Tag Archives: Lincoln Electric System’s Solar Incentives

Why More Solar Panels Should Be Facing West, Not South

Edited by David Leonhardt, Upshot Newsletter, New York Times

For years, homeowners who bought solar panels were advised to mount them on the roof facing south. That captures the most solar energy over the course of the day, which benefits the homeowner, but does so at hours that are not so helpful for the utility and the grid as a whole.

Mount them to catch the sunlight from the west in the afternoon, and the panels’ production over all would fall, but it would come at hours when the electricity was more valuable.

But that idea is slow to take hold. A new study of 110,000 California houses with rooftop solar systems confirmed that a vast majority of the panels were pointed south because most of the panel owners were paid by the number of kilowatt-hours the panels produced. Pointing them southward maximizes production over all, but peak production comes at midday, not in late afternoon, when it would be more helpful.

Click here to continue reading.

Lincoln Electric System (LES) provides an extra incentive for west-facing solar systems. See: “The Costs of Rooftop Solar in Nebraska Keep Declining – And Lincoln is Leading the Way!”

The Costs of Rooftop Solar in Nebraska Just Keep Declining – And Lincoln is Leading the Way!

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) infographic, below, “By 2017, more than half the states could have rooftop solar that’s as cheap as local electricity prices.”

The following factors are helping to bring about this transformation: The prices for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems have dropped precipitously over the last several years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The federal tax credit reduces its price by another 30%, in effect until December 31, 2016.

Lincoln Electric System (LES) provides additional incentives, as described in the PDF, “Customer-owned Renewable Generation.” (PDF link, below). The total payment customers can receive is determined as follows:

• Southern-facing, fixed-photovoltaic panels – $375 for each kilowatt of the system’s nameplate DC capacity. For a 4-kW system (sixteen 250-watt panels), for example, the customer receives a capacity payment of $1,500.

• Western-facing or single or dual-axis tracking photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475, or $1,900 for a 4 kW system.

Price of a 4-kW PV system (sixteen 250-watt panels) in Lincoln with incentives:

Solar system and labor @ $3.50/watt* (4000 watts) = $14,000
Federal Tax Credit – 30% ($4,200)
LES Capacity Payment $375 x 4 kW ($1,500)

Total price after incentives are subtracted = $8,300

Western-facing solar modules would provide customers a capacity payment of $1900, reducing the price to $7,900.

Based on an average household use of 1000 kilowatt hours (KWH) per month, this 4kW system will provide about 52% of the house’s energy. Check your electricity bills to find out how many kilowatt hours your household uses each month.

The price for a 2-kW PV system (eight 250-watt panels) in Lincoln, with incentives is $4150, which will provide 25% of an average household’s energy needs. For a western-facing system the cost = $3950. In Omaha, while the 30% federal tax credit lasts, a homeowner can have a 4-kW PV system installed for $9800 and a 2-kW system for $4900.

* A typical cost for a photovoltaic (PV) system in Nebraska is currently $3.50 per installed watt. According to the most recent data in the September 2014 report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Tracking the Sun VII, the median installed price of PV installations in the United States is $4.40 per watt.

Solar development in our state would very likely accelerate, benefitting our local economies, if OPPD and NPPD would provide their customer-owners the same incentives as Lincoln Electric System currently offers.

The biggest incentive of all, the 30% federal tax credit, is available to everyone until the end of 2016. Even without capacity payments, when the upfront costs of solar PV systems currently being installed in Omaha and other Nebraska communities are averaged out over the 25 to 30+ year lifespan of the modules, rooftop PV looks like a cost-effective investment, especially after figuring in the 30% federal tax incentive.

Customer-owned Renewable Generation
Nebraska Incentives/Policies for Solar