Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Nebraska
As with many states in the US, Nebraska is currently highly dependent on fossil fuels, particularly coal which provides a large proportion of its energy mix. The state is one of 16 who do not have a renewable portfolio standard in place though they do have a number of incentives for taking up green technologies.
Despite having the potential to create a significant amount of electricity from wind power, the state currently only has 294 MW capacity installed, which puts it mid table when it comes to this technology. The two largest wind farms are on Elkhorn Ridge and Loredo Ridge which both produce over 80 MW each. The fact that wind could provide a large number of jobs in the area and that there are some 47,00 farms which could be used for small wind turbine installations, could see the industry develop further in the decades to come.
Biomass has been more successful in the state so far because of the rich natural resources. Since the turn of the century the production of power through biomass has increased considerably and the state now produces over 70 million kWh.
Again, even though the state has huge potential for developing solar PV, this area of renewables has largely been ignored to date. With just 1 MW of total capacity installed and most of that taken up by residential and commercial projects, there is obviously some way to go. There are just 21 solar companies operating in Nebraska employing around 400 people.
Solar PV Incentives in Nebraska
All solar PV installations in Nebraska, as in other states, benefit from the 30% Federal Tax Rebate and there are other incentives available particularly for commercial or industrial installations such as the Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Property. Similar tax incentives are available for community projects, not just for solar but for wind and biomass too. Individual companies have their own rebates for commercial and residential solar including the Lincoln Electric System Renewable Energy Rebate.
Solar PV Case Study in Nebraska
You have the option to buy solar panels outright or enter into a power purchasing or lease agreement depending on your situation. The cost of 5 kW is in the region of $20,000 and with the Federal Tax Rebate and tax credits for the amount of electricity you produce, there are enough incentives available to make a decent return on investment viable. You should expect to break even after 14 years and there is the possibility of making a $15,000 profit over the average 25-year lifespan. There’s also the small matter of increasing the sale value of your home by a similar amount.
Solar Thermal Incentives in Nebraska
Solar thermal heating comes with the same incentives as solar PV and is often cheaper to install. It uses solar heat to provide hot water and central heating and can help cut fuel bills dramatically. For federal and agricultural installations there is the Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Generation Facilities scheme to take advantage of.
Small Hydro Incentives in Nebraska
Small hydroelectric facilities could have a beneficial impact on renewable energy uptake in the state, especially for rural and agricultural areas. While there are tax breaks available there are also low cost loan schemes such as the Dollar and Energy Savings Loans run by the Nebraska energy office. Hydroelectric is also one of the eligible renewable technology for both commercial and personal Renewable Energy Tax Credit rebate schemes.
Geothermal Incentives in Nebraska
Installing technology such as a ground source heat pump can help cut fuel costs if you have the well-insulated build and surrounding acreage to take the array of pipes that need to be buried below ground. Incentives run by the utility companies such as the Lincoln Electric System Sustainable Energy Program are available for both businesses and domestic installations.
Biomass Incentives in Nebraska
Biomass is included in a number of the state incentives available and there is also the Federal Tax Rebate. Installation can also benefit from Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Property that many other states operate. Uptake of biomass boilers and wood chip burners for both residences and business properties are expected to increase in the future.
Wind Power Incentives in Nebraska
Wind installations are included in all the major incentives such as the tax exemption and the Renewable Energy Rebate, as well as the Federal Tax Rebate. It’s estimated that Nebraska has nearly 50,000 farms that could benefit from installing wind turbines and other renewable energy technologies creating added income for farmers while contributing to the energy mix of the state. With so much potential for wind you can expect to see a huge improvement in development over the next couple of decades, providing cleaner power and thousands of jobs in Nebraska.
Like many other states, Nebraska’s commitment to renewable energy has been a little slower than one would hope. There is good potential for both wind and solar PV to develop more, as well as biomass. With no renewable portfolio standard in place it is pretty difficult to hold utility companies to task though outfits such as Lincoln Electric are more proactive than many in the US who don’t have a target to hit.
You can find out more about the renewable technology incentives that Nebraska has to offer on the DSIRE website.