7 Steps to Solar Panels in Nebraska

Nebraskans who install solar systems save over $22,000 on average over the lifespan of their panels.

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Nebraska is ranked 47th in the U.S. for solar power, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).1 While that doesn’t sound encouraging, Nebraskans who go solar can save about $22,336 on average over the lifespan of their system, which makes the investment in clean energy worth it.

The average cost of solar panels in Nebraska is about $20,800, after considering the solar tax credit. In some cases, certain local Nebraska solar incentives can bring the cost down further.

If you are a Nebraskan curious about going solar, below are the steps involved in the process. We will discuss these in more detail further.

Step 1: What to Consider When Buying Solar Panels

Step 2: Getting a Quote from a Solar Provider 

Step 3: Signing a Solar Contract 

Step 4: What to Expect on Solar Panel Installation Day 

Step 5: Final Inspection for Installed Solar Panels

Step 6: Permission to Operate (PTO) 

Step 7: Sit Back and Enjoy Your Solar Energy 

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GRNE Solar

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


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


  • Limited brands of solar equipment available
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GenPro Energy Solutions

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


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


  • No leases or PPAs
  • Limited warranty coverage
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ADT Solar

Best Warranty Coverage

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Industry-leading warranty coverage
  • Expansive service area


  • Some reported communication issues
  • No leases or PPAs

Step 1: What to Consider When Buying Solar Panels in Nebraska

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

Nebraska doesn’t lay claim to being the sunniest or more solar-friendly state. Add to this the higher-than-average pricing for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and lower-than-average electricity rates, and going solar may not be a great fit for everyone in the state.

However, Nebraskans have a higher energy consumption than the average American — using 1,005 kilowatt-hours (kWh) compared to the average 886 kWh.2 And with projected energy savings of over $20,000, many homeowners find that installing a home solar array is well worth it.

Research If Solar Panels Are a Good Fit For You in Nebraska

When it comes to solar, different homeowners need different types and sizes of solar energy projects based on household energy needs and location. That means there are different variations of prices, equipment and potential savings.

It’s important to understand as many specific factors as possible before converting to solar. This includes researching how many solar panels you need for your home, and if you have a suitable roof type and orientation for a solar energy system.

Looking into the climate where you are will also determine how feasible a PV system is for your home. You might be surprised to learn that Nebraska sees a higher than average amount of sunshine — 223 days per year compared to the U.S. average of 205 days.3 But solar viability will vary based on where you live in the Cornhusker State. For example, Omaha only sees 212 sunny days, while Lincoln sees 216 and Grand Island sees 225.4

Consider Net Metering

You’ll also want to study the available solar policies and incentives in Nebraska, including the state’s net metering policy, any tax rebates, etc. It is also a good idea to study the general pros and cons of solar power.

Nebraska doesn’t have the best net metering structure in the country – the energy supplied by the customer to the grid is credited at an avoided cost rate, which is lower than the retail rate. However, it varies based on your provider.

There may be additional incentives based on your utility provider as well. For example, Lincoln Electric System customers may be eligible for a one-time rebate of $375 x your solar panels kW output for southern-facing roofs. The rebate goes up to $475 x kW output for western-facing or single or dual-axis tracking solar panels.5

Aside from regular net metering, Lincoln Electric System offers virtual net metering to its customers. This program allows customers to buy “virtual” solar panels — an investment representing a portion of the LES community solar facility’s output. You’ll get credits on your electric bills related to the number of virtual panels you invested in and the actual energy production of the solar facility.6

Here is a table that compares the pricing of a Nebraska system with the average system pricing of the U.S., along with a few other indicators.

Nebraska Average U.S. Average
Cost of Solar $2.83/W $2.66/W
Average System Size 10.5 kW 9 kW
Average System Cost $29,715 $23,940
Average System Cost After Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) $20,800 $16,758
Solar Payback Period 16 years 8 years

Research How to Finance Solar Panels

On average, Nebraskans need a larger solar power system, which also costs higher than solar panels in most other states. This makes it important for homeowners to understand the net effect of a solar power system on their finances. Here are a few things to note before going ahead with solar.

How much do solar panels cost in Nebraska?

The average solar panel system in NE is 10.5 kW in size, and costs $29,715 before any incentives. This comes down to $20,800 after the solar investment tax credit is applied. This converts to about $2.83 per watt – significantly higher than the national average of $2.66/W.

How much can I save with solar?

In Nebraska, the average savings from a renewable energy system over its lifespan are $22,336. However, every home is different, which means every system and its cost is different. It makes sense to calculate your savings before making a decision.

How do I finance solar panels?

Purchasing a system in cash can result in maximum savings over its life. However, not all homeowners are comfortable spending thousands of dollars outright. Thankfully, there are several solar financing options that homeowners can explore when buying solar.

  • Cash purchase: Paying in cash demands the highest upfront payment, as you’ll be paying the entire cost at once. However, this option leads to the greatest long-term savings, and not paying interest on a loan means your all-in conversion costs will be as low as possible.
  • Solar loan: A solar loan is a financing option where you pay a small down payment — sometimes none at all — and pay the remaining balance in manageable monthly installments over several years. This option is much more accessible, although the interest adds up over time and pushes up your total conversion cost. Your savings will also be a bit lower because of that higher solar PV system total.
  • Solar lease: A solar lease lets you rent your equipment by paying a monthly rental fee. You get to use the energy the panels generate to offset your electric bills. Leases save you significantly less in the long run because the panels never pay themselves off, but they’re highly accessible and usually come with no upfront payment requirements. Unlike with cash purchases and loans, you cannot take the federal investment tax credit (ITC) if you opt for a lease.
  • Power purchase agreement (PPA): A PPA is an arrangement where you get panels installed at no initial cost, and you see savings over time because you buy the energy they generate at a reduced rate. PPAs are the least beneficial option because they don’t let you take the ITC, they never pay themselves off and your savings can fluctuate based on local electricity rates. However, some residents find that utilizing a PPA is the only way they can enjoy the benefits of solar energy.

The Nebraska Dollar and Energy Savings Loan is a state-mandated financing program that offers low-interest loans for solar power systems. Commercial customers in the state can also benefit from PACE financing, which offers affordable loans that can be repaid through property tax payments.

If you find that solar panels aren’t financially feasible for your home, you can still take advantage of renewable energy through Nebraska Public Power District’s SunWise community solar programs.7

Are there any tax exemptions or other incentives for solar?

Unfortunately, Nebraska does not have a large number of state-based solar incentives. However, solar panel buyers can still greatly benefit from the following national and state solar incentives in NE:

Payback period or ROI for solar?

The payback period on a solar power system is an excellent indicator of how good of an investment it is. In Nebraska, the average payback period is around 16 years.This is significantly higher than the national average of 8 to 11 years. However, even with a 16-year payback period, customers can save tens of thousands over their system’s life.

Step 2: Getting a Quote from a Solar Provider

After considering all the factors, if you decide that converting to solar power is a good decision for your home, the next step is to find the best solar company to serve you by collecting multiple solar proposals and free quotes.

Picking a Solar Installer

According to the SEIA, there are about 27 solar companies in Nebraska.8 This may not sound like a big number, but it includes some of the best companies in the country. Homeowners should spend some time researching the best solar installers in Nebraska, and even those in the U.S. that serve the Cornhusker State.

Large, national companies are often more reliable when buying solar. However, local installers are more likely to accommodate special requests. In many cases, smaller companies are also more responsive when it comes to service needs.

What to Expect After Requesting a Quote

Once you have a list of the companies you prefer, the next step is to reach out and request a quote from each of them. Getting multiple quotes is especially important when buying solar panels since it allows you to compare the pricing, warranties and other factors of multiple companies. Thankfully, most companies offer a no-obligation, free solar quote.

When you request a quote, the installer will set up an initial consultation on phone or in person. They will request a few details such as your address, energy bills, roof details, etc. At this point, you can ask any questions you have, such as the offered solar panel brands, system features, etc.

Consider Purchasing Solar Accessories

Solar projects are highly customizable, allowing you to add multiple accessories. It is wise to explore solar accessories when buying your system. This can get you a better “bundled price” on your system and the accessories together.

Below is a list of some of the more popular add-on options that Nebraskans choose that you might want to consider:

  • Solar batteries: Solar batteries store excess energy for off-grid use. They can provide power through blackouts and give you access to effective retail-rate net energy metering.
  • Electric vehicle (EV) chargers: EVs haven’t quite taken off in Nebraska, but if you’re looking to clean up all of your energy sources, installing at-home chargers is a good way to legitimize buying an EV and saving money on gas.
  • Energy-efficient home improvements: Solar providers often couple panel installation with other home improvements to boost energy efficiency, offering services like solar water heaters, door and window replacement and more.

The best example is a solar battery, which is of great value if you do not have net metering or are off the grid. Other great examples are EV chargers and solar carports, which can help make your transportation virtually free of cost.

Step 3: Signing a Solar Contract in Nebraska

After comparing multiple quotes, it is time to finalize an installer and sign a purchase agreement with them. Make sure to read the contract carefully, seeking help from a legal expert if needed.

How Do Solar Warranties Work in Nebraska?

Solar warranties are an extremely important factor to consider when choosing an installer since your system is supposed to generate satisfactory levels of power for decades to come. In Nebraska, like most other places in the U.S., there are three main types of warranties offered by any solar company:

  • Equipment warranty: This is the warranty that comes with the components of the system, and is offered by the original manufacturer. Solar panels can come with 10-30 year warranties based on brand and model, while batteries and inverters generally come with 10-15 year warranties.
  • Workmanship warranty: This warranty is provided by the system installer, and it protects the system against any faulty installation. Most installers offer a 10-year warranty with their system. However, some can also offer up to a 25-year term.
  • Performance guarantee: Not exactly a warranty, the performance guarantee promises that your system won’t degrade too fast. Most solar panels come with performance guarantees that promise at least 80-85% of their rated output toward their life’s end.

When choosing a solar company, make sure you get the longest warranties for the best pricing.

When Can I Expect Solar Service to go live?

Installing a solar panel system involves numerous steps aside from the actual installation of panels. The entire process from signing a contract to switching on your system can take up to four months. However, some installers can be a lot quicker, finishing the process in a month or two.

Solar Panel Permits in Nebraska

Solar power systems are large, complicated structures that sit on your roof and connect with your local grid. This makes their safety parameters important, so all counties in Nebraska require certain permits before you can install a system. This involves building permits as well as electrical ones.

Your solar installer will usually handle the permitting process for you. While there are additional costs in applying for the permits, all installers include the cost in the original quote.

Solar & Utility Interconnection

To use both solar power and grid power flexibly, you need to interconnect your system to your local utility grid. Every utility company in Nebraska requires solar customers to submit an interconnection request before installing their system.

This step adds some time to the overall system installation timeline. However, it is important to be eligible for net metering benefits and even save on battery costs.

Step 4: What to Expect on Solar Panel Installation Day in Nebraska

Once you have received all the necessary permits for your system, it is time for the most important step – the installation. Your installer will schedule an installation day with you when the installation crew will arrive with all the equipment and tools.

Many customers wonder if they need to be home during solar installation. We definitely recommend being there so you can get a full understanding of your solar system’s construction and functioning. Also, technicians may need access to your electrical panel inside your home.

Step 5: Final Inspection for Installed Solar Panels in Nebraska

After the system is installed, there is one final step before your solar panels start sending power to your home. The final inspection is meant to confirm that your system is safe to use for your family and any grid technicians working near your home.

The inspection is performed by your utility company and/or your city office. It will last for an hour or two, during which the inspecting executive will ensure that the system follows all the specified safety norms.

Step 6: Permission to Operate (PTO) in Nebraska 

If the final inspection does not reveal any issues, your utility company will grant you the Permission to Operate (PTO). At this stage, your system is finally ready to start functioning, and you can switch on the system.

Your installer should guide you on how to switch the system on. They should also inform you of any monitoring capabilities of your system, and how you can check the production in real-time and even manage the system.

Step 7: Sit Back and Enjoy Your Solar Energy in Nebraska

Once you flip on the breaker switch to your system, all the hard work on your end is over. It is now your system’s turn to work tirelessly for up to three decades and reduce your electric bills.

Besides saving you thousands of dollars, your system also helps save the planet by offsetting significant amounts of carbon emissions. That’s not all, your system will also increase the value of your home – a complete win-win.

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.

FAQ: Solar Panels in Nebraska

Blog author image
Article author
Aniket Bhor is a solar engineer who has spent nearly a decade studying and working in the solar power sector in the European, Asian and North American markets. He recieved his Master’s degree in Renewable Energies from Germany at Technische Fachhochschule Wildau. He has since worked in the industry in a variety of capacities including Solar Energy Consultant, Business Development Head, Solar Entrepreneurship Trainer, and more recently writing for solar organizations including Venuiti Solutions, Green Integrations, Solengy, Ecotality.com. Overall, he is a climate enthusiast and avid cyclist, and he also loves to lose himself in books and cooking.
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Expert reviewer
Kristina Zagame is a journalist, editor and content writer with expertise in solar and other energy-related topics. Before joining EcoWatch, Kristina was a TV news reporter and producer, covering a wide variety of topics including West Coast wildfires and hurricane relief efforts. Kristina’s reporting has taken her all over the U.S., as well as to Puerto Rico and Chile.

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    • Representatives are experts on local policies
    • Comprehensive service offerings
    • Excellent reputation
    • Limited brands of solar equipment available
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