Solar gardens: a way to share the cost of renewable energy - Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Solar gardens: a way to share the cost of renewable energy

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A panhandle leader in renewable energy thinks Nebraska should better utilize its solar power capabilities to provide electricity to consumers.

Owner of Nebraska Wind and Solar Larry Cooper says the state ranks 13th in the nation for potential solar production.  Yet only half a percent of the energy produced in Nebraska is, in fact, solar.

But that could change if Nebraska would allow residents to join a community solar garden, similar to a co-op in exchange for credit on their electric bills.

Solar gardens allow people in multiple residences to benefit from solar panels set up on the roof of a building or in an empty field.
"A community could invest, or a group of people could invest, in a small solar or wind farm and then lease that out to people that want to use renewable energy but can't install or don't have the money to install on their own property," says Cooper.
Utility officials who oppose the bill say solar gardens could actually increase overall energy costs for Nebraskans.

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