Category Archives: Solar Energy Education

Sustainability Pavilion one cog in State Fair initiative

By Robert Pore, Grand Island Independent

A popular display at the Sustainability Pavilion this year is the Automotive Recycling Industry of Nebraska’s recycled car that educates the public about all the various parts of an automobile that can be recycled . . . Another positive display at the Sustainability Pavilion deals with solar energy, which is making big strides in Nebraska as an alternative energy resource for residential, commercial, farms and ranches. The Nebraska State Fair has also jumped on the solar energy bandwagon, according to [Jaime Parr, Nebraska State Fair facility director]. “The State Fair has added about 90 solar panels to the roof of the Nebraska Building to be showcased during this year’s State Fair,” she said. Read more here.

Photo: Grand Island Public Schools Success Academy 11-grader Maria Reeh (left) speaks about the migration pattern of the monarch butterfly as 10th-grader Alexis Lute listens during a presentation about protecting the monarch butterfly Monday in the J-Tech Solar Sustainability Pavilion during the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island. Credit: Barrett Stinson / Grand Island Independent

Public invited to tour new Kearney Center at Central Community College on Thursday

CCC’s new Kearney Center a real gem
Kearney Hub Opinion

The 11 a.m. ribbon cutting will be followed by tours through 8 p.m. [New facilities in Kearney] include structures and installations such as the Health Science Education Complex at UNK, the 400,000-square-foot distribution center at Baldwin Filters, and SoCore’s 53-acre solar array that will be Nebraska’s largest when it goes online in January. Read more here.

Central Community College Address1215 30th Avenue, Kearney, Nebraska 68845

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Solar Energy Community Forum

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