How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Going Solar in Omaha, NE
Unfortunately, Nebraska is one of the few states in the U.S. that does not have a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). An RPS is a state mandate to ensure that a certain percentage of the state’s energy comes from renewable resources by a fixed date in the future. Having an RPS really spurs solar adoption because it encourages legislators to create solar-friendly policies and utilities to create financial incentives for its customers to adopt solar, making the switch to solar easy and budget-friendly.
Energy is also fairly inexpensive in Nebraska, creating no great urgency to convert to solar. Nebraskans pays a little more than 11 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity. That’s just a bit lower than the national average of 13 cents. While it’s nice to have affordable utility bills, part of the reason the energy is so cheap is because it’s coming from fossil fuels that take a big toll on the environment. Even if environmental sustainability isn’t a priority for you now, you may want to think about investing in solar as fossil fuel based energy will continue to increase in price as new regulations are placed on carbon emissions and decreasing supplies drive up the cost. Adopt solar now and you’ll be way ahead of the game.
Benefits to Making the Switch to Solar
With 214 sunny days, Omaha is well suited to support a solar electric system. The amount of money that you can save each month depends on the two things: your monthly energy usage and the size of your system. Most conservative estimates indicate that homeowners can save up to 50% on their monthly utility bills by adopting solar. Those savings add up, and in a state like Nebraska that doesn’t currently have a lot of incentives or rebates to bring down your initial investment cost, you’re looking at about 13 years before your system has paid for itself. That may seem like a long time, but it’s actually not too long to see the return on your investment when you consider the longevity of solar power systems. Even solar power systems that are 30 years old typically operate at 80% of their original capacity.
Integrating solar technology into your home can also increase your home value. Generally, for every $1 in energy savings you experience, you can expect a $20 increase in your home value. Additionally, studies show that prospective homebuyers are willing to pay a premium for homes with energy efficient features—making your home stand out in a crowded housing market. Additionally, millennials are just now beginning to enter the housing market and they consistently rank environmental sustainability as a top feature that they look for in a home. The only downside to all of this is that unlike most states, Nebraska doesn’t offer a property tax exemption for any value your solar power system adds to your home, so you may be looking at a slightly larger property tax bill.
Will a Solar Power System Stand up to the Weather in Omaha?
Absolutely. Omaha averages 29 inches of rain each year, but your solar system will still work in the rain as UV rays are able to reach your panels. Additionally, because most solar installations are installed at a slant, your panels will get a good cleaning when the rainwater runs down them, making it easier for them to absorb the sun’s rays. In terms of snow, Omaha’s 22 inches of snow each year shouldn’t present a large problem for your solar panels. Like rain, as snow melts, it will help clean your panels and light snowfall can actually help your system work at peak capacity because the bright, white snow reflects the sun’s rays so well.
If snow is heavy (completing covering your panels) and you don’t expect it to melt soon, you’ll probably want to remove it with a roof rake. This will get your system working at capacity again and also relieve any pressure that the weight of heavy snow or ice may place on your panels. Omaha has 102 partly-cloudy days, but even a long series of somewhat dreary weather will only diminish your system’s collection abilities by 5-10%. Plus, it’s important to remember that you’ll be generating so much net energy during Omaha’s 214 sunny days that you’ll always have reserves for inclement weather.
Are There Financial Incentives to Adopt Solar in Omaha?
Yes. At the federal level, there is a 30 percent tax credit for taxpayers who invest in solar technology for their home. There is no cap on the amount of the credit–aside from the price of the system. The credit is applied toward your tax liability. If the credit exceeds your tax liability for the year your solar power system is installed, you can carry the credit over to the next year. This credit has recently been extended through December 31, 2019. After 2019, the credit will still exist, but it will decrease incrementally with each passing year.