Nebraska Solar Bill Needs your support right now!!!

Posted: January 31, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hello,

This is a heads up on a solar bill, LB713, that is in the Natural Resources Committee (NRC) and may die if it does not get letters of support this week. LB713 amends the Solar Access Law in Nebraska (passed in 1979) to include solar rights for all persons in Nebraska, making it necessary for existing covenants to allow solar installations in their respective areas. There are scattered laws and variants on solar rights across the US, and if we act together we may help push for revision of our current law to reflect some of the highest possible standards in the nation. A suggested summary of talking points is listed below, please edit them to reflect your style, and if you have a personal story about your area please include it in your letter to the NRC.

This is a time when you make a difference for our state. Please write your letter today.

Points:

Restrictive covenants on neighborhoods and towns (Blair, for example) prevent people who are interested in installing solar panels, whether warm air, hot water, or photovoltaic, from being able to install them. This is not fair to those who own property in restricted areas who may not have known they were restricted when they purchased their property or only recently decided they would like to explore installing some solar panels. Adding solar rights to the current law will ensure uniform rights for all citizens across Nebraska.

Restrictive covenants thwart economic developments, it only guarantees our continued dependence on fossil fuels. Nebraska imports over 90% of its energy, while we are rated in the top 10 in the nation for wind and solar. Not having solar rights included in the solar access law prevents current and future solar developments in the state.

A fossil fuel dollar only passes through the local economy once, while a renewable energy dollar passes through the economy 8 to 11 times. We must reduce the drag on our economy from the use of fossil fuel. Every time we import energy we export investment dollars vital to fueling our economy. Passing the revision of the Solar Access Law to include solar rights for all Nebraska citizens will remove a strong obstacle to development of solar in Nebraska.

In the 1980s when renewable energy was growing steadily, thousands of people were employed in the industry across the state. Current installers are unable to work with the early adopters in the affluent neighborhoods due to restrictive covenants against solar.

By comparison, restrictive covenants like this were not allowing satellite dishes to be installed on homes. A federal law was passed to allow satellite dish installation on all homes. Nebraska has the opportunity to lead the way in what will be an eventual national law prohibiting restriction to individual solar rights.

The solar access law was passed in 1979, and was a very forward thinking piece of legislation. The hard work has been done for us, now it is up to the next generation of citizens to see that it reflects the best current forward thinking to ensure solar rights for all Nebraskans. We want solar rights written into the current solar access law.

There are 4 links for your review below. The first two are background information on LB713 and contact information for the Natural Resources Committee, and the next two are two technical information on solar rights laws if you are interested in deeper reading.

For Letters:

LB713 Background and January 18th transcript: http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/view_bill.php?DocumentID=15103

Natural Resources Committee Members and Emails: http://news.legislature.ne.gov/nat/

For Research:

http://dsireusa.org/solar/solarpolicyguide/?id=19

http://128.197.26.4/law/central/jd/organizations/journals/bulr/documents/BRONIN.pdf

Thank you for your time and consideration of support for LB713 and in supporting solar rights for all Nebraskans.

Sincerely,

Rita Corell

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