Monthly Archives: February 2018

Nebraska’s Three Major Utilities’ Community Solar Programs

OPPD’s Proposed Community Solar

On February 13th OPPD posted an update on their website about the utility’s proposed community solar program, including background information, proposed program highlights, and information on how a participant’s monthly solar charge would be calculated.

NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar

SunWise is a community solar program available in participating Nebraska Public Power District retail communities. Eligible customers have the opportunity to use solar energy to partially power their homes and businesses without the need to invest in a rooftop or home-based system. 

  • Current Participating Communities
    Venango – fully subscribed
    Scottsbluff – Pilot project fully subscribed. NPPD and the City of Scottsbluff are now working on a 5-megawatt project. Source: Nebraska Communities Embrace Solar, NET
    Kearney – shares available
    Kearney Community Solar Q&A
  • Customers living in other communities served by NPPD may request community solar for their town or city by submitting the online form available at the link, below. NPPD serves 80 communities throughout Nebraska.
    Request community solar in your community.

LES SunShares Community Solar Program


Generating 5 megawatts of solar energy, the LES community solar facility is the largest and first utility-scale solar installation in Nebraska, as well as one of the largest in the region.

The project was developed by Enerparc, and LES contracted for all energy produced by the facility. The installation, located at Northwest 75th and West Holdrege streets, uses 15,333 solar panels to produce enough energy to power 900 typical homes in Lincoln. Enerparc began construction in March 2016, and the solar facility went online in June 2016. At the time of its completion, over 1,200 residential and business customers voluntarily contributed funds through the LES SunShares program to help support a portion of the facility. Businesses enrolled in LES SunShares
Source: LES Community Solar Facility
LES Community Solar Brochure
Lincoln Electric System’s Sustainable Energy Program

Links to more Nebraska communities’ completed solar projects or plans, and general community solar information sources are available here:
Resources For Nebraska Communities Considering A Community Solar Project

Bipartisan congressional solar caucus coalesces after tariff decision

By Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi (D) and Ralph Norman (R) have founded what appears to be the first solar-specific caucus in Congress . . . The Solar Caucus will work on a bipartisan basis to find common ground to tackle issues facing solar business and communities,” Krishnamoorthi said. “We will raise awareness for how policymakers, business leaders, and academic experts can work together to foster jobs, growth, and America’s leadership in the solar industry.”
Read more here.

Photo: Congress – Wikimedia Commons

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Engie’s North American subsidiary has acquired wind and solar developer Infinity Renewables and its 8GW-plus pipeline

By Craig Richard, Wind Power Monthly

Engie North America said it intends to retain Infinity’s entire workforce and work alongside the developer to build, own and operate its pipeline of 24 projects in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas. Read more here.

Public Domain Photo of a Hybrid Renewable Energy Project

NEBRASKA WIND PROJECTS IN ENGIE NORTH AMERICA’S PORTFOLIO

  • In the pipeline: Little Blue. Projected Size: 250 MW
  • In operation: Cottonwood, 115 MW and Steele Flats, 74 MW

Fremont moves forward on second solar farm due to high demand

By James Farrell, Fremont Tribune

Before Fremont’s first-ever community solar farm has produced a kilowatt of energy for its pioneering subscribers, the city has started seeking a contractor for a second farm. That’s because of the overflowing demand from residents who couldn’t get spots in the first farm, which is filled to capacity, according to Troy Schaben, assistant city administrator of utilities . . . The city put out a Request for Proposals for the new farm on Feb. 14 with a March 2 deadline for submissions. A contract should be doled out by the middle of March or beginning of April, Schaben said. The city hopes to have the second farm online by the beginning of October.
Learn more here.

Photos Courtesy of Troy Schaben, Assistant City Administrator, Fremont Department of Utilities: Fremont’s First Solar Farm and Inverter Station

FREMONT SCHOOLS & COMMUNITY SOLAR
When asked in an email if local schools may participate in Fremont’s Community Solar Program, Mr. Schaben replied, “While they did not participate in this phase of the solar farm, they were eligible to participate.”

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Save the Date! Avoiding the Growing Pains of Community Solar – SEPA Webinar Includes Fremont’s Program: April 5, 2018 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. Speakers will include Brian Newton, City of Fremont Administrator and Fremont Department of Utilities Manager. Click here for additional details.

New Bill Aims to Give Calif. Businesses, Schools and Nonprofits More Access to Solar Energy: Will bring thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in investment to state

SEIA Press Release

SACRAMENTO, Calif. and WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 20, 2018) – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) commended legislation filed in the California Legislature on Friday that would make it easier for businesses, schools, nonprofits and municipalities to access solar energy. In turn, this will help generate thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars of investment in the state . . . The legislation expands access to offsite solar projects for non-residential customers, by allowing them to partner with already-developed sites – such as parking lots, warehouses, brownfields and landfills – and use those sites for solar energy that the local community can access. Read the entire release here.

New Website Launched – Husker Power Plan.Org

Written by Matt Gregory, Clean Energy Advocate,
Nebraska Wildlife Federation

Last month, an informal coalition known as Clean Energy Nebraska, which includes Nebraska Wildlife Federation, officially released a state clean energy plan – the Husker Power Plan. The plan is so named as it calls for using in-state resources including higher levels of wind, solar, and energy efficiency than are currently planned.

Duane Hovorka, former Executive Director of Nebraska Wildlife Federation, was the main writer of the plan. Other contributors included Janece Molhoff of the League of Women Voters, former Lincoln Electric System board chair Marilyn McNabb and Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen.

“Overall, this is a plan for moving Nebraska further down the path to a clean energy future. It’s affordable, doable and continuing the progress that our public power utilities are currently making, ” Hovorka said.

The Husker Power Plan has been analyzed by energy consultants Anna Sommer, Tyler Comings and Elizabeth Stanton who found that the plan will reduce carbon pollution by 58% over five years compared to business as usual. The Husker Power Plan has been endorsed by eleven organizations so far, including Nebraskans for Solar.

The Husker Power Plan, the consultants’ report, and information about endorsing it can be found at huskerpowerplan.org.

Matt Gregory: matt@nebraskawildlife.org

Shopping Mall Solar Install Uses Bifacial PV Panels

By Dan McCue, Renewable Energy Magazine

The system is reportedly the largest commercial rooftop Solar PV installation in Hanford and the largest solar system to be installed, to date, on a shopping mall in the state. The system is estimated to generate almost 3,000,000 kWh of electricity annually – enough energy to serve approximately 450 homes. Learn more here.

YouTube Video: Click here for an aerial view of the bifacial solar panels on the Hanford, California Shopping Mall.

Photo: University of California, Berkeley’s Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation in the College of Engineering. Credit: Sunpreme

NEBRASKA PROJECTS USING BIFACIAL SOLAR PANELS

Henry Doorly Zoo Solar Shade Canopy

Morrissey Engineering worked to develop and engineer this project and SWT Energy was the prime installer. It is located at the Africa Exhibit Skyfari lift landing. This project used bifacial panels that are glass on top and bottom and can actually convert a portion of bottom-side light reflected off surrounding surfaces into additional power. The panels have a 300W rating without the boost from the underside and there are 80 in total.

 Custom Solar Canopy

This custom-designed canopy by Dixon Power Systems features glass-on-glass bifacial solar modules allowing sunlight to pass through individual solar cells, harvesting sunlight on both sides. Integrated into the homeowners’ deck, the canopy provides shade similar to standing under a tree. The structure is made from cedar with steel brackets that are also custom designed and built by Dixon Power Systems.

BCSE releases 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook: More good news for wind

By Greg Alvarez, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) released its 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook [February 15th], and the findings show more good news for wind power. Notably, BCSE found wind and solar capacity has increased 471 percent since 2008. Even better, Americans are spending the smallest percentage of their income on electricity than at any other time on record. Electricity as a whole is down to 1.3 percent of consumer spending from 2.3 percent in the mid-eighties, proving that adding more renewables doesn’t take a toll on the wallet. That’s because wind’s costs are down 66 percent since 2009, and in many parts of the country, it’s now the cheapest source of new electric generating capacity.
Read more here.

Morrissey Engineering takes diligent approach to “being green”

By Kevin Warneke, Omaha World-Herald

Morrissey Engineering takes sustainability seriously, said founding principal George
Morrissey . . .  “When we decided to build new in 2008, we knew that sustainability had to be featured throughout the building,” Morrissey said. The return on that investment came when the company earned platinum, or top, certification for its environmental performance from the U.S. Green Building Council. Read the entire article here.

See Also: 

Jared Friesen, Renewable Energy Specialist and Electrical Project Manager at Morrissey Engineering, is a Nebraskans for Solar board member and the organization’s immediate past president.

Free Microgrid Knowledge Newsletter & Additional Resources

Microgrid Knowledge provides news and resources on microgrids and distributed energy resources. Their audience includes energy businesses, organizations and policymakers, along with customers who use microgrids and distributed energy — or are considering doing so.

Visit their website to explore articles and white papers. Subscribe to their free Microgrid Knowledge Newsletter.

Additional  Resources Include

Photo by Brent Pernak: Solar canopy installation is well underway at the Public Safety Headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The project broke ground in July 2017, and completion is expected by winter 2018.
Source: Microgrid to Ensure ‘Resiliency’ for Emergency Services. The Town Courier Gaithersburg