Category Archives: Solar Energy Education

Nebraskans for Solar’s November Event: Second Solar Group Buy Meeting

November 8, 2017
UNO Community Engagement Center
Combined Rooms 201 & 205

Co-Sponsored by Green Bellevue

Program Facilitators: NFS Board Members Helen and Ken Deffenbacher
Green Bellevue President Don Preister

6:45 pm: Come a little early to talk with the experts.
7:00 pm: Two panel presentations, each followed by a Q&A.
Each panelist will present a “5-Minutes-Or-Fewer” Talk.

First Panel: Energy Efficiency experts will discuss the steps they have taken to make their own homes more efficient, plus additional ways homeowners and businesses can save energy and money. Making a home or business more energy efficient will reduce the size solar array required to meet its electricity needs.

  • David Holtzclaw, Transduction Technologies
  • Jon Traudt, Health and Energy Company
  • Leon Komar, Lifetime Home Services
  • Mark Lostcutoff, O-HEAT: Omaha Heat Energy Analysis and Testing

Second Panel: Solar Energy Experts will present information on purchasing and installing a solar PV system. Included in the discussion will be a demonstration of the ConnectDER, available incentives, financing, the inspection process required by OPPD, the permit and other details.

  • David Holtzclaw, Transduction Technologies
  • Graham Christensen, GC ReVOLT
  • Jeff Berggren, GenPro Energy Solutions
  • Michael Shonka, Solar Heat & Electric

If you attended the first Solar Group Buy meeting on October 11th, please bring your information packets, as these have handouts with information you may want to ask the solar panelists about, and the following (optional) items:

  • Photo of your roof or other proposed solar installation site if you are going solar.
  • Photo of your project if you’ve installed a solar system since our October meeting.
  • OPPD bills for your personal reference to monthly kilowatt-hours (kWh) usage.


New connection technology is cutting cost of solar installation, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Please join us and contribute to the discussion! Refreshments will be served. Information packets will be available to those who were unable to attend the October 11th meeting, for as long as quantities last.

Arrive before 7 pm if possible: Reserved parking is available for Nebraskans for Solar guests in Lot E in front of the Community Engagement Center. Visitors should enter through the parking booth, which is staffed by an attendant until 7pm. Let the attendant know you are there for the Nebraskans for Solar event. If Lot E has reached capacity, he or she will give you a permit to park in an adjacent lot. After 7 p.m. parking is available in all UNO lots, including the library’s lot next to the CEC.

Is Your Home Solar-Ready?

By Mike Watkins, Omaha World-Herald

That’s the main question David Holtzclaw of Transduction Technologies will be asking visitors October 28 at his exhibit during the Smart Energy Talk Conference at the UNO Milo Bail Student Activity Center.

“It’s important to walk them through the steps before they get serious about buying solar panels for their homes,” he said. “They need to make sure their houses are ready before taking this expensive but valuable step toward total home energy efficiency.”

Click here to continue reading.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports Magazine

FREE Smart Energy Talks & Green Home Tour Coming Up Soon!

Green Omaha Coalition (GOC) and Omaha World-Herald have collaborated over the past several weeks to put together an outstanding educational opportunity you won’t want to miss! The Smart Energy Talks and the Green Home Tour are annual events geared toward promoting energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly practices for homeowners. New this year: Attendees can take a virtual Green Home Tour of local solar installations.

Panel discussions will focus on the importance of renewable energy in our communities and the challenges and benefits of electric vehicles on the grid. Exhibitors will be available from 10am to 2pm. These experts will explain the basics of solar technology and answer questions about preparing your home for solar, costs and savings involved, battery storage, types of solar energy systems, and how to get started.

The event is free and open to the public!
For more information, visit “Events” at Green Omaha Coalition and Omaha World-Herald.

Smart Energy event will focus on ‘changing times,’ electric vehicles and renewable energy

 By Elizabeth Rembert, Omaha World-Herald

The event comes as the area faces an imminent transition. We want to give people the security in knowing that Nebraska is a leader in modern energy. And that by seeing that leadership, people can feel supported in their own renewable energy decisions. We’re all moving in the right direction.  

– Anne McCollister, Executive Director of the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance

Read the entire article here to learn more about Smart Energy Talks. A Virtual Solar Tour of local installations in the greater Omaha area also will be a part of the event.

Photo: Electric vehicle event in Central City, Nebraska. Anne McCollister, far right.

Solar energy talks happening in Fremont and Omaha

By Sam Pimper, Fremont Tribune

From 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, those gathering at Keene Memorial Library will listen to City Administrator Brian Newton, along with Michael Shonka, another Nebraska solar power advocate, speak about various topics surrounding the Fremont project and solar energy as a whole.

Those unable to attend the Thursday conversation are invited to attend a Smart Energy Talks Nebraska presentation happening from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the University of Nebraska at Omaha inside of the Milo Bail Student Center. Click here to read more.

Fremont Solar Rountable
Keene Memorial Library
1030 N Broad Street
Fremont, Nebraska 68025
Questions? Contact organizers:
Jamison Wills or
Nic Nealy
Nebraska Conservation Education Fund

Top Photo: Telesis Inc solar array in Lincoln. The Fremont Community Solar Farm, under construction on a 10-acre plot of land located south of Jack Sutton Drive, will consist of approximately 5,000 panels and will be operational by the end of 2017. Credit: Lincoln Journal Star

Save the Date & Plan to Attend the Next Meeting of the “Solar Group Buy Initiative: Creating a Model for Nebraska Communities”

Many thanks to everyone who attended last night’s first-ever-in-Nebraska solar group buy roundtable discussion at UNO’s Community Engagement Center.

Solar enthusiasts, ambassadors, installers and other solar experts attended the meeting and contributed information and ideas towards creating a model program for the greater-Omaha area and other Nebraska communities.

The discussion and one-on-one conversations after the meeting generated the following presentation / discussion topics for our next meeting to be held on November 8th — same place, same time: UNO’s Community Engagement Center from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Please join us and help to create a solar group buy model for Nebraska!

Proposed Topics for the November 8th Solar Group Buy Meeting – So Far 

  • Before Going Solar: A DIY Checklist. This will be available on our calendar before our next meeting.
  • Ways to shrink the size of a solar PV system that’s needed through energy efficiency and conservation steps: Presentation by one or more energy-efficiency experts.
  • Steps to Going Solar – Presentations & Discussion:
    Conventional PV installation versus an Installation using the ConnectDER (which OPPD has approved).
    Solar PV Systems: What are the components that make up a PV system and the functions of each.
    What to look for in solar panels, inverters, power optimizers and other components.
    Warranties for labor and equipment.
    The solar permit and other paperwork. We’ll have a copy of the permit and how much it costs at the meeting.
  • Group purchase of solar PV systems.
  • Additional discussion on group buy discounts as a proven means of increasing the sheer number of installations in communities, why they make sense, and how installers and group buy participants can collaborate to benefit all. (More projects = increased community interest. Increased community interest = more projects. In other words, people have a tendency to do what they see their neighbors doing).
  • Energy storage options with or without the ConnectDER.
  • Additional discussion of installation location options.
  • Additional discussion of all available incentives for businesses and homeowners. Check them out before our next meeting here: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) – Nebraska
  • How schools and other nonprofits, which don’t qualify for the 30% federal Investment Tax Incentive (ITC), benefit from solar group buys.
  • Ways to Finance a Solar System: A list of Nebraska banks and other agencies that offer financing for solar systems and information about each one will be available at the meeting. 

To add more topics to the above list and / or to share resources and information links on the ones currently proposed, please email them to Helen Deffenbacher: 

If you would like to use the PowerPoint slides and handouts from last night’s meeting to start a Solar Group Buy in your community, please contact Helen at the above address, and she will email them to you. 

Sustainability Pavilion one cog in State Fair initiative

By Robert Pore, Grand Island Independent

A popular display at the Sustainability Pavilion this year is the Automotive Recycling Industry of Nebraska’s recycled car that educates the public about all the various parts of an automobile that can be recycled . . . Another positive display at the Sustainability Pavilion deals with solar energy, which is making big strides in Nebraska as an alternative energy resource for residential, commercial, farms and ranches. The Nebraska State Fair has also jumped on the solar energy bandwagon, according to [Jaime Parr, Nebraska State Fair facility director]. “The State Fair has added about 90 solar panels to the roof of the Nebraska Building to be showcased during this year’s State Fair,” she said. Read more here.

Photo: Grand Island Public Schools Success Academy 11-grader Maria Reeh (left) speaks about the migration pattern of the monarch butterfly as 10th-grader Alexis Lute listens during a presentation about protecting the monarch butterfly Monday in the J-Tech Solar Sustainability Pavilion during the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island. Credit: Barrett Stinson / Grand Island Independent

Public invited to tour new Kearney Center at Central Community College on Thursday

CCC’s new Kearney Center a real gem
Kearney Hub Opinion

The 11 a.m. ribbon cutting will be followed by tours through 8 p.m. [New facilities in Kearney] include structures and installations such as the Health Science Education Complex at UNK, the 400,000-square-foot distribution center at Baldwin Filters, and SoCore’s 53-acre solar array that will be Nebraska’s largest when it goes online in January. Read more here.

Central Community College Address1215 30th Avenue, Kearney, Nebraska 68845


Solar Energy Community Forum

Thank you note to everyone who took part in last night’s community event

Thank you to our speakers: Frank Uhlarik, Manager of Cleaner Greener Lincoln and Marc Shkolnick, Manager of Energy Services at Lincoln Electric System, for their excellent and well-received presentations on “Renewable and Sustainable Initiatives in Lincoln.”  Many thanks, too, to everyone who attended. A dynamic discussion followed the presentations, with the audience contributing many thoughtful questions.

If you missed the event and would like to learn more, check out these links:

Please plan to attend the following events, where Nebraskans for Solar will join many other groups, agencies and businesses that are working hard to create a more sustainable Nebraska: