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Interim Hearings Focused on Development and Financing for Solar Projects and Improvements to Energy Efficiency for Residential and Commercial Property

on Thursday, 6 October 2016 in Dirt Alert: David C. Levy, Editor

The Nebraska Legislature’s “LR 455 Committee” recently held two interim hearings on the development of solar energy in Nebraska and a newly created program to help businesses and homeowners finance improvements in energy efficiency without any upfront costs.

The LR 455 Committee, co-chaired by Senator Tyson Larson of O’Neill and Senator Ken Haar of Lincoln, heard from representatives from the Nebraska Public Power District, Lincoln Electric System, and several developers on the interest and growth in the development of solar power in Nebraska. A number of communities are developing community-based solar projects. Although not the subject of the hearing, the Nebraska Legislature removed a number of barriers during the 2016 session that historically impeded solar development. In total, experts anticipate a six-fold increase in solar production in Nebraska in 2016.

The committee also heard testimony from federal, state, and local officials and several businesses on the use of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (“PACE”) program and the federal Rural Energy for America Program (“REAP”) to finance improvements in energy efficiency for commercial and residential property owners with little or no up-front cost. The PACE program allows municipalities to finance the installation of energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems following the adoption of implementation ordinances. The Legislature authorized PACE in Nebraska in 2016, and Omaha and Lincoln are currently working on implementation ordinances. REAP provides loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and small rural businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

To learn more about the requirements in developing solar projects in Nebraska and the financing available for solar projects and energy efficiency improvements, contact David Levy or Garner Girthoffer.

Garner R. Girthoffer

1700 Farnam Street | Suite 1500 | Omaha, NE 68102 | 402.344.0500