The Wire

Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Guidance for adding solar panels and more

March 8, 2021 | Jodi Baker | customer service, products & services, renewables
solar rebates customer-owned generation decarbonization

More Omaha Public Power District customers are looking into owning their own generation, and the utility is working to guide them through the process.

“It can be confusing,” said Kirk Estee, Customer Alternative Energy Solutions Manager for OPPD, “especially with so many companies making proposals to customers interested in generating energy through solar panels or other technology.”

OPPD is educating the public about “customer-owned generation,” how it works and how to get started, said Estee.

New process introduced

OPPD recently revamped and streamlined its process of applying for Customer-Owned Generation (COG). The program’s webpage includes a quick-start guide and pay-off calculator so customers can determine how long it would be before the solar system pays for itself. There’s also information on how net metering works for billing.

“We do not currently have any partnerships with contractors, solar or otherwise, on this type of generation,” Estee said. “However, we do work with them on the back end. This ensures the generation integrates into our system properly and safely.”

While rooftop solar panels are still the most common form of customer-owned generation, more people are starting to use newer technology, such as batteries, to store the energy they’re generating.

OPPD must first review and approve all customer-owned generation systems before they interconnect with the electric grid. This is crucial so the utility can ensure the safety of its customers and employees. Customers should get multiple bids from different contractors prior to committing to a project.

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About Jodi Baker

Jodi Baker contributes stories to The Wire in addition to serving as a media liaison for OPPD. She was a reporter, working for news stations from her hometown of Omaha to San Diego, prior to joining the utility in 2013. Jodi has a bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, with a minor in Criminal Justice. She’s married with two older children and two younger dogs – Shi Tzu mixes. She loves watching her daughter’s track meets, going to concerts with her husband Dave, who used to co-host a local music video program, and traveling whenever possible.

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