Mission

• Raising funds for solar installations for low-income homeowners, homeless shelters, food banks, and other nonprofits, thereby lowering energy costs

• Raising funds to develop Solar Schools

• Educating the general public about solar energy and its benefits

• Supporting local economies through green jobs training and development

• Reducing greenhouse gases and other forms of air pollution

Programs

1. Nebraskans for Solar works with interested nonprofit organizations that build and/or rehabilitate low-income homes to install solar electric (photovoltaic) or solar hot water systems (four of these systems have been installed thus far on Habitat for Humanity homes in North Omaha, South Omaha, and Benson). We provide technical assistance regarding system placement and sizing, equipment choices, as well as funding. This assistance is also provided to nonprofits that provide direct assistance to the needy, organizations such as food banks and homeless shelters. Recently, we have obtained funding to provide training and mentoring for interested employees of cooperating nonprofits, so that they could become qualified as solar electric systems installers, thereby lowering project cost by about 50%.

Each 3-4 kilowatt photovoltaic installation will provide utility bill savings of up to $600/year per home, according to a consensus of Nebraska solar professionals. Warranties for solar panels are typically for 25 years. This sort of savings could serve to increase the stability of low-income neighborhoods.

2. Nebraska Solar Schools, is another project for which we have currently raised funds. A solar school not only includes an array of solar panels that are roof-, pole, or ground-mounted, but also an external monitoring system that tracks on a classroom computer the amount of electricity generated over any selected time period. More important, solar schools will provide grade-appropriate K-12 curricula that meet Nebraska science teaching standards. Initially, we are seeking to develop a model Solar Schools project for Nebraska. In pursuit of this goal, we have entered into a collaborative relationship with several science teachers at three high schools in the Omaha Public Schools District, Burke, Northwest, and North High Schools.

Expected benefits of this project include: a). valuable learning opportunities for high school-age children that "show" as well as "tell" the benefits of solar energy to human and ecological health and its link to community economic development, all during the process of learning that science is a valuable way to ask questions about how the physical world works. The curriculum that will be developed by cooperating science teachers will be classroom tested and then made publicly available.

3. Another of our programs that has received consistently positive feedback from the community is our series of public forums that we sponsor, presented monthly, ordinarily at the UNO Community Engagement Center. Time and place for these forums can always be found on our website calendar, www.nebraskansforsolar.org.