Two entrepreneurs began a solar project from the ground up, but a community effort is what's seeing it through.
Beach Solar, LLC Co-Founder Jeff Burhman and his business partner, Terry Wittler, stopped at UNO Wednesday night as part of their solar power tour. Burhman says the renewable energy source is an important topic to bring up to the masses. "This is something that is better for our future and for our kids' kids. Let's do it."
The discussion at UNO was their twelfth seminar, but Burhman says they never set out for this. "It was just something that everyone took ownership and it just kind of picked up momentum as time went on."
Burhman has lived in Capitol Beach, a neighborhood just northeast of downtown Lincoln, for eight years. He says when he got the idea to turn his house solar, the idea caught fire. "They're like, 'Oh, well when you do that let me know. I'd be interested in doing the same.' And then another neighbor said that and then after a while we're like, 'Why don't we just create a community one?”
You can see the solar farm headed east out of Lincoln on I-80, with 176 panels used to power a large portion of the neighborhood.
"The neighborhood as a whole came together and said, 'Yes, we want to do this. This is a great thing,’” said Burhman.
The rows of solar panels produce 50 kilowatts for eleven houses around Capitol Beach. The farm sustains nearly five hours of power for the homes each day. "It's definitely more sustainable than trying to recreate energy everywhere else,” said Burhman. "A way to invest long term in our community.”
"Nebraskans for Solar" say the community project is the first of its kind in the state of Nebraska.
Buhrman says there was no provision in Lincoln city code for residential solar panels before this project.