Tag Archives: reducing solar energy’s “soft costs” in Nebraska

Streamlined permits speed up solar development in Chicago

by Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News

Two years ago, Dorian Breuer waited six months to get permits to install solar panels on his home on the south side of Chicago.

At that same time, Breuer was in the heat of the battle to close Chicago’s two coal-fired power plants, as a leader of the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization.

Today the coal plants are closed and Breuer, along with Jack Ailey, another leader in the campaign, run one of the four companies chosen to implement the city’s Solar Chicago program offering discounted solar installations through a bulk buy.

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Notes related to this article:

Kari Lydersen states that, “The Solar Chicago program lets people with single-family homes and duplexes in the Chicago metropolitan area purchase solar installations at a price of $3.49 per watt of capacity, about 25 percent below market rates, according to program officials.”

Nebraskans for Solar knows of at least two local solar contractors whose installation price of $3.49 per watt of capacity is already their standard rate.

Also, our nonprofit continues to work with many other local and national organizations on efforts to reduce the “soft costs” of solar in our state. We collaborated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative and local sustainability leaders to help organize and present a Solar Outreach Partnership Workshop, “Solar Powering Your Community” in June 2013. Two of our board members, Michael Shonka and Ken Deffenbacher, were asked to be on a panel presentation about local solar development: http://solaroutreach.org/events/solar-powering-your-community-omaha-nebraska/#.U-4vcShy9SU

Individual members of our organization also continue to work with many others to advocate for and to work on legislation and policy changes at the city and state levels that will remove barriers to solar energy development in Nebraska. These range from requests for changes in city code that will facilitate solar installations and reduce costs–to advocating for a Nebraska Solar Garden Bill that will allow the use of empty, weed-infested city lots for community solar development, providing access to solar energy to 100% of our citizens.