Nebraska has tremendous potential for solar energy production, as high as ninth in the nation according to one source. Currently, however, solar accounts for less than 1/2 of 1% of electricity production in our state.
Nebraskans for Solar (NFS), a public interest nonprofit, incorporated in 2012, has as one of its missions to develop a statewide Solar Powered Low-Income Housing Program in partnership with other nonprofits that build or rehabilitate low-income housing. As low-income families pay a higher percentage of their income on domestic energy needs than everyone else, NFS seeks to provide them with the means to reduce their utility bills by being able to generate their own clean, renewable energy, energy that will never increase in price. The money these families save can be spent on food, education, and other needs.
Initially, NFS is focusing its efforts in North and South Omaha. These are regions in our state where a major percentage of low-income families are concentrated. North Omaha, in particular, has one of the highest levels of poverty among minorities in the entire nation.
NFS and one of its community partners, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, raised funds to install solar hot water systems on two energy-efficient Habitat houses in North Omaha in November of 2013. These two homes are currently the only two solar-powered Habitat homes in Nebraska. However, NFS and Habitat for Humanity of Omaha are seeking to raise funds to install solar hot water systems on 5 more Habitat homes and will launch a crowd funding campaign on the website Indiegogo on April 8, 2014. These homes as well as the two previous installations will provide models for a statewide Solar-Powered, Low-Income Housing Program.