Follow These Steps to Get Started with Your Solar Energy
Step 1: Conduct an Energy Assessment
Have your property assessed to determine your best solar energy option.
Assessments are not a requirement, but generally viewed as good practice before the installation process. Assessments are not a bid nor do they provide systems designs. Assessments simply examine the possibilities for your property.
Assessments evaluate the following about your property:
- Solar Resource
- The amount of sunlight that reaches the area where your solar system would be located
- Determined by location of property and orientation of the building
- Appropriate System Size
- The average energy needs of your property
- Determined by space available to accommodate size of system
- Economic Feasibility
- Cost of the system versus property's energy needs
- Determined by energy savings created from solar energy system's likely energy production
There are many ways to help reduce costs of the solar energy system you will purchase. Reducing your properties energy use may help reduce the size of solar energy system that you would require. Visit LES's website to review their money-saving ideas and see what incentives and rebates are available to help bring the costs down at DSIRE. Also, learn more about energy improvement loans at the Nebraska Energy Office.
You can have a Solar Professional do your assessment or you can do it yourself. Read the DOE's Planning a Home Solar Energy System article to learn more about how or try a web-based Energy Savings Estimator.
Step 2: Select a Solar Installer
You will likely need a Solar Professional to install your solar energy system.
The following are some of the items that may be included in the estimate:
- Clearly stated maximum generating capacity of the system
- Annual energy production system should produce
- Total cost of getting the system up and running
- connection to the utility grid
- sales tax
The Department of Energy and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association offers some questions you can ask about the installers you are choosing from. View the full list of questions.
Step 3: Complete and Submit Permits
Certain forms may need to be submitted before you can begin installation.
Your local Solar Professional you chose usually will take care of all forms that need to be completed in order to begin installation. They work closely with the city of Lincoln Building and Safety department as well as Lincoln Electric System to make sure everything has been approved and to schedule a check of the installation upon completion.
For more information about the solar energy system permitting process, view the City of Lincoln Permitting resources. They explain the following processes:
- Lincoln Electric System explains the Interconnection Agreement Process
- The Building and Safety department explains the Building Permit Process
- The Building and Safety department explains the Electrical Permit Process
- The Building and Safety department explains the Plumbing Permit Process
Step 4: Install Solar Energy and Enjoy Benefits
That's it. You're done. Now enjoy your new solar energy.
Now that you have your solar energy system installed, you can enjoy the benefits it brings. But, in order to continue getting these benefits, the system may need minor maintenance or system components may also need repair or replacement from time to time.
Talk with your system installer about maintaining your solar energy system or view the DOE's Maintaining a Solar Energy System article.