Category Archives: Solar Energy Education

Thank you note to everyone who took part in last night’s community event

Thank you to our speakers: Frank Uhlarik, Manager of Cleaner Greener Lincoln and Marc Shkolnick, Manager of Energy Services at Lincoln Electric System, for their excellent and well-received presentations on “Renewable and Sustainable Initiatives in Lincoln.”  Many thanks, too, to everyone who attended. A dynamic discussion followed the presentations, with the audience contributing many thoughtful questions.

If you missed the event and would like to learn more, check out these links:

Please plan to attend the following events, where Nebraskans for Solar will join many other groups, agencies and businesses that are working hard to create a more sustainable Nebraska:

NEW! Solar Training Network: A Free Tool To Facilitate Solar Career Connections

The Solar Training Network is a new program led by The Solar Foundation that is designed to help meet the workforce needs of the solar industry through solar training and strategic employment partnerships. This solar career platform provides a connection hub for solar job seekers, solar companies looking for new hires, solar training providers, and workforce development boards. The website has just launched so keep checking for updates.

In 2016, over 260,000 people were working in the solar energy industry and 1 in 50 newly added jobs in the United States were in the solar energy industry. This means that the solar energy industry is adding workers at a rate nearly 17 times faster than the overall economy. Solar jobs are projected to grow 10% in 2017 to 286,335.

Resources for Nebraska Cities & Towns Considering a Community Solar Project

Photo: Nebraska’s first community solar project in Central City. Credit: Developer Cliff Mesner

“Community Solar” has a number of other names, including: community-based renewable energy, solar gardens, solar farms, shared solar, or community-shared solar. A program or project typically involves the community in discussing and implementing a plan. It may initially or sometime in the future provide virtual net metering, as Lincoln Electric System is doing in the second phase of its SunShares Program, and as Nebraska Public Power District is initiating through its pilot SunWise projects in Venango and Scottsbluff.

At least nine Nebraska towns and cities, identified below, have created community-involved solar projects or are discussing developing one. The following resources are offered to communities that may be considering a project.  If you know of other Nebraska towns and cities that have completed a community solar project, or you are familiar with other resources and news stories you would like to share, please send this information to: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com

HELPFUL LINKS

NEBRASKA COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE DEVELOPED OR PLAN TO DEVELOP SOLAR PROJECTS & LINKS TO INFORMATION

MORE COMMUNITY SOLAR LINKS

Watch Green Bellevue’s March Presentation: “Solar Powering Your Home”

Last Sunday Green Bellevue presented the solar energy workshop, “Solar Powering Your Home: Learn how to install solar panels step-by-step.”

If you missed it, you can watch it now on YouTube or on Bellevue Television (BTV), Cox Cable Channel 17:

Wednesdays: 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Thursdays: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m..

In the presentation, David Holtzclaw, Energy Consultant and Owner of Transduction Technologies, discusses the process of installing residential (and small business) solar generators, describing the steps and considerations involved. 

Don Preister, Green Bellevue President and Councilman, then walks viewers through his own experience of installing a home solar system this past year.

Co-Sponsors: Green Omaha Coalition &  Nebraskans for Solar

Solar Seminar on March 20th in Wilber, Nebraska

PUBLICATIONS BY JOHN HAY & COLLEAGUES

Green Bellevue: Embracing Renewable Energy

Written by Cheril Lee, The Reader

Don Preister, Green Bellevue President and Bellevue City Councilman, Ward 5, started Green Bellevue in 2009. Through the organization, approximately 600 volunteers work on a host of different activities including Earth Day and Arbor Day programs, recycling efforts, wildlife habitat cleanup, Green Schools and Clean Energy programs. Preister said they also focus on water quality and sustainable gardening. Continue reading here to learn about Green Bellevue’s renewable energy programs and projects.

Green Bellevue’s March Program
Solar Powering Your Home: Learn how to install solar panels step-by-step
Presenters: Don Preister and David Holtzclaw, owner of Transduction Technologies

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Today’s Technology, Tomorrow’s Leaders: Lighting the Way at Creighton
By Cheril Lee, The Reader

In 2010, Creighton University contracted out to have four individual solar arrays installed around campus. Dr. Andrew Baruth, assistant professor of physics at Creighton University, explained the arrays came about thanks to the direct efforts of Dr. Michael Cherney, now an emeritus professor at Creighton. “In conversation, he learned of money that was available through the U.S. Department of Energy as part of a stimulus package that could potentially go to fund something like this,” said Baruth. Read more here.

Up on the Roof: Dundee DIY

Written by Cheril Lee, The Reader

When Eric Williams, [immediate past president] of Nebraskans for Solar, was looking for a home to buy in 2011, he said one of the primary considerations was the orientation of the home and the slope of the roof. “I was projecting forward and expecting I would want to install solar and generate electricity in my own home,” explained Williams. “So the first step was seeing if the home I was looking at was a good candidate for the future.” In 2012-2013, Williams said he had some casual discussions about solar, talked to some contractors and attended some meetings. “By 2014, I decided I wanted to move forward . . . ”  Continue reading.

ALSO WRITTEN BY CHERIL LEE

The Nebraska Legislature’s Environmental Focus, The Reader

The legislature has a lot they’re trying to accomplish in the next few months. Among the mix of other bills they are working on, Senator Carol Blood and Senator Tony Vargas both have pieces of legislation that are meant to encourage energy efficiency. Senator Blood’s bill LB 87 would, “Redefine a qualified facility and authorize local distribution utilities to waive certain requirements relating to net metering,” according to the Nebraska Legislature’s website.

Blood said this bill would help update an old net metering law, allowing for larger solar installations. Read more.

                 Senator Carol Blood

The legislative session ends on June 2nd. Status of bills is available online at NebraskaLegislature.gov

Green Bellevue’s March Program – Solar Powering Your Home: Learn how to install solar panels step-by-step

Presenters: David Holtzclaw and Don Preister

Solar energy is finally getting its day in the sun, and an increasing number of residents are installing solar panels at their homes as a way to lower energy bills and reduce carbon footprints. If you are considering a solar install – or just want to better understand the steps involved – come to Green Bellevue’s March program and hear how it’s done!

David Holtzclaw, Energy Consultant and Owner of Transduction Technologies, will outline the process of installing residential (and small business) solar generators, describing the steps and considerations involved.

Don Preister, Green Bellevue President and Councilman, will then walk through his own experience of installing a home solar system this past year.

The presentation will be followed by a Q&A. Members of Nebraskans for Solar will be in attendance to add to the conversation and serve as resources.

Refreshments will be provided. The public is invited, so please join us and bring a friend. We will meet in Conference Room A at Nebraska Medicine Bellevue, 2500 Bellevue Medical Center Drive. You can park in the visitor parking lot and enter through the main door. Go down the stairs, make a “u-turn” and Conference Room A is down the hall on your left. Share and join this event on Facebook!

Looking at all angles of solar energy

By Emily Hemphill, Seward County Independent

F. John Hay of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln spoke to Seward-area farmers, ranchers and others interested in solar energy Feb. 17 in the Jones National Bank and Trust Co. lower level auditorium. Hay works as an Extension educator in bioengineering and has spent the past 10 years educating people about wind and solar energy on large and small scales. Hay installed a solar photovoltaic system at his home over the winter and spoke to attendees about the installation process and weighing the benefits of a solar energy system.
Read more here.

In her article, Emily Hemphill references: 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Top Photo Courtesy of GC Resolve: Family Farm in Minden, Nebraska. The 21-kilowatt solar system provides most of the farm’s energy needs. The project was partly funded by a USDA Rural Energy for America (REAP) grant, which covered 25% of its cost. Additional financing was obtained through the Nebraska Energy Office’s low-interest loan program for solar installations.