Solar

Customer Owned Solar

While most people know what solar panels are, many aren’t aware of the complexity of setting up a complete solar power system or understanding the actual return on investment.

Contact your local public power utility to discuss the details of any solar project. They can provide an assessment on the proper project size, estimated costs and return on investment, best practices for installation, and how to select a reliable solar developer.

Questions to ask your contractor when purchasing a solar PV system.
  • How many systems have you installed in the area?  (state, county, local)
  • What will the total cost be from start to finish, including design, permits and construction?
  • Who is the panel manufacturer?
  • What is kW (DC) rating per panel?
  • What parts are covered by warranties?
  • What is required of the owner to keep the warranties in force?
  • What actions or inactions will void the warranties?
  • Can the system be modified in the future without affecting the warranties?
  • How much will it cost to temporarily remove the system if roof work is needed in the future?
  • Does the bid include the AC electrical work?
  • Does the system meet the rapid shutdown code requirements, NEC 690.12?
  • Who is the battery manufacturer(if applicable) and what are the model and serial numbers? *
  • What is the battery system kW and usable kWh (if applicable)? *
  • What is the warranty for the battery system? *
  • What is required of the owner to keep the battery warranty? *
  • What actions or inactions will void the battery warranty? *
  • How are the batteries disposed of at the end of their life? *
  • Who will be responsible for getting the necessary permits?
  • Are the permits costs included in the contract price?
  • Are there any applicable state and federal tax credits or other available incentives?
  • What are the expected annual operation and maintenance costs?
  • What is the expected annual and lifetime energy generation based on the home’s orientation, shade, and estimated costs and savings?
  • What portion of my energy consumption will be offset by the generation from the solar PV system?
  • What purchase and financing options are available?

* Suggested if system also involves a battery storage component

For a directory of available solar installers, view Nebraskans for Solar. (Note: we do not endorse any of these providers.)

  • How do I know if my site will work for a PV system?
    Solar designers look for sites that provide an optimal southern orientation, good exposure to the sun and an adequate amount of structural support and space for solar panels to be mounted. The best location for a PV system is on a south-facing roof, but an east- or west-facing roof might also work. Flat roofs provide a base for a variety of solar modules. Locating the PV system on the ground can work with either a fixed-mount or tracking-mount (the PV panels rotate to follow the sun across the sky) system.
  • How do I determine how large a solar system I will need?
    The size of the system is usually directly proportional to the amount of power you use. The general rule is you should try to size your PV system equal to or less than your annual electric energy consumption.
  • What is the simple payback in years?
    Many residential projects have long payback periods of 15-25 years for a 25 year project life.
  • How much weight will a solar system put on a home's roof?
    PV systems typically weigh approximately 3-4 lbs. per sq. ft., and most roofs can accommodate two to three times that amount of weight. A roof’s load capacity is generally taken into account when assessing whether a solar system is appropriate for your home, and in the ultimate design of the system.
  • Does a roof-mounted PV system void my roofer's warranty and/or affect my home insurance policy?
    It depends. Check with your roofer and your insurance agent. It is likely that the cost of your PV system will have an effect on your home insurance rates.
  • Does cleaning the PV panels require any special expertise or equipment?
    A garden hose is typically all that’s needed to clean PV panels.

    Information taken from: Energy and Sun: 2015 Solar Strategy, Report and Recommendations – NPPD; Solaratlas.com; Ambassadorenergy.com; and sunlightenergy.com.

In Nebraska, the state net metering law allows customers the opportunity to sell excess energy their solar power system generates back to the customer's local electric utility. For customers who are considering installation of a solar power system and utilizing net metering, contact your local utility at least sixty days prior to installation and are responsible for all costs associated.

For more information, reference the Interconnection Application for NPPD Approval to Connect Distributed or Local Generation (K450) or contact us at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (275-6773).

Numbered steps showing how solar works
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