OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — For the past few years in Omaha, a lot more people have been embracing solar energy.
Kirk Estee of the Omaha Public Power District said some new customers are looking to become carbon-free, while others like the idea of generating their own electricity.
Estee said that electricity could be used to power homes and even electric cars.
OPPD has had its own solar program named Customer Owned Generation for the past 20 years. Thanks, in part, to a recently improved sign-up process — interest is booming.
In 2019, OPPD estimated about 24 people submitted applications to the solar program and that number has grown to 1,000 in 2022.
With so much interest, Estee said he wants people to make sure they’re aware of how the solar program works. While the program will lower utility costs, the payback period takes time.
"It’s usually about 17 years maybe 20 years depending on what type of user you are," said Estee.
The energy company has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. Estee said each new application gets them closer to hitting that goal.
"Every kilowatt-hour that a customer produces is one less that we have to produce," Estee said. "It eases the burden on us for generating and us for transmitting and distributing that power as well."