Green Watts for Good

About Nebraskans for Solar’s Green Watts for Good Program

We seek partnerships through our Green Watts for Good Program on solar projects as part of community development and revitalization, such as the PV installation in collaboration with the Seventy Five North Revitalization Corporation on a home in the Highlander Neighborhood in North Omaha.

We also seek to partner on photovoltaic projects with Nebraska food pantries, homeless shelters, children’s homes and other nonprofit organizations that focus on food and housing security in our communities. Current partnering nonprofits include No More Empty Pots in North Omaha, Heartland Hope Mission in South Omaha, and Masonic Eastern Star Home for Children in Fremont. 

Energy is generally a major expense for nonprofits that provide a hand up to people in need in our local communities. Donating solar energy through our Green Watts for Good program is a way philanthropists of all ages can help nonprofits save on their electricity bills each month for a very long time, as solar panels typically last 25 or more years. 

OUR PROJECTS

No More Empty Pots

Nebraskans for Solar & No More Empty Pots are partnering
on a Green Watts for Good project for 2020 Omaha Gives!

No More Empty Pots is a grassroots non-profit corporation that connects individuals and groups to improve self-sufficiency, regional food security and economic resilience of urban and rural communities through advocacy and action. To help support this effort, No More Empty Pots collaborates with an array of public and private organizations, businesses, communities, individuals, and entrepreneurs.

Net-Zero Energy Goal

A top priority for No More Empty Pots is to become net-zero in energy use. Toward that goal, the nonprofit is collaborating not only with Nebraskans for Solar to install a photovoltaic system on their building at 8501 N 30th Street, but also with Creighton University’s Energy Science Program. Under the direction of program chair Professor Andrew Baruth, his students have completed a comprehensive energy audit of the building. Two of Dr. Baruth’s students: Logan Smith and Max Markuson DiPrince, serve on Nebraskans for Solar’s Board of Directors. Additionally, NFS board member and Energy Conservation Projects Coordinator,  Louis Lester, has analyzed No More Empty Pots’ electricity bills and demand charges and has recommended ways they can be reduced.

Renewable Energy Showcase & Learning Center

Dr. Baruth and his students have proposed curriculum for No More Empty Pots’ patrons and their families. The photovoltaic project will include a monitoring system that will allow No More Empty Pots to display the energy generated by the solar panels on screens in their coffee shop and on their rooftop patio, as well as on the Web.

Plus More!

The project will also include installing a load control system on the building’s large energy units such as refrigerators, freezers and air conditioning units. The solar array will reduce No More Empty Pots’ energy usage, while the load management system will decrease their building’s peak demand. Both will, of course, save energy and money.

No More Empty Pots’ Matching Funds

No More Empty Pots has agreed to provide matching funds to the amount Nebraskans for Solar raises through our Omaha Gives fundraising campaign.

Recognizing Project Contributors

On the digital screens showing the energy generated by the solar system, Nancy Williams, Co-Founder and CEO of No More Empty Pots, has recommended that the names of individuals and businesses contributing to this project also be displayed.

How You Can Help 

Please consider making a contribution to No More Empty Pots’ solar project through Omaha Gives. Our fundraising page will be up and running soon. Another way you can help is to download and share our project flyer with your family, friends and colleagues. It will be posted here very soon. Thank you from all of us at Nebraskans for Solar and No More Empty Pots!

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Heartland Hope Mission

Heartland Hope Mission sponsors two programs for families and individuals in the Omaha metropolitan area. The nonprofit’s mission is “to be more than a pantry by providing clients with resources to be food secure and self-sufficient in a hope-filled environment.”

  • Heartland Hope Mission’s Homelessness and Hunger Prevention Program provides assistance in the form of a week’s supply of food, as well as clothing and household items.
  • Heartland Hope Mission’s Jobs Paths Program helps their clients to overcome barriers to employment and to find job training or education opportunities. The nonprofit invites businesses that are in high demand of employees to come to their facility and provide employment information for their clients. The businesses conduct on-site interviews, and Heartland Hope Mission provides assistance with the application process.

Nebraskans for Solar & Heartland Hope Mission’s Solar Project 

We are partnering with Heartland Hope Mission to install a 5-kilowatt solar project on the roof of their  building at 2021 U Street. Individual contributions to our Green Watts for Good program and donations made during our 2019 Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign, sponsored by SHARE Omaha, will be used to install the PV-system.

A Request for Proposals was sent to all Nebraska solar businesses on February 14, 2020.
The project bid was awarded to Interconnection Systems Inc (ISI) based in Central City, Nebraska. We will post updates here as the project progresses. ISI installed a 10-kilowatt rooftop PV system at Duchesne Academy in Omaha in 2019.

Project Lead Coordinators: Louis Lester, Ken Deffenbacher, and Helen Deffenbacher, Nebraskans for Solar; Chelsea Salifou, Dodji Salifou, and Scott Kinkaid, Heartland Hope Mission

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Masonic Eastern Star Home for Children

The Masonic Eastern Star Home in Fremont has been providing care for children in need for more than 70 years. Now Nebraskans for Solar, the Masonic Eastern Star Home for Children, and the Fremont Department of Utilities have collaborated on a model initiative for all nonprofits located in Nebraska towns and cities with community solar programs similar to Fremont’s.

Participating Fremont Department of Utilities customers can purchase solar panels for $200 each from Fremont’s Solar Farm ll to reduce their monthly electric bill, or sign up for solar energy shares. Everyone, no matter where they live, can also buy solar panels for $200 each to donate to the Masonic Eastern Star Home for Children or another local nonprofit.

Through our Green Watts for Good program, Nebraskans for Solar provided a $5,000 grant to the Masonic Eastern Star Home for Children. The nonprofit provided an equal match of $5,000 to purchase a total of 50 solar panels in Fremont’s Community Solar Program.

The 50 solar panels will generate enough energy to cover 50% of the electricity consumed in the Leonard A. Johnson 4-H Barn, shown in the above photograph.

To learn more about Fremont’s Community Solar Farm II and Nebraskans for Solar’s initiative, or to donate one or more solar panels to the Masonic Eastern Star Home for Children or another local nonprofit, call the Fremont Department of Utilities: 402-727-2630 or email: Lottie.Mitchell@fremontne.gov or Brian.Newton@fremontne.gov

Recommended Reading: Masonic Home gets solar energy grant, by Tammy Real-McKeighan, News Editor, Fremont Tribune

Project Lead Coordinators: Leo Arens, Nebraskans for Solar; Ron Giesselmann, Masonic Eastern Star Home for Children; Brian Newton and Lottie Mitchell, City of Fremont Department of Utilities

Top Right Photo: Ron Giesselmann, Masonic Eastern Star Home for Children; Helen Deffenbacher, Ken Deffenbacher, Leo Arens, Nebraskans for Solar

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Highlander Neighborhood Home In North Omaha 

Nebraskans for Solar and Seventy Five North Revitalization Corporation partnered on the installation of a 4-kilowatt solar system on a home in the Highlander neighborhood, a mixed-income community in North Omaha, shown in the above photo.

The solar panels and components and the installation costs were funded by Nebraskans for Solar’s Green Watts for Good Program through individual contributions directly to the fund and our 2019 Omaha Gives campaign sponsored by the Omaha Community Foundation.

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Four Habitat for Humanity Homes – Solar Hot Water Systems

Nebraskans for Solar and Habitat for Humanity of Omaha partnered on the installation of solar hot water systems on three newly-built Habitat homes: two in North Omaha and another in South Omaha. A fourth solar hot water system was installed on a rehabilitated home in Benson. The solar collectors, shown in the above photo, are much more compact than photovoltaic (PV) modules, but these generate the equivalent power of a 3-kW PV system. Money for the projects was raised through crowdfunding on Indiegogo, individual contributions, and donations to our Omaha Gives campaign, an annual event sponsored by the Omaha Community Foundation. Photo Credit: Blake Johnson / Habitat for Humanity of Omaha 

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Ways You Can Get Involved In Green Watts for Good

  1. Learn more about Green Watts for Good at NFS-sponsored events, on our website and Facebook page, and from our newsletters.
  2. If your ecology or sustainability club, faith group, foundation or  business would like to partner with Nebraskans for Solar to develop a solar project to benefit a nonprofit in your community, please discuss your idea with one or more of our board members, send an email to: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com, or come to one of our board meetings, held the second Saturday of each month at 9:30 am.
  3. You can also donate to a solar project by sending a check payable to Nebraskans for Solar, with Green Watts for Good in the memo line, and mailing it to: 

Metro Credit Union
PO Box 390696
Omaha, Nebraska 68139

From all of us at Nebraskans for Solar, thank you for your contributions!