By Nicholas Bergin / Lincoln Journal Star
BENEDICT – On Rick Hammond’s farm, between the gravel road on its east edge and the grain bins where he will store this year’s corn harvest, sit 96 solar panels mounted on two rows of gray metal frames . . . He is one of a growing number of Nebraska farmers, homeowners and businesspeople who have sharpened their pencils, done some math and found small-scale solar arrays will save them money while reducing their carbon footprint . . . Putting up a solar system takes a fair amount of cash up front. Hammond’s array cost $84,864, but a combination of a USDA grant and federal tax credits brought the cost to him down to $19,100. [With payback “in just over six years” and solar modules typically lasting 25 or more years, the Hammond Farm will benefit from free energy for a very long time].
Ways to reduce the cost of a solar system:
- USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant covers 25% of the durable-asset investment. (See previous post for more information).
- Federal Tax Credit of 30% for qualified installations
- Accelerated depreciation for businesses
- Self-Employment Tax Credit
SEE “SOLAR EXAMPLES” TO VIEW PHOTOS OF MORE SOLAR-POWERED NEBRASKA FARMS
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Houston Chronicle: Solar power gaining popularity among Nebraska farmers