Community Solar FAQs - Residential
What is community solar?
It is an option for a renewable energy source available to OPPD customers. Instead of installing solar panels on your own home (which can be very costly), community solar utilizes energy produced by a solar farm located right here in our community. This solar farm is comprised of several solar panels, which will produce 5 MW of renewable energy available for our customers.
What is the benefit of a community solar program?
“Community solar business models increase deployment of solar technology in communities, making it possible for people to invest in solar together. Shared solar falls under the community solar umbrella, allowing multiple participants to benefit directly from the energy produced by one solar array. Shared solar participants typically benefit by owning or leasing a portion of a system, or by purchasing kilowatt-hour blocks of renewable energy generation.”
Is community solar available to all OPPD customers?
Yes. Any household can participate, whether or not you own your home. If you are living in a single family home, apartment, condominium, or townhome- you are eligible to participate. Businesses or non-profit groups will be able to participate with our commercial solar program in summer 2019.
Where will the solar panels be located?
The solar panels for this project will be located in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska near the retired OPPD Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station.
How much electricity will the solar project produce?
The solar farm will have the capacity to produce up to 5 Megawatts of electricity.
What are the solar panels made of, and are there any hazardous materials?
The solar panels are primarily made of monocrystalline silicon, glass, aluminum, and small amounts of other materials common in household electronics. The panels do not pose a chemical hazard to the public, underlying soil or groundwater.
How large is the site and how much space will be used for the panels?
The site is 77.5 total acres and 35 acres will be used by the panels.
What are my options for purchasing solar energy?
Solar energy will be available to purchase in shares. One share will equal 100-kilowatt hours of solar energy. Participants can choose the amount of shares they wish to purchase. Their monthly bill will reflect the share cost.
What is the cost of one share?
1 share= 100 kWh. The cost of 1 share is $.79.
If you purchase 5 shares, your monthly cost would be $3.95 for 500 kWh of solar energy.
How do I enroll/sign up?
To participate in community solar, please call 1-877-536-4131 or sign up online at oppd.com/solar.
Are there up-front costs to this program?
There is a one-time, refundable deposit of $100 for residential customers. This deposit helps OPPD offset the initial cost of the solar farm, which enables our customers to have the option of solar power. The deposit will be on your next bill following enrollment confirmation.
Why do I need to pay a deposit?
The deposit will initially help offset the cost of the solar farm installation. Once the terms of agreement are met, the deposit will be fully refunded.
Are there monthly subscription fees?
Yes, a monthly share rate fee will be applied to your OPPD bill, and you have the choice of how many shares you want. The price of the share is subject to change each spring.
Can I change the amount of shares I originally signed up for?
Yes, but only during the months of March and April. Every March, OPPD will analyze the solar rates and adjust them as needed based on the current market price for solar.
Can my solar share rate change?
The share rate will be evaluated annually in March and may change based on the current market rate for solar energy.
How much or how little will the solar rate be adjusted each March?
The rate adjustment will be based on the current market based value of solar energy. The expectation is the rate will not increase or decrease more than $1 per share.
Is there a contract and can I choose to opt out?
A term contract of 5 years is required for residential participants of community solar. If the contract is canceled (excluding approved hardships) prior to completion of the term, the $100 initial deposit will be forfeited.
After enrollment, when can I expect to see community solar charges on my bill?
You will see the $100 deposit on your first bill after enrollment. The monthly share charges will appear on your monthly billing statement once the solar farm begins generating energy in late 2019.
What happens after I complete the terms of my contract?
You can decide if you would like to renew your contract for community solar and continue participating in the program. If you choose to discontinue, your $100 deposit will be refunded to your account.
Why is the solar dashboard not accessible from my iPhone?
Unfortunately at this time, the Safari browser, which is primarily used by Apple products, is not compatible with the software that drives the solar dashboard. Please use a different browser such as Chrome, Firefox, IE, or Opera for best possible performance.
How will this affect the charges on my bill?
Your bill will go up depending on how many shares you purchase and the price of each share.
For example: If one share costs $1 and you purchase one share, $1 will be added to your monthly bill.
Will the solar costs affect my level payment plan?
Yes, your level payment plan will increase based on the number of shares you purchase and the price of each share.
For example: If one Share costs $1 and you purchase one share, $1 will be added to your monthly level payment.
What happens if I move?
Moving will not affect your participation in community solar, as long as you continue to be an OPPD customer. Your subscription will move to your new property or rental with you. If you move outside of OPPD’s territory, your account with us will be closed.
Are there any additional fees or costs such as surcharges or taxes?
There are no additional surcharges. Taxes will be applied to the total charges of the bill as it is currently.
Will I receive Renewable Energy Credits (REC’s) for participating in community solar?
At this time there are no REC’s available for participating in community solar.
Is the renewable energy I support through this program delivered directly to my home?
The power from renewable energy sources is mixed with the power from conventional generation sources in OPPD’s electrical system. It may not necessarily be delivered directly to your home. However, your contribution will support renewable energy generation overall and have an environmental impact throughout the entire system. By participating in community solar, you are supporting the bigger initiative of green energy in OPPD’s service territory.
Does the weather and change in seasons affect solar production?
Both the weather and seasonal changes will affect the amount of sun reaching the solar panels. During the summer, the panels will produce more energy because the days are longer and the sun is higher. On a cloudy day, the panels will produce less energy. During the winter, there is a potential for less production because of limited hours of sunlight and potential snow cover.
What if OPPD runs out of shares?
Once all of the shares are subscribed and the program is sold out, a wait list will be available for future projects. Customers on the wait list will be notified when more shares are available.
What do I need to do if I need to cancel my contract?
If you choose to cancel, you will need to send your intent of cancellation in writing to the following address:
444 S 16th St. Mall
Customer Care, E/AR/EP2
Omaha, NE 68102
Can I participate in the community solar program if I am already a participant in other OPPD products or programs?
Yes, you are eligible to participate in other OPPD products and programs such as Green Power, Level Pay, Electrical Line Plan, etc.
Don't see your question listed above?
If you have additional questions regarding OPPD's Community Solar program, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402-514-6779.