Tag Archives: Nebraskans for Solar events

Local Solar Champions Presenting Nebraskans for Solar’s December Forum on Community Solar

Co-Sponsored by Green Bellevue & Sierra Club

December 14, 2017 – 7 to 8:30 pm

UNO Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center

Combined Rooms 201 & 205

6401 Dodge Street

Nebraskans for Solar Board Member Leo Arens will moderate a presentation and discussion on “Community Solar” by a panel of local Solar Champions:

  • Clifford Mesner, Mesner Development, Central City
  • Brian Newton, Utility General Manager, Fremont
  • Jeff Buhrman and Terry Wittler, Capitol Beach Neighborhood Solar LLC,  Lincoln
  • Jeff Berggren, GenPro Energy Solutions, Lexington
  • Michael Shonka, Solar Heat & Electric, Omaha
  • Nebraska Public Power District Spokesperson, Columbus

All our events are open to the public. Please join us and contribute to the discussion! Refreshments provided.

Photo: A pollinator-friendly solar farm in Minnesota by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

Solar Power as a Retirement Investment Strategy

Mother Earth News
By Vikram Aggarwal, EnergySage / Mother Earth News Blog

Establishing a secure financial future for your retirement requires that you explore a variety of options, but most homeowners don’t realize that installing a solar panel system can be one of the smartest retirement investment options available. By viewing a home solar panel system as an investment opportunity, homeowners can reduce or even eliminate their electricity bills, freeing up more than $1,000 in cash each year. With the increased availability of $0-down solar loans, homeowners that lack the cash required for an upfront purchase can still take advantage of solar as a retirement investment strategy.

Read more here. 

New NFS Project – Plus Summer Solar Watch Parties

We hope you are enjoying these last remaining days of spring! We’ve provided information, below, about a new project we’re developing and our Solar Watch Parties. As always, thank you for all that you are doing to advance renewable energy in Nebraska, and we hope to see you soon at one or more of our summer events!

We are currently putting together a new online resource, “Solar Examples,” for our website and Facebook page. If you’ve installed solar on your home, business, or nonprofit and would like to help us put together this resource, please send a brief description (one paragraph is sufficient), one or more photos, and any news stories or other online links about the project.

Habitat for Humanity of Omaha Home

Habitat for Humanity of Omaha Home

This will be a work-in-progress that we’ll begin posting on our website & Facebook page soon. The primary focus will be on the projects themselves rather than on the installer or developer. News stories and other links may include this information, however. Please email a brief description of your solar installation and photos to Helen Deffenbacher: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com. We’ll have our first dozen or so examples up very soon. Thank you for your help!

As announced at our last workshop on May 14th, we’re planning fun and educational watch parties this summer in collaboration with solar professionals and DIY installers in Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue, and other communities. Our goal is to have at least one watch party at a solar-powered farm or winery.


Hyde Memorial Observatory in Lincoln

The purpose of these parties is to demonstrate that going solar is not as complicated as some may think. Everyone interested will be invited to bring lawn chairs to watch an installation, for as long as you care to stay, and to learn, firsthand, the steps involved in going solar. Children, with the suggested ages of 8 and older, are invited as well, but they must be accompanied by a parent or grandparent.

Pastries from Two Birds Bakery as well as a list of additional solar installations, with addresses and maps, from our “Solar Examples” will also be available for self-guided tours. Watch our website calendar and Facebook page for an announcement of our first Solar Watch Party.

Thank you to Dean Mueller and everyone who attended his presentation last evening!

Nebraskans for Solar would like to thank Dean Mueller, OPPD Division Manager, Sustainable Energy & Environmental Stewardship, for his informative and well-received presentation last night at UNO’s Community Engagement Center. We also thank everyone who turned out for the event, especially on a very cold and blustery evening. As Dean commented afterwards, he was impressed by the number of well-informed questions the audience raised throughout his discussion.

Everyone is cordially invited back to the Community Engagement Center, Room 201, on February 12th at 7 p.m., when our speaker will be Michael Shonka, who has been working in renewable energy since 1983.

Michael will discuss the just-completed solar farm in Central City, as well as several other  projects he’s involved in, including rooftop solar. Please see our calendar or the previous post for complete details.

If you were unable to attend last night’s forum but signed up for a copy of the 2015 Solar Electricity Handbook, by Michael Boxwell, the books will be available at our February 12th workshop. If you represent a green group or a renewable energy / energy efficiency business, you are invited to bring your materials to share at our information tables.

Questions? Suggestions? Please email Events Organizer, Helen Deffenbacher: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com

Central City Solar Farm – A New Step for Nebraska in Energy Innovation


Speaker: Michael Shonka, Renewable Energy Advocate & Spokesperson, Instructor & Business Owner – Solar Heat & Electric
When: February 12, 2015 – 7 to 9 p.m.
Where: UNO’s Community Engagement Center, 64th & Dodge, Room 201

Michael recently completed Nebraska’s first solar farm, a 100-panel system installed in an industrial park next to an existing solar system owned by Mesner Development Company of Central City. Residents and businesses of Central City, which has a population of 2,900, will be able to purchase shares of the energy generated by the system in the future. Other names for solar farms include: “shared renewables,” “community solar” and “solar gardens.”


In this presentation, Michael will discuss the Central City Solar Farm project in detail and will outline the required steps for other interested Nebraska communities to develop solar farms. He will also discuss some of his other just-completed or future solar projects in our state, including rooftop solar. Time will be allotted for Q&As.

Michael Shonka, owner of Solar Heat and Electric, has been designing, installing, and maintaining solar and wind energy systems since 1983. In collaboration with colleagues in the renewable energy industry and many other renewable energy advocates in our state, he promotes adoption of renewable energy by the general public and government, and is involved on updating city code and legislation to facilitate greater renewable energy development in Nebraska. He has helped to pass a state tax credit for renewable energy and to implement the new net metering law. He is also involved with teaching of solar, wind, sustainability and energy conservation classes statewide.

The workshop is free & open to the public, so please share this announcement with others. Refreshments provided. We will also have information tables available for green groups & renewable energy / energy efficiency businesses to share your materials with attendees. If you ordered a copy of the 2015 Solar Electricity Handbook, by Michael Boxwell, these will be handed out before the workshop. 

Free parking is available in the reserved lot to the north of the Community Engagement Center, near the Durham Bell Tower, plus all adjacent lots. Let the lot attendant know you’re there for the Nebraskans for Solar workshop in Room 201. Questions? Suggestions? Please email nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com

Thank you to David Holtzclaw and to everyone who attended last night’s workshop

Nebraskans for Solar would like to thank energy expert David Hotzclaw, Owner of Transduction Technologies, for his informative and well-received presentation on energy conservation and solar last evening at UNO’s Community Engagement Center.

We also want to thank everyone who braved the very cold weather to attend. The audience raised a number of excellent questions throughout David’s discussion.

Everyone is invited to come back to the Community Engagement Center on December 11th for our next workshop. Please see our calendar or the announcement on our NewsBlog, “The Economics of Generating Your Own Solar Electricity,” for complete details. We will also launch our new Learning Group on December 11th, and attendees will have the opportunity to order a free copy of the 2015 edition of the bestseller, Solar Electricity Handbook.

We hope you’ll join us and bring a friend!