Monthly Archives: April 2016

A graduate’s view of the Solar Ready Vets training schools

By Danielle Ola, PV Tech

PV TechSolar Ready Vets is a four to six week intensive programme of PV training and coursework which incorporates classroom, field and preparation time for a career in the solar industry as installers, sales representatives, managers, system inspectors and a whole host of other solar-related roles. The programme runs on a mutually beneficial arrangement; connecting exiting military personnel to civilian job training, allowing them to gain invaluable employment skills training and exciting work experience opportunities including apprenticeships and internships up to six months prior to their separation. In exchange, the solar industry in the US has a steady stream of disciplined, motivated and technically astute graduates to contribute to the rapidly expanding solar energy industry.  A recent graduate of the programme, Logan Rozanski, spoke to PV Tech about his experience . . . Read more here.

Nebraska’s Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Law

One FAQ at Earth Day events from visitors to our booths was about Nebraska’s recently passed Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) law. Below, is information from DSIRE; more will be posted, particularly financing agencies and their locations, as these details become available.
DSIRE-logoThe Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Nebraska’s PACE Guidelines 

  • Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies
    Solar – Passive, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Geothermal Electric, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Wind (All), Biomass, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Combined Heat & Power, Landfill Gas, Daylighting, Solar Pool Heating, Wind (Small), Geothermal Direct-Use, Anaerobic Digestion, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels, Other Distributed Generation Technologies Water conservation and pollution control facilities.
  • Eligible Efficiency Technologies
    Lighting, Lighting Controls/Sensors, Heat pumps, Air conditioners, Heat recovery, Energy Mgmt. Systems/Building Controls, Caulking/Weather-stripping, Duct/Air sealing, Building Insulation, Windows, Doors, Yes; specific technologies not identified, Insulation, Reflective Roofs, LED Lighting
  • Applicable Sectors
    Commercial, Industrial, Local Government, Residential, Federal Government, Multifamily Residential
  • Terms
     PACE bonds are capped at $5 million unless approved by referendum.

Summary
Nebraska’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Act was signed on April 13, 2016. This law allows municipalities to create clean energy assessment districts. Municipalities that create such districts may enter into contracts with qualifying property owners and (if participating) third-party financiers to provide financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on the qualifying property. The projects are paid back through assessments on the owner’s property taxes.

DSIRE information last updated April 26, 2016 by David Sarkisian

Click here for additional information on Nebraska PACE financing and 46 more state incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Nebraska hopes to close efficiency gap with PACE legislation, Midwest Energy News
Two PACE funders – PACE Equity, which mostly deals with commercial projects, and Renovate America – which funds residential projects, have expressed interest in bringing Nebraska’s PACE program to fruition, said Elizabeth Hertzler, a legislative aide to Sen. Mello.

A Switch to Wind Energy Could Save 1.9 Billion Gallons of Water

Center for Rural Affairs
By Lauren Kolojejchick-Kotch, Center for Rural Affairs

Nebraska relies heavily on coal to generate electricity in the state, even though we rank 4th in the nation for wind energy potential and 13th for solar power potential. These resources could easily play a larger role in our energy portfolio. Especially since demand for electricity generated from these energy resources is growing dramatically from individual customers and regional markets. Read more here. 

Image credit: Virginia Wolking, former staff member at the Center for Rural Affairs

The Intertribal Council On Utility Policy: Tribes Building Sustainable Homeland Economies

Debbie Sandia Tribal SolarFrom the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy’s Home Page
Up to ninety cents of every dollar the Tribes spend on energy leaves immediately- lost forever to all of the economic leverage and benefits this money could create within tribal communities. Reservations deeply need to preserve their scarce financial assets, and having these disappear to distant corporations and foreign lands due to poorly insulated buildings presents a major energy and fund wasting problem.

Intertribal COUP and partners are working to convert these energy problems into solid opportunities to build tribal energy independence and greater economic strength. Our solutions include creating new energy efficient structures made from local straw bale construction materials and built by Tribal College faculty and students through a ‘Train the Trainer’ program teaching specific straw bale building skills and techniques.

Intertribal COUP is also building capacity for energy audits and retro-fits of structures that waste energy and deplete community assets.

To learn more about ICOUP and DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, visit:
Intertribal Council on Utility Policy (ICOUP)
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED VIEWING & READING
YouTube Video: Investing in Tribal Success: DOE’s Tribal Energy Deployment Program
U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs: Strengthening Tribal Communities, Sustaining Future Generations (PDF)

Christopher Clark Deschene
“Within every challenge lie the seeds of opportunity, and I believe tribes are well-positioned to cultivate those seeds through visionary leadership and strategic energy planning.”
– Christopher Clark Deschene, Director, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy


Ho-Chunk, Incorporated’s initiative in Winnebago, Nebraska provides an excellent example of tribal renewable energy development in our state.
Ho-Chunk Inc
Nebraska’s first tracking solar system and now one of a growing number of solar installations throughout the innovative and award-winning Ho-Chunk Village – Winnebago, Nebraska.
From Ho-Chunk, Inc’s Green Energy Program Description: “Because of our Native heritage, we have a commitment to conserve and protect our natural resources for future generations. That traditional belief is coupled with cutting edge technology to create renewable energy sources on the Winnebago reservation.”
Ho-Chunk, Inc.’s Green Energy Initiative 
Ho-Chunk Village Tour 
2014 Ho-Chunk Inc. Story Video 
 

lancemorganLance Morgan is President and Chief Executive Officer of Ho-Chunk, Incorporated. He launched Ho-Chunk, Inc. in 1994 as the economic development corporation for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.  During his association with Ho-Chunk, Inc. he has directed the development of 30 subsidiaries with operations throughout the United States and in five foreign countries.

Source: Corporate Management, Ho-Chunk, Inc.

Free Nebraska Workshops for innovative Clean Energy Businesses

SBV_Logo

Speaker: Matthew Ringer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden Colorado

Eligible small businesses with 500 employees or less can request a voucher for use at a National Laboratory valued between $50,000 and $300,000. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is putting the world-class resources of the national labs at your fingertips with the Small Business Vouchers Pilot.

Through 2016, EERE is providing up to $20 million in vouchers so that small businesses can request technical assistance from national labs to help bring the next generation of clean technologies to market.

Visit www.sbv.org to learn more about the program and to find out if your business qualifies. For agenda and registration, visit the website listed below. Questions about the workshops? Contact Doris Jansky at 402-471-3538 or Wei Jing at 402-554-6270.

FREE registration at http://bit.ly/26aANou

Click here to download the Nebraska Energy Office’s flyer, which provides a list of the R&D areas included in the program, workshop dates, locations, and registration deadlines.

New SolSmart No-Cost Program Helps Communities To Go Solar & Reduce Costs

SolSmart-logoThe International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and The Solar Foundation (TSF) recently announced the launch of the SolSmart program, SolSmart is a national recognition and a no-cost technical assistance program for local governments designed to drive greater solar deployment and help make it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access affordable and renewable solar energy to meet their electricity needs.

The SolSmart designation program, coupled with robust and agile technical assistance, will spur communities across the country to earn recognition for achievements that distinguish them from their peers as they become more solar-friendly, and in doing so, ignite local solar markets while establishing consistency in solar practices across the country.

SolSmart supports the goals of the SunShot Initiative to make it faster, cheaper, and easier to go solar.

SolSmart Program

“Why going green is growing on U.S. farmers” – Nebraskans on PBS NewsHour

Greg BrummondHARI SREENIVASAN: Even with advances in technology, farmers are continuing to look for ways to cut energy costs. Fuel and electricity are the main big-ticket items, but there are others.

From Harvest Public Media in Nebraska, Grant Gerlock looks at some of the many ways farmers are trying to keep fossil fuel usage down in the cornfield.

Watch the broadcast here.

Photo: Greg Brummond in Craig, Nebraska now powers half his corn and soybean farm with solar energy.  Credit: Brian Seifferlein, Harvest Public Media

Nebraska Eases Wind Power Regulations, Some Landowners Have Concerns

NET : wind turbineBy Ariana Brocious, Nebraska Public Radio (NPR) / PBS

The Nebraska Legislature recently passed a bill to ease regulations for wind power.  The change could affect wind energy in the state, but there are still other factors challenging renewable energy projects.

For years Nebraska wind energy proponents have lamented the fact that the state lags so far behind its neighbors in producing wind power. Kansas and Iowa have installed four to five times the amount of wind energy capacity as Nebraska—even though Nebraska is consistently ranked among the top states for wind power potential. A new law seeks to change that.

“It’s really a reduction of paperwork,” said Rich Lombardi, a lobbyist with the Wind Coalition, which represents wind developers and trade groups. Read or listen to the entire story here.

Top Photo Credit: Ariana Brocious, NET News

Community Storage Initiative touts diverse backers, including EEI, NRECA, APPA

MicrogridBy Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Advocates for utility-sponsored programs that aggregate electricity storage resources like water heaters or electric vehicles announced new support for the Community Storage Initiative on Monday from key stakeholder groups, including national utility trade associations, environmental groups, and manufacturers.

Over a dozen major utilities signed on to the initiative’s guiding principles and plan for practical steps to increase energy storage availability. With more energy storage available on the grid, initiative backers say, variable renewables will be more viable and electricity delivery to customers more efficient and cost-effective. Read more here. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA): Community Storage Gains Key Support from Electric Trade Associations, Environmental Advocates, Utilities and Manufacturers.

Microgrid Image Credit: Wiki.floksociety.org

UNMC and Nebraska Medicine Reduce Energy Use by 25 Percent

UNMC-LogoHealth News Digest – Imagine cutting 25 percent energy consumption from your home. It’s a tall order for a residence, but even more so when your ‘home’ spans more than 100 acres. That’s why the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and its primary clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine, are proud of having reached its energy reduction goals. The medical center’s main campus at 42nd and Emile streets used 25 percent less energy in 2015 than it did five years ago, despite adding more square footage to campus. This conservatively equates to more than $10 million in money the medical center would have had to spend, said Chad Doane, director of strategic energy initiatives at UNMC. Continue reading.