Solar Energy...
Ask the Energy Wiz!

Dear Energy Wiz,

Q: I will be constructing a storage unit and am considering solar energy as the source of electricity.  What are the pros and cons of using renewable energy in this application? Are there incentives for installing solar energy?
The Energy Wiz!

A: The research that I've read indicates that wind energy has about half the installation costs of solar. Of the two, wind and solar are about even with regard to reliability; the wind blows only some of the time, and the sun shines only some of the time. On the other hand, solar is less maintenance intensive. In either case, you may want to consider a battery backup system for those times when the sun is not shining, or the wind is not blowing.

With regard to maintenance, while wind turbines are becoming more and more common, and the technology has improved over the years, wind turbines have moving parts, and any machine with moving parts will require maintenance. Just what that maintenance would be, and how often it would occur, I do not know. I would suggest contacting a wind turbine representative for those details.

With regard to incentives, please contact Mr. Michael Crisco, who is working with the federal government's Million Solar Roofs program. Mr. Crisco will probably best know of any incentive programs that are available. Mr. Crisco's phone number is 402-435-0483. Mr. Crisco will probably be able to help you with contacting a solar panel representative in your area.

Editor's Note:
The staff at the Energy Office respond to many inquiries on a variety of topics from Nebraskans. From time to time, the Quarterly will share some questions — and the answers — with readers.

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