Collin Nabity solar panel

Solar panel owner Collin Nabity checks his electrical meter, which was running in reverse Tuesday afternoon, when skies were sunny.

KEARNEY — Collin Nabity steps out of the sun, turns the corner into the shade on the back of his house and explains the electrical installation on the wall of his garage.

There is the usual meter, and also a pair of boxes. One box inverts the energy piping in from Nabity’s roof-top solar panels from direct current to alternating current. The second box is an on-off switch.

Nabity points at the meter. “See, it’s running backwards.”

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He said on sunny days, the panels are doing exactly what he bought them to do — saving him money.

“Anybody who has the opportunity ought to do this,” he said. “I’m looking at a 10 percent to 12 percent return on investment.”

The panels and other equipment are worth about $20,000, he said.

Nabity, who owns the Chicken Coop restaurant and bar in downtown Kearney, said he purchased the panels through Anderson Bros. Electric Plumbing & Heating, and that they were installed about three months ago.

Through three billing cycles, Nebraska Public Power District credited his bill for two months and on the third month — because cloudy skies reduced the output of his panels — his bill was 95 cents.

“I am plus $33 credit to my account,” he said.