use a less beneficial avoided-cost rate. This is still positive for residents.

A few years later, in 2011, NE began offering property tax exemption for renewable energy generation facilities. Normally, installing PV systems boosts your home value, which would, in theory, increase your property taxes as well.

The property tax exemption prevents that from happening, which means you stand to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on property taxes after going solar.

In 2013, the state started offering the sales and use tax exemption for solar manufacturers in addition to those that were contributing to large-scale community solar projects. This doesn’t directly affect customers in the area, but it does help drive down the cost of panels.

Finally, in 2016, NE passed legislation that made Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing available. PACE financing provides affordable financing options to solar customers. Low-interest rates and long loan terms help make solar more accessible.

Nebraska has yet to set a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal. These goals help establish the adoption of renewable energy and usually bring about additional policies and programs to help customers save money. Once NE does set an RPS goal, the likelihood is that the pro-solar legislation will become more robust.

What Are the Solar Panel Incentives in Nebraska?

Still, the policies in NE set in the 2000s and 2010s have helped establish quite a few solar benefit programs for residents to take advantage of. We’ll briefly discuss available programs below.

  • Federal solar investment tax credit (ITC): The federal solar tax credit is available to all NE residents. It’s for 30% of your total system price — including panels, inverters, batteries, and electric vehicle (EV) chargers — which averages around $8,900 in Nebraska. This is not a rebate. Instead, the amount gets credited to your income tax to help bring down the long-term cost of panels.
  • PACE financing: As mentioned above, this is a financing program that helps keep up-front and long-term costs down for solar equipment. It includes low- and no-money-down options, as well as capped interest rates.
  • Net metering program: This solar program lets you generate more energy than you need with your panels and earn credits for all excess energy you push to the electric grid through interconnection. Those credits can then be put toward future utility bills. This helps maximize your long-term savings and decrease your panel payback period.
  • Property tax exemption: Solar equipment increases your property value by around 4.1%.5 Normally, a bump in your assessed value means a bump in your taxes as well. This exemption excludes the value of your solar equipment when considering your assessed value, which means your taxes won’t increase as a result of solar equipment.

For more information on solar perks in your area and how you can take advantage of them, you can check out our guide to solar benefit programs in NE.

Find a Local Installer in Nebraska

Choosing an installer to tackle your solar project is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll have to make. The company you choose will affect your system costs, the length of the warranty you receive, and more.

To help you find the best company possible, we’ll include links below to our reviews of the top solar providers in major cities in NE.

Aerial view over Bellevue, NE
Credit: Ken Lund / Flickr

Best Solar Providers in Bellevue

Location of Grand Island in NE
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Grand Island

Skyline of downtown Lincoln, NE
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Lincoln

Street view of Fremont, NE
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Fremont

Archway over I-80 in Kearney, NE
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Kearney

Aerial view of Omaha, NE
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Omaha

If you need additional recommendations or are looking for regional and national companies that serve other cities in the area, you can check out our guide to choosing a solar company in NE.

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Dan Simms
Article author
Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.

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