Solar energy could help Nebraskans save money

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LINCOLN, Neb. Finding ways to save money at home or on the farm is something consumers are always focusing on.

When it comes to energy, solar power could be a way to cut costs for homes and businesses in Nebraska.

UNL Extension Educator John Hay says the economics of solar power have gotten better in recent years.

“Five to six years ago, the price was almost four times the price of what it is today,” said Hay. “The price has come down so much that the interest in solar power has increased.”

There are also tax credits that go along with installing solar panels to your home or business.

The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The ITC applies to both residential and commercial systems, and there is no cap on its value. After 2019, that percentage will decline, but will still be at least 10 percent beyond 2022.

Solar energy can be used in a wide variety of locations including small communities, rural areas and cities.

“All you need is an open, south facing area and you can make it work,” said Hay.

If you’re interested in switching to solar power, there are some ways to prepare. Hay says it’s a good idea to understand your electric bill. He also says reaching out to a local installer could help you decide if solar power is right for you.

“I just installed a small system with 14 solar modules on my house,” said Hay. “I just got it turned on yesterday so I’m excited.”

If you would like more information on solar energy, you can contact the UNL Extension Office or click here .