Monthly Archives: April 2018

Farms finding advantage in going solar

By Kathleen Clark, My Journal Courier

It’s a site becoming more common throughout Illinois: solar panels. Some are on roofs, others on pedestals in open areas. These large panels are helping their owners be thrifty on their power bills as the state strives to become more dependent on renewable energy. Not only can they be found in residential areas, but also on commercial buildings and businesses.
Read more here.

Photo: The Hammond Farm, by Matt Ryerson, Lincoln Journal Star

See “Solar Examples” for photos and descriptions of the following Nebraska farms and ranches that are powered by solar energy:

Beller Farm Near Lindsay, Blakeman Ranch in Custer County, Brummond Farm, Deblauw Family Farm in Hartington, Family Farm Just Outside the Village of Craig, Family Farm in Minden, Greisen Farms in Platte Center, Hammond Farm, Jenkins Ranch Near Callaway, Knopik Farm Near Belgrade, Kruger Farm South of Lake Minitare, Kush Farm in Monroe, Liebig Farms in Platte Center, Meristem Organic Farm and Nursery in Papillion, Pandorf Land & Cattle Company Ranch Northwest of Callaway, Powell Farm and  Richards Farm, both near Oakland.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

SOLAR GROUP BUY / SOLARIZE NEWS & RESOURCES

Solarize Metro East builds on past successes with more solar energy, The Telegraph

Resources for Organizing a Solar Group Buy or Solarize Program in Your Community

NEW REPORTS

COMMUNITY SOLAR RESOURCES

LMI SOLAR RESOURCES

Recognizing the Contributions of Nebraska Businesses to our Local Energy Economy During National Small Business Week

April 29-May 5 is National Small Business Week. The event provides an opportunity to highlight the contributions to our local energy economy made by Nebraska businesses that have invested in solar technology and have helped to grow the number of clean energy jobs in our state.

The twenty-nine businesses and farms featured in our “Solar Examples” in alphabetical order, from the Beller Farm near Lindsay to the Total Manufacturing Company’s office in Lincoln, vary in size, but all of them are setting inspiring examples for others in their communities and in our state.

As some of the owners have expressed in newspaper and broadcast media interviews, their decision to “go solar” is also benefitting them and their families, reducing energy costs in their business or farm operations, while also protecting the environment where they live and work.

There has never been a better time for Nebraska businesses to invest in solar energy systems. Taking advantage of available incentives, rebates, grants and equipment depreciation can cut the cost by half or even more. Below, are links to information sources, which can also be downloaded as a PDF here.

Photo: MSS Enterprise Near Cozad, Nebraska

Solar Energy Resources for Nebraska Businesses

Check out our Directory: Nebraska Solar Businesses

Incentives & Rebates

Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) – Federal Incentive: Currently 30%

Lincoln Electric System: Customer-Owned Renewable Generation Rebate Program
Southern-facing fixed solar: $375/kW-DC of nameplate capacity
Western-facing fixed solar: $475/kW-DC of nameplate capacity
Single or dual tracking solar: $475/kW-DC of nameplate capacity

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants & Loans

Small businesses in eligible rural areas and agricultural producers, both rural and non-rural, who have at least 50% of their gross income coming from agricultural operations, may apply. Check eligible business addresses. REAP grants provide up to 25% of the total project costs, and a grant and loan combination up to 75%. Eligible projects include renewable energy systems and the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements. See REAP Fact Sheet for a complete list of eligible projects.
Nebraska REAP Program
Jeff Carpenter
Nebraska Rural Development Energy Coordinator
Telephone: 402-437-5554
Email: Jeff.Carpenter@ne.usda.gov

Depreciation Resources

Loans

See “Solar Examples” for photos and descriptions of Nebraska businesses that are powered by solar.

The innovations just keep coming in the corporate-utility deal space

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

The newest innovation may be the biggest. So far, it is simply an ongoing conversation between multi-jurisdictional, vertically-integrated utilities and core members of the WRI corporate buyers group. But according to Southern Company VP for Energy Policy Bruce Edelston, it “is much bigger and broader than green tariffs.”

Click map to enlarge it.

This new WRI-led forum is called the Clean Power Council (CPC). Its purpose is “an efficient and economic transition to clean energy resources,” WRI says. It is intended to go beyond renewable energy “to enable technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while growing businesses.”  Read more here.

World Resources Institute:
The scale of the CPC membership, and potential impact, is illustrated in the CPC Utility Member Service Territories map above. WRI also coordinates this work with complementary efforts underway within the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). Together the REBA network aims to enable companies to buy 60 gigawatts of renewable energy in the US by 2025.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Solar, Wind Provided Nearly All New Electric Generating Capacity In January, February, Solar Industry Magazine 

Residential solar power grows 11% in Q1 2018

By John Weaver, PV Magazine USA

Residential solar power grows 11% in Q1 2018

Of potential interest to Nebraska Solar Installers – In his article John Weaver references the following report:

The customer has spoken – 74% want energy storage

John Weaver is a solar developer and installer. He has sold and managed 50+ solar projects, ranging in size from 5kW to 1500kW, totaling over $25 million. More articles from John Weaver

Wells Fargo, NextEra Energy Join to Boost Clean Energy in California, Indiana, Nebraska

Business Wire Release

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Following Wells Fargo’s (NYSE: WFC) $200-billion low-carbon commitment announced last week, its Renewable Energy and Environmental Finance unit today announced the completion of $70 million in tax-equity funding for the Pacific Plains wind projects, including facilities in Indiana, Nebraska, and California. Over the past decade, Wells Fargo has teamed with NextEra Energy on 14 wind projects throughout the U.S. that will collectively generate more than 5 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean energy each year. NextEra Energy, North America’s largest renewable-energy power company, developed and built the Pacific Plains wind projects and also operates and manages the new facilities that supply power to local utilities, including:

  • 120-megawatt (MW) Bluff Point wind facility in Jay and Randolph Counties, Indiana
  • 90-MW Cottonwood wind facility in Webster County, Nebraska
  • 46-MW Golden Hills North wind facility in Livermore, California

Read the entire news release here.

Photo: Cottonwood 1 Wind Farm in Webster County, Nebraska

ARCHIVED ARTICLE ON WELLS FARGO’S CLEAN ENERGY COMMITMENT 

Wells Fargo global operations powered by 100% renewables

MORE ON CLEAN ENERGY FINANCING

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

MORE NATIONAL NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

Overheard at the Energy Storage Association Annual Conference

NextEra moves deeper into solar power and solar plus storage

This Untapped Market Could Add 320 Gigawatts Of New U.S. Residential Solar Energy

By Silvio Marcacci, Communications Director at Energy Innovation
Published by Forbes

Residential rooftop solar projects in the U.S. have historically been installed on wealthier, single-family households, meaning companies typically target higher-income households with their marketing efforts. Residential solar installations continue to grow across the country, but this focus is overlooking a massive growth opportunity: Low-to-moderate income (LMI) households.

A new first-of-its-kind report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) finds nearly half of all U.S. residential rooftop solar technical potential is on LMI households, and LMI solar capacity could total 320 gigawatts (GW) of potential solar installations across America.
Read more here.

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy

MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

  • How to Buy a Wind Farm: One family office did it. Now you can too, Bloomberg
    Operating wind and solar farms typically benefit from long-term contracts with investment-grade utilities. They tend to perform well, so there’s a high probability of steady, decades long revenue. It’s the type of investment that’s now attracting institutional investors such as pension funds and insurers.
  • Amherst, Hampshire, Smith join college solar energy collaborative, Massachusetts Live
    AMHERST – Five New England liberal arts colleges have joined together to create a solar power facility that will offset 46,000 megawatt-hours of their collective electrical use. The partnership represents the first collaborative purchase of New England-generated solar electricity by higher-education institutions, according to a press release.
  • Tech firms like Google, Amazon push power companies toward solar and wind, a blow to coal, USA Today. Since 2008, renewable energy has gone from 9% to 18% of the U.S. energy mix, according to the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. A big part of that shift stems from tech companies’ rapid buildout of cloud storage centers and a move to burnish their public image by vowing they’ll run these centers on sources like wind and solar. Rather than lose these deep-pocketed customers, the nation’s power companies are changing policies and crafting deals that meet increased demands for renewable energy, in some cases shifting away from traditional electricity supplies like coal and natural gas. Even in coal mining states like West Virginia . . . Today, corporate America is happy to throw its weight around, said Bryn Baker, the World Wildlife Fund’s deputy director of renewable energy. “Companies are coming in and saying, ‘If you want us to be here, you have to give us access to clean energy.’”

NEWS FROM ILLINOIS

  • Getting solar power in Illinois beyond FEJA, PV Magazine
    Illinois’s solar market under the Future Energy Jobs Act is just getting started, but a business group is calling for the next governor and state legislature to provide less restriction and more action in community and distributed solar programs.
  • Solar farms set to sprout across Illinois, Chicago Tribune
    Drawn by new state requirements and incentives, renewable energy developers are staking out turf on the rural fringes of the Chicago area and beyond, looking to build dozens of solar farms to feed the electric grids of Commonwealth Edison and other utilities. Illinois plans to add 2,800 megawatts of new solar energy over the next few years.

Nebraskans for Solar and Joslyn Castle Neighborhood Association Partner to Bring Solar to Clarkson Park on Earth Day

Clarkson Park, located at 124 North 42nd Street, is now the first Omaha city park to be equipped with solar panels. Funding for the project was provided by a grant awarded to the Joslyn Castle Neighborhood Association (JCNA)  through the Mayor’s Neighborhood Grant Program.

Nebraskans for Solar donated the panels, and volunteers, led by Eric and Scott Williams, installed them.

In a recent news release, Joslyn Castle Neighborhood Association President Margie Magnuson wrote, “By bringing clean, reliable power to Clarkson Park, the community will be able to schedule more events and activities, such as movie nights, food festivals, and other activities that require a power source. In addition, this project could be a pilot project for other, larger city parks that need power. Solar panels could be a future cost savings, taking the burden off the city’s electrical grid, and helping Omaha move towards more sustainable green energy.”

For more information, contact:
Margie Magnuson
402-554-0775
jcneighborhoodassociation@gmail.com

See more photos here:

Update: Omaha World-Herald article added April 23, 2018

Clarkson Park becomes Omaha’s first to install solar panels, by Nancy Gaarder
On Sunday, volunteers with Nebraskans for Solar and the Joslyn Castle Neighborhood Association spent the afternoon getting the park ready for installation of solar panels on the south- and southwest-facing portions of the picnic shelter’s roof . . . [Margie Magnuson, president of the neighborhood association] and Eric Williams, a member of the Nebraskans for Solar board, said solar panels are the most practical and affordable way to get electricity to small parks such as Clarkson. “This is an extremely inexpensive way to get power to a park,” Williams said. “I would hope that solar would spread to other parks if this is successful.”
Read the complete story here.

PRO: Using our renewable fuels key to a comfortable future

Opinion written by Michael E. Kraft, The Frederick News-Post

As noted energy expert Hal Harvey, the CEO of San Francisco’s Energy Innovation said in 2016, “a clean future now costs less than a dirty one.” Indeed, in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska and certain parts of Texas, wind turbines can generate electricity at a lower cost, even without subsidies, than any other technology . . . The benefits in improved air quality, public health and reduced greenhouse gas emissions are substantial, and recent studies tell us they will grow over time while also increasing employment and strengthening the economy. Read more here.

Michael Kraft is professor emeritus of political science and public and environmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Readers may write him at UWGB, 2420 Nicolet Dr., MAC B310, Green Bay, WI 54311 or email him at kraftm@uwgb.edu.

Photo by NextEra Energy Resources showing wind turbines that are part of the Steele Flats Wind Energy Center in Jefferson and Gage Counties in Nebraska

WIND AND SOLAR RESEARCH REPORTS

Nebraska Wind Energy Fact Sheet, American Wind Energy Association
Wind project data current to 4th quarter 2017.
Nebraska is a national leader in wind resource potential. Nebraska is one of the top states in the country for potential wind energy generation, with a technical potential of approximately 880,000 megawatts (MW) according to NREL. Nebraska now has 1,426 MW of installed wind power and was the 18th state to join the “Gigawatt Club.” Nebraska’s wind potential, combined with manufacturing expertise, could make the state a powerhouse for the wind industry while providing savings for electricity customers. The state lies in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), where wind power saved electricity customers $1.2 billion in 2013.

Nebraska Wind Projects

  • Installed wind capacity: 1,426 MW
    State rank for installed wind capacity: 17th
  • Number of wind turbines: 785
    State rank for number of wind turbines: 17th
  • Wind projects online: 23 (Projects above 10 MW: 16)
  • Wind capacity under construction: 702 MW
  • Wind capacity in advanced development: 726 MW
    Download Fact Sheet (PDF)

More AWEA Resources

Large Corporations Are Leading America’s Surge in Solar Deployment: SEIA Releases Solar Means Business 2017 Report, Highlighting America’s Leading Corporate Solar Installers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – America’s top companies are investing in solar in record amounts, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association’s brand new Solar Means Business 2017 report, which tracks on-site commercial solar installations and ranks top corporate solar users. This year’s report contains data from over 4,000 companies, totaling more than 2.5 gigawatts of solar capacity across approximately 7,400 solar projects.

For photos, rankings and the report’s underlying data, go to SEIA’s multimedia landing page www.seia.org/solarmeansbiz.

Nebraskans for Solar Launching Green Watts for Good!

Nebraskans for Solar (NFS) needs your help to raise funds to support solar initiatives in our community. Our goal is to establish a revolving account to install solar PV systems on homes in an effort to provide clean, abundant green energy. We will partner with local nonprofits, like Habitat for Humanity of Omaha and others, to not only protect our environment, but also to save families money through solar systems.

Green Watts for Good Fundraiser

  • Contributions will be deposited in Nebraskans for Solar’s Green Watts for Good Savings Account at Metro Credit Union.
  • We are raising funds for 4-kilowatt PV systems: $6,500 per system. The solar panels come with the manufacturer’s warranty to last 25 years.
  • Nebraskans for Solar board members, who include three solar professionals and four who have rooftop solar, will install a 4-kilowatt PV system as a demonstration home for our partnering nonprofit and our community.

Ways You Can Get Involved in Green Watts for Good

  • Learn more about Green Watts for Good at 2018 Earth Day celebrations and all NFS-sponsored events, at Omaha Gives.Org, on our website and Facebook page, and from our newsletters.
  • Share our Green Watts for Good Flyer with other solar energy enthusiasts and invite them to join our community initiative.
  • Join us for a post-installation party at the solar-powered demonstration home! All Green Watts for Good contributors will receive special invitations. Refreshments will be served, and everyone will receive a “thank you” gift, with four options, compliments of Nebraskans for Solar.
  • Make a tax-deductible contribution at Earth Day events where we are sponsoring a table or at any of our community events. Two more options:
  • Omaha Gives.Org / Nebraskans for Solar Fundraising Campaign
  • Make a donation directly to Nebraskans for Solar. Please make checks payable to Nebraskans for Solar, with Green Watts for Good in the memo line, and mail to:

Metro Credit Union
PO Box 390696
Omaha, Nebraska 68139

 Please join us and help to create Green Watts for Good!

Let’s Be Clear: Solar Energy Benefits Everyone

By Sean Gallagher, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Blog

Since the Stone Age, back when Fred Flintstone fought with Barney Rubble, there has been tension between neighbors. Yet the neighborly spat UC Berkeley Professor Lucas Davis recently blogged about shouldn’t be a fight at all. Solar panels aren’t just good for the people who have them — they’re good for everybody.

Davis claims if a neighbor installs solar panels, it will cost him $65/year in higher electric bills, but his math is wrong. Instead of costing him more, it’s very likely those panels are saving Davis money. Read more here.

More News – Mainly Solar

Wind Energy News

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VW’s Electrify America to install EV chargers at Walmart stores, Reuters

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