Solar Kits Project Update
Our project of providing NEED Solar Energy Kits for K-12 Nebraska schools has ended for this academic year. We want to take this opportunity to thank the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) and the Facebook Community Action Grants Program for funding this initiative. We also want to thank all the superintendents, principals, teachers and students who have participated in the project up to now.
With NET and Facebook’s approval, we are extending the project throughout the 2021-2022 school year. With the remaining funds in both grants and additional money Nebraskans for Solar has committed to the project, we will be able to continue partnering with Nebraska schools to advance renewable energy literacy in our local communities.
We will start up the project again on July 1, 2021. K-12 teachers and after-school program directors are invited to request a new edition of the kit beginning on that date, even if your school received an earlier version.
We also invite solar developers and installers and other Nebraska businesses, parents and grandparents to donate a NEED Solar or Wind Energy Kit to a school in your community when the new editions are released.
New Scholarships Program
We also want to thank a longtime Friend of Nebraskans for Solar, Robert “Bob” Hess, for his recent generous gift, which we are using to start a scholarships program for graduating high school seniors who plan to enroll in a solar education and training program. Bob has also contributed funds for several NEED Solar Energy Kits for schools in his neighborhood. Having installed solar on his home years ago as a do-it-yourself project, he serves as an example for people of all ages.
Nebraskans for Solar board members added smaller contributions to Bob’s and our treasurer, Ken Deffenbacher, created a separate Scholarships Fund at Metro Credit Union for our first $1,000 scholarship.
Our goal is to raise funds for 12 $1,000 scholarships: 6 for solar and 6 for wind energy education and training. The scholarships will be awarded next Earth Day, April 22, 2022. Recipients can use their scholarships to help pay for a solar or wind energy course or program at a Nebraska community college, or at Solar Energy International (SEI) for an online solar course.
We will launch a fundraising drive beginning September 1, 2021 up to shortly before Earth Day 2022, or until we have raised sufficient funds for all 12 scholarships. Questions or Suggestions? Please send an email to nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com
OPPD Announces CEO Finalist
During a special board meeting this morning, the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors announced they have named a finalist to potentially lead the utility when Timothy J. Burke retires July 2. While no action was taken today, directors announced Javier Fernandez as the final candidate for the chief executive officer position. They plan to officially vote on the final CEO selection at their next monthly meeting May 20 at 5 p.m.
OPPD will host a virtual meet-and-greet event on May 10, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Registration information is coming soon and can be found on this Community Connect page: CEO Transition

Additional Recommended Reading
New Regenerative Ag Organization
Jessica Gnad, “a dedicated soil health advocate with more than a decade of experience in the food, finance, and farming industries,” heads up Great Plains Regeneration, a new alliance made up of farmers, ranchers and academics from Kansas and neighboring states. The organization’s leaders also include two Nebraskans: Graham Christensen, from Oakland, who serves on the board of directors, and Trey Blackhawk, from Winnebago, a member of the advisory board. Great Plains Regeneration’s current initiatives include: farmer/rancher-led education, watershed regeneration, regional marketplace development. Visit Great Plains Regeneration for more information.
Featured Solar Example
Valmont Industries’ 1-MW solar array at the global ompany’s manufacturing facility in Valley, Nebraska. The project is “the largest privately-owned solar field in Nebraska, spanning 4.3 acres.” Installer: Interconnection Systems Inc (ISI) based in Central City, Nebraska.
In each newsletter we feature a question and answer about renewable energy and related issues. Please send your questions to nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com

Q: I attended Kirk Estee’s virtual presentation sponsored by Nebraskans for Solar back in March. Now I want to have solar installed on my home, but I can’t find the link to the information he provided. Will you please repost it?
A: For anyone who might not know who he is: Kirk Estee is OPPD’s Customer Alternative Energy Solutions Manager. Here is the link to OPPD’s information on customer-owned generation and also LES’ and NPPD’s for others who might be interested in going solar:


If your electricity provider is another utility company, go to the website and enter "customer-owned generation" or "net metering" into the search box.

Additional Recommended Resources
Renewable Energy Jobs & Resources
Google Search

An additional search strategy is to check for jobs listings on the websites of solar and wind energy companies that have installed renewable energy projects in Nebraska.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Resources
More News & Resources

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Thank you for all you are doing to advance renewable energy in our state!