LES holds open house to discuss new community solar energy program

Posted By: Brent BonFleur


Lincoln Electric System unveiled its new Virtual Net Metering Program to the public Thursday night.

It’s a 20-year plan that allows customers to purchase "virtual" solar panels.

The panels are located at a new community solar facility west of Lincoln.

"We have a lot of customers who are interested in solar, but maybe they don’t own a home – maybe they own a home, but it faces the wrong direction, or it’s shaded by trees they don’t want to get rid of," said Scott Benson, LES’s manager of utility’s resource and transmission planning department.

"This is another option for them."

Customers make a one-time, upfront investment in the panels. In return, they receive monthly energy credits on their LES bill over the next two decades.

The price for a panel is $685 starting in 2017.

Panels can be purchased one at a time.

LES estimates customers will receive a $38 credit per panel in the first year. Those numbers could go up or down, depending on the energy market.

The program is offered to any LES customer, and is available for sign-up online as of December 1st, 2016.

Credits will start to show up in January of 2017 for customers who sign up in 2016.

Cancellations are allowed at any time, and customers can get a 75% refund through the first 15 years.

"A lot of people like virtual net metering because it’s easier, they don’t have to have anything at their house, it follows them around town if they move," Benson said.

"We think the price is competitive – it probably beats more of the traditional solar solutions that we see, especially the smaller ones."

For more information, or to sign up for the program, go to http://www.les.com/.