Tag Archives: Solar Energy Resources for Nebraska Businesses

Thank you to all who attended yesterday’s tour of Karen & Darren Dageforde’s Net-Positive Energy Home!

First of all, thank you to our hosts, Karen and Darren Dageforde and their son, Pierce: Karen for providing an excellent presentation on their all-electric home’s many green building and clean energy features, and to all three of them for providing individual discussions and tours afterwards. Karen also talked about their family’s commitment to saving energy, water and other natural resources and provded steps attendees can take in their own homes.

Many thanks, too, to everyone who made the beautiful drive to attend the event, coming from Blair, Omaha, Bellevue, Lincoln, Council Bluffs and as far away as Seward!

Built in 2010, the home’s features include a passive solar design; huge windows for natural lighting; insulated concrete-form floors and walls, which prevent air infiltration and loss, a major contributing factor to the typical home’s energy costs; Energy Star windows and Energy Star appliances; R-50 attic insulation; 5 closed-loop geothermal wells for heating, cooling and hot-water generation; a 5-ton HVAC system; radiant flooring that provides free cooling; and photovoltaic (PV) systems: 18 panels installed in July 2011 and 14 in May 2016.

  • These were both do-it-yourself projects designed and installed by Karen and Darren.
  • The total energy generated by their PV system in 2017 was 11,303 kilowatt hours (kWh), providing 100+% of their home’s energy needs!

The cost of designing and building their net-positive energy home was very comparable to the cost of a conventional build.

Karen, now retired, holds a degree in accounting, and Darren, director of utilities in UNMC Facilities, Management and Planning, has a degree in mechanical engineering. They are also volunteers at the Washington County Recycling Center, working alongside others to sort boxes of cans and bottles, paper and plastic.

They and their son Pierce “walk the walk” in this area, too, in a variety of ways and encourage others to do so, as well, as they did yesterday, including: not only recycling but also purchasing recycled products; trading with others; buying in bulk, thus reducing packaging, and taking reusable, washable containers to stores, including mesh produce bags; and repurposing materials, as Karen and Darren did when they recovered lumber that had been thrown away to build their chicken coop.

Each one of these steps conserves energy, water, and other natural resources over the manufacturing and use of new things.

Following up on the Dageforde family’s inspiring presentation, handouts, and individual tours and discussions yesterday, the links to resources, below, provide additional information on energy conservation and renewable energy incentives for homes and businesses.


Recognizing the Contributions of Nebraska Businesses to our Local Energy Economy During National Small Business Week

April 29-May 5 is National Small Business Week. The event provides an opportunity to highlight the contributions to our local energy economy made by Nebraska businesses that have invested in solar technology and have helped to grow the number of clean energy jobs in our state.

The twenty-nine businesses and farms featured in our “Solar Examples” in alphabetical order, from the Beller Farm near Lindsay to the Total Manufacturing Company’s office in Lincoln, vary in size, but all of them are setting inspiring examples for others in their communities and in our state.

As some of the owners have expressed in newspaper and broadcast media interviews, their decision to “go solar” is also benefitting them and their families, reducing energy costs in their business or farm operations, while also protecting the environment where they live and work.

There has never been a better time for Nebraska businesses to invest in solar energy systems. Taking advantage of available incentives, rebates, grants and equipment depreciation can cut the cost by half or even more. Below, are links to information sources, which can also be downloaded as a PDF here.

Photo: MSS Enterprise Near Cozad, Nebraska

Solar Energy Resources for Nebraska Businesses

Check out our Directory: Nebraska Solar Businesses

Incentives & Rebates

Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) – Federal Incentive: Currently 30%

Lincoln Electric System: Customer-Owned Renewable Generation Rebate Program
Southern-facing fixed solar: $375/kW-DC of nameplate capacity
Western-facing fixed solar: $475/kW-DC of nameplate capacity
Single or dual tracking solar: $475/kW-DC of nameplate capacity

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants & Loans

Small businesses in eligible rural areas and agricultural producers, both rural and non-rural, who have at least 50% of their gross income coming from agricultural operations, may apply. Check eligible business addresses. REAP grants provide up to 25% of the total project costs, and a grant and loan combination up to 75%. Eligible projects include renewable energy systems and the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements. See REAP Fact Sheet for a complete list of eligible projects.
Nebraska REAP Program
Jeff Carpenter
Nebraska Rural Development Energy Coordinator
Telephone: 402-437-5554
Email: Jeff.Carpenter@ne.usda.gov

Depreciation Resources


See “Solar Examples” for photos and descriptions of Nebraska businesses that are powered by solar.