Monthly Archives: October 2017

Solar co-op innovator expanding nationwide, aims to empower homeowners

By Jim Pierobon, Southeast Energy News

A solar advocate who found a way to create bulk-purchase discounts for home rooftop systems is growing it into a national movement to assert what she feels are the rights of system owners.

What launched as the Community Power Network in 2007 in the Washington, DC, home of Anya Schoolman is expanding under a new name – Solar United Neighbors (SUN). The new organization is targeting, Florida, Pennsylvania and other states by year’s end, with a goal of establishing operations in at all 50 states by the end of 2018. Click here to continue reading.

Photo by Solar United Neighbors


‘Landmark’ decision casts youth as official intervenors in pipeline case

By Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

It’s rare to see millennials attending a PUC hearing, or even someone not on the payroll of an organization involved in the process. But administrative law judge Ann O’Reilly accepted the argument by Youth Climate Intervenors that their generation will disproportionately feel the burden of climate change.

“In a landmark decision she granted us standing,” said Akilah Sanders-Reed, the 23-year-old who founded the group. “She acknowledged we (young people) had a stake in it and that we deserved a seat at the table. What that means is that the Youth Climate Intervenors have the same rights in that courtroom as Enbridge Energy does.” Read more here.


Second Solar Group Buy Meeting November 8th

Please join us for the next Solar Group Buy Meeting
November 8, 2017 at 7 p.m.
UNO’s Community Engagement Center
Combined Rooms 201 and 205

Two brief panel presentations, each followed by a major Q&A session, are planned for the second meeting of the greater-Omaha-area Solar Group Buy. One panel of local energy efficiency experts will discuss numerous ways to save energy and money, from the free and inexpensive steps you can take to the more expensive. Conserving energy will reduce the size solar system required to meet the electricity needs of a home or business.

Solar installers will make up a second panel of experts. They will briefly introduce themselves and then open the discussion to attendees’ questions. Included, too, will be a demonstration of the ConnectDER, available incentives, a discussion of the inspection process required by OPPD, the solar installation permit, and banks and other lending agencies that provide loans for energy efficiency upgrades and solar energy projects. Solar Ambassadors, those who have already installed solar, will also be present to add to the discussion and answer questions.

Optional items to bring to the meeting:

  • photo of your roof or other proposed solar installation site
  • rooftop checklist – See the Solar Group Buy PowerPoint. A separate checklist will be added soon to the resources, below.
  • OPPD bills showing your usage over the past months


New connection technology is cutting cost of solar installation, by Karen Uhlenhuth,
Midwest Energy News

Please join us and contribute to the discussion! Refreshments will be provided. 

Smart Energy event will focus on ‘changing times,’ electric vehicles and renewable energy

 By Elizabeth Rembert, Omaha World-Herald

The event comes as the area faces an imminent transition. We want to give people the security in knowing that Nebraska is a leader in modern energy. And that by seeing that leadership, people can feel supported in their own renewable energy decisions. We’re all moving in the right direction.  

– Anne McCollister, Executive Director of the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance

Read the entire article here to learn more about Smart Energy Talks. A Virtual Solar Tour of local installations in the greater Omaha area also will be a part of the event.

Photo: Electric vehicle event in Central City, Nebraska. Anne McCollister, far right.

Moniz: Utilities should prepare for very low carbon future

Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

While the Trump Administration is taking a number of steps to bolster coal-fired generation and rescind climate regulations, electric utilities should prepare for a very low-carbon future, former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told Utility Dive at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas last week.

Despite the White House’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, “there is no going back on the fight against climate and the innovation prize is enormous,” Moniz said. “We are talking about multi-trillion-dollar markets. The real issue is that the U.S. needs to capture a big part of that market to keep its innovation edge.” Click here to read more.


Native American Leaders Meet In Milwaukee, Push For Climate Action

By Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

Native American leaders meeting in Milwaukee this week at the convention of the National Congress of American Indians are asking the Trump administration to do more to combat climate change. Tribal leaders speaking at the conference say recent wildfires and hurricanes that have destroyed housing and other resources are a sign of rising global temperatures, and that federal action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is needed.

[The article features the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe, as well as the Oneida, Ho-Chunk and Menominee Tribes as several examples of Native Americans’ leadership on climate action]. Read more here.

Photo: Tribal art on display at the National Congress of American Indians convention in Milwaukee. Chuck Quirmbach / Wisconsin Public Radio


Facebook to tap the wind for power to Papillion plant


Facebook says the company worked with OPPD and Tradewind Energy to partner on a large new wind farm, known as the Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project. The project is located in Dixon County, Nebraska, about 100 miles from the data center. It’s expected to create up to 300 additional construction jobs. Read more here.

Tradewind Energy Photo: The Facebook Data Center in Papillion will be powered 100% by renewable energy, with 200MW sourced from the 320MW Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project.

Tradewind Energy Information on the Rattlesnake Creek Project

  • More than 100 landowners and over 32,000 acres will be involved in the project. The project will take a minimal amount of acreage (1% to 2%) out of service, including land for roads, turbine foundations, and maintenance buildings.
  • The project’s construction and operation will utilize a considerable amount of local materials and labor providing both short term and long term economic benefits.


New connection technology is cutting cost of solar installation

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

ConnectDER, as it’s known, generally eliminates the need to enter a home and it greatly reduces the amount of electrical work required. “It allows you to inject the solar on the customer side of the meter prior to getting into the home,” said Michael Shonka, a solar installer who has put the new equipment in a half-dozen homes in the Omaha area.  “This means we can cut out $1,000 to $2,000 worth of cost in the system because you don’t need electricians to go through foundations trying to get to the service panel, and you don’t need to rearrange the panel.” Read more here.

Photo: The ConnectDER device allows a solar array to be connected directly to the meter, eliminating the need for electrical work inside the home.

Midwestern poultry farmers cut bills in half with new heating system: Maintaining a tropical temperature for his turkeys, even through a Nebraska winter, used to cost Bill Bevans in the neighborhood of $60,000 annually. Not any longer.

Chadron explores solar project

By Kerri Rempp, Rapid City Journal

Chadron could become the next community in the state to implement a community solar program if it can generate enough interest and locate land for the project that fits within its budgetary constraints. The council discussed the idea with Terry Rajewich of the Nebraska Public Power District Monday . . . More than 150 homes are included on a list presented to NPPD as potential community solar customers. “That is phenomenal,” Rajewich said, who later added that she handles more inquiries about solar energy from Chadron than anywhere else in her service area. Read more here.

Photo: The City of Chadron is exploring the idea of a community solar farm like this one.

Solar energy talks happening in Fremont and Omaha

By Sam Pimper, Fremont Tribune

From 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, those gathering at Keene Memorial Library will listen to City Administrator Brian Newton, along with Michael Shonka, another Nebraska solar power advocate, speak about various topics surrounding the Fremont project and solar energy as a whole.

Those unable to attend the Thursday conversation are invited to attend a Smart Energy Talks Nebraska presentation happening from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the University of Nebraska at Omaha inside of the Milo Bail Student Center. Click here to read more.

Fremont Solar Rountable
Keene Memorial Library
1030 N Broad Street
Fremont, Nebraska 68025
Questions? Contact organizers:
Jamison Wills or
Nic Nealy
Nebraska Conservation Education Fund

Top Photo: Telesis Inc solar array in Lincoln. The Fremont Community Solar Farm, under construction on a 10-acre plot of land located south of Jack Sutton Drive, will consist of approximately 5,000 panels and will be operational by the end of 2017. Credit: Lincoln Journal Star