Kearney Community Solar Q&A

Q: Where will the solar power come from?

A: NPPD community solar projects will be generated by solar power systems located in participating retail communities.

Q: How can I participate?

A: NPPD customers in Kearney can purchase solar energy shares in increments of 150 kilowatt-hours a month up to 80 percent of their annual energy consumption. An average NPPD residential customer uses about 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month. In this example, a customer would be eligible to purchase up to five solar shares representing 750 kilowatt-hours a month. Customers can sign up for solar shares by going to sunwise.nppd.com or calling NPPD at 1-877-275-6773.

Q: Is there an enrollment fee?

A: NPPD requires customers who purchase solar shares to pay a one-time $50 enrollment fee. This money is used to defray program setup costs. NPPD will return the $50 fee to participants through a bill credit after three consecutive years in the program.

Q: How long of a commitment do I need to make?

A: Customers may purchase solar shares for the life of the individual project (typically 20 years), but can opt out after one month.

Q: What is the penalty for early drop-out?

A: Those who drop out prior to participating for three consecutive years in the program must forfeit their $50 enrollment fee.

Q: If I purchase Community Solar shares, will I still get energy from NPPD when the sun is not shining?

A: Yes. Community Solar replaces only some of the energy (up to 80 percent) you currently receive from NPPD. Electricity generated from other NPPD sources such as coal, nuclear, natural gas and wind will still be delivered to your home or business.

Q: Do I need to worry about a power outage should the solar farm stop working or doesn’t produce electricity?

A: No. NPPD will continue to deliver electricity to your home or business with other generation sources, as it does today.

Q: Does participation require me to rewire or do anything different at home or work to receive the solar energy?

A: No. You decide how little or how much of your energy you replace with solar. The solar energy comes to your home through the same NPPD power lines and requires no special equipment or wiring.

Q: What if I subscribe to the program and then move?

A: If you move within the same city, your solar shares are portable. If you move out of the city, your solar purchase will be canceled. If you move to another NPPD retail community with a community solar project, you can re-join the program if shares are available, but they may be at a different price. Shares are non-transferrable.

Q: Will participating in this program cost me more?

A: Yes, at this time, the cost of participating in a community solar program will be more than what you currently pay NPPD for electricity. However, it is possible the solar energy rate could become lower than NPPD’s base energy credit over time, and the solar participant would then pay less than a non-solar subscriber.

Q: How much more will it cost me to participate?

A: NPPD is still negotiating a price with the solar developer. However, one solar share is expected to cost a solar participant $0.81 more a month on their electric bill.

Q: How many homes will the solar facility serve?

A: Generating at full capacity, the facility is capable of serving approximately 5 percent of Kearney’s peak electric load, or approximately 900 homes.

Q: What are the advantages of community solar versus rooftop solar?

A: Community solar is a good alternative to rooftop solar because it eliminates a customer’s initial expense of solar panel installation. Installation costs are typically in the tens of thousands of dollars. Community solar does not require a customer to acquire permits and insurance or pay more in property taxes or ongoing maintenance expenses. It also allows customers such as renters or others who do not own their home, or whose home does not face in a direction to get good sunlight, an opportunity to participate in a renewable energy project.

Q: By how much does my solar purchase lower carbon emissions?

A: Electricity produced from one solar share over 12 months is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by 1,396 pounds annually.