Monthly Archives: July 2016

Solar Energy Incentives

Hammond Farm.1

The 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 North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

For Nebraska, DSIRE lists 45 policy, financial incentive and grant programs, including the following for solar energy and other renewables: 

Source: DSIRE – Nebraska

Photo: 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system powers the Hammond farm operation west of Benedict. The project estimate was $84,864; however, a USDA grant and federal tax credits reduced the cost to only $19,100, with a payback of just over 6 years, after which the farm will benefit from free energy. Solar panels typically last 25 or more years. Credit: Matt Ryerson / Lincoln Journal Star
News Story: Farms flexing solar power, by Nicholas Bergin, Lincoln Journal Star

Fix-it Chick: Consider installing solar panels on your home

By Linda Cottin, Lawrence Journal-World

Shutterstoock

Installing solar panels can increase the value of your home while decreasing overall energy costs. Due to energy tax credits, low interest rates and a dramatic decrease in the cost of solar panels over the past decade, solar power is more affordable than ever before. Follow these steps to determine if solar power is right for you. Continue reading.

Shutterstock Photo

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
How Much does an Average Solar-Panel System Cost?by Vikram Aggarwal, EnergySage. Published by Mother Earth News.
If you’re shopping for a solar energy system, one of your first questions is probably, “how much will it cost?” Prices depend on the size of your system, the type of equipment you choose, and the state that you live in, but reviewing prices for a 5 kilowatt (kW) system is a great place to start – that’s the average system size in the United States. Learn more about how much a 5kW solar system costs, how much electricity a 5kW system will produce, and the smartest way to shop for solar.

How much does a PV system currently cost in Nebraska?
The average cost of a 5-kilowatt system (twenty 250-watt panels), with incentives factored in, is between $9,875 and $12,250. Incentives include the 30% federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and Lincoln Electric System’s capacity payments for south- and west-facing solar systems. A grant from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), available to farmers and rural small businesses, would provide an additional 25%, reducing the cost of a 5-kilowatt system to $7,875.

Rural Areas Benefit from new REAP Awards

Farm Energy.Org

Minden Farm

The USDA announced another round of awards for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) in mid-July, bringing benefits to 56 states and territories and to a wide range of agricultural sectors. REAP continues to help reduce costs, protect and increase jobs and to produce homegrown clean energy . . . Solar energy in rural settings continues to grow strongly with REAP with 337 awards (including hybrid technology projects) for $5 million. These projects are very diverse geographically, covering nearly all the states. They are also diverse in size, ranging from about $3,000 to $250,000. The average solar award was $15,000 . . . The award list can be found here. More award announcements will be issued in coming months.
Read the entire Farm Energy post here.

ALSO POSTED ON FARM ENERGY’S WEBSITE
Harvesting Sunshine More Lucrative Than Crops at Some U.S. Farms

Photo: This 21-kilowatt PV system on a family farm in Minden, Nebraska provides most of the farm’s energy needs. The project was partly funded by a USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant. Additional financing was obtained through the Nebraska Energy Office’s low-interest loan program for solar installations. Credit: Graham Christensen of GC Resolve

At a time when Midwest rural economies are continuing to decline, solar energy projects funded in-part by REAP grants, along with solar and wind energy development in general, provide a means to reverse this trend, contributing to the economic strength and well being of our communities.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Rural economy continues to weaken, Omaha World-Herald

Local church leads way in clean energy

The St. Louis American  St. Louis church

The strong clean energy leadership of the New Northside Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis is the focus of a video released by the Sierra Club for Netroots Nation 2016, which took place last week in St. Louis. The conference [draws]  thousands of bloggers, newsmakers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers and online activists from across the country . . . “I wanted this church to be a leader in the African-American community with regard to practicing sustainable stewardship by using the resources that we have,” said Rev. Rodrick Burton, pastor at New Northside Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. Read more.

YouTube Video: Working Together for Clean Energy in St. Louis

Missouri project may open door to agricultural PACE financing

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

fence

Property-Assessed Clean Energy funding, an increasingly popular tool for financing commercial energy upgrades, may be coming to agriculture. On Thursday morning, Show-Me PACE announced the completion of a comprehensive energy overhaul at a processor of free-range heritage hogs in southwest Missouri. The $4 million project is 10 times the size of the next-largest agricultural PACE project in the nation to date, according to PACENation, which tracks projects across the country. Click here to read more.

Photo by Kyle Spradley / Creative Commons

PACE was named one of the top 20 “world-changing” ideas by Scientific American Magazine. 

YouTube Video: PACE in 90 seconds: What is PACE financing?
PACE video

Nebraska has PACE-enabling legislation but no current financing programs. 

Why Should Only the Wealthy Get Solar Panels?

By Gillian B, White, The Atlantic

Solar panels are seen in the Palm Springs area

WASHINGTON, D.C.—For homeowners and renters, drawing energy from solar panels on their roofs can be very cost-effective: Some estimates put monthly electric-bill savings between 10 and 30 percent, and on top of that, households that install solar systems can get 30 percent of the cost as a tax credit. But for many, installing solar panels is simply not within reach: Setting up such systems can cost tens of thousands of dollars, which means that their use—and subsequent savings—are predominantly enjoyed by wealthy households. That’s why, as Washington, D.C., moves forward with its clean-energy plan—which would have at least half the city’s power coming from renewable sources by 2032—it is doing so with an eye on inequality. The city has mandated that a portion of the money set aside for solar initiatives—just under one-third—target low-income neighborhoods. Continue reading.

Photo: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters. Solar installation in the Palm Springs area, California

RELATED READING
FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Announces Clean Energy Savings for All Americans Initiative
A PV Panel On Every Roof,
William S. Becker, Executive Director, Presidential Climate Action Project, Huffington Post Blog

ADDITIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY / ENERGY EFFICIENCY NEWS
Minnesota Power Seeks Proposals for Large-Scale Wind, Solar Energy, and Customer-Driven Resources, Business Wire
A new crop is now growing in Idaho: Solar energy, Idaho Statesman
Highlights:
Idaho’s first commercial solar farm has just been built south of Boise
Five other solar farms in Southeast Idaho are are set to be completed this year
Idaho Power is proposing a community solar project in Southeast Boise
Renewable Energy Is Key to Fighting Climate Change, Natural Resources Defense Council
New program helps hospitals advance solar beyond their campuses, Midwest Energy News
5 Common Myths About Residential Solar, Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
In Texas, 1 company is making rooftop solar work without net mtering, Utility Dive
SEIA Releases New Guide to Land Leases for Solar
US moves up in ACEEE world efficiency rankings, but still plenty of room for improvement: The U.S. is ranked #8 in the ACEEE rankings, up from #13 two years ago, Utility Dive

U.S. Wind Energy Industry Booming

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) published the US Wind Industry Second Quarter 2016 Market Report this week, revealing continuing strong growth in the industry. During the second quarter, a total of 169 wind turbines were installed over four states, with Texas installing 200 MW, followed by Kansas with 72 MW, Nebraska with 36 MW, and one turbine installed in Iowa.

AWEA

”There’s never been a better time to buy American wind energy,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA.

“Smart utilities and other customers are locking in prices at record lows by starting construction this year to qualify for the full-value PTC. The industry is thriving thanks to policy stability, and we appreciate support from champions in Congress for a multi-year extension of the PTC. Wind power supports 88,000 well-paying jobs, and the wind turbine technician is the fastest growing profession in the U.S. This is what an efficient, performance-driven policy delivers – more low-cost clean energy and the American jobs that make it happen.”

PTC: Production Tax Credit

U.S. Wind Industry Second Quarter 2016 Market Report, American Wind Energy Association.
Click here to download the non-member version of the report. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
AWEA: Wind industry set to provide 20% of US power by 2030, Utility Dive
MidAmerican Energy reaches settlement to move 2 GW wind farm forward, Utility Dive
 Alliant to invest $1 billion in Iowa wind energy, The Gazette

PACE Innovators ‘Beat the Street’ with Explosive Growth in Clean Energy Financing

By Terri Steele, Principal, SolarSavvy Communications / Published by Renewable Energy World
pacenation-logo
At a time when investors are skittish over market volatility, they couldn’t be more bullish on the economic potential of renewables, in particular a form of clean energy financing known as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). PACE allows residential and commercial property owners to finance 100 percent of over 60 categories of renewable energy, energy efficiency and water conservation improvements with no money down, no FICO score requirements or encumbrance of personal or business credit. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Nebraska lawmakers pass PACE bill to open up efficiency, renewable generation, Utility Dive

PACENation is an association of people and organizations who are joined in their support for PACE financing. Members may have different individual goals, but they share a desire to create energy and resource efficient communities.

PACENation members:

  • Believe PACE is a powerful tool for making buildings more energy and resource efficient,
  • Strive to create a vibrant market in which PACE financing is universally available and understood by market participants,
  • Acknowledge that by helping others they help themselves,
  • Promise to support, to the extent possible, the passage of PACE

To learn more about PACE, visit PACENation’s website: www.pacenation.us

White House plan to boost EV adoption includes $4.5B in loan guarantees

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive
A charging station for electric cars. To fight the 'war on

The White House has unveiled a plan to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, including making available up to $4.5 billion in loan guarantees and inviting applications to support the commercial-scale deployment of charging infrastructure. The plan also calls for identifying zero emission and alternative fuel corridors, and studying where a national network of electric vehicle fast charging stations should be located. President Obama’s plan also calls for state, county and municipal governments to partner with the federal government to procure electric vehicle fleets at a discounted value. Continue reading.

 Photo: Getty Images

ALSO IN THE NEWS
The annual “National Drive Electric Week” is coming up in September. Click here to learn more.
Making The Cloud Green: Tech Firms Push for Renewable Energy Sources, Nebraska Public Radio
Minnesota first state in US to adopt ‘value of solar’ approach for community solar, PV-Tech
SunShot Programs Bring Solar Energy Basics to Real Estate, SunShot Initiative Blog
City Power Play Report: Part 1 – Municipal Utilities, Renewable Energy World
How Popular Is Home Solar Energy? Wall Street Journal

Dageforde Net-Zero Solar Home Tour

Please join Nebraskans for Solar this Wednesday, July 27th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for the tour!
Where: 11672 Old Mill Drive – Blair, Nebraska

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Our Tour Guide will be Darren Dageforde, Executive Director of Utilities & Energy Utilization, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Refreshments will be served.

Click here for additional details, including the home’s features that will be highlighted during the tour, driving directions,
and carpooling information.