Category Archives: Financing

‘Bringing back an icon’: $75 million plan to revive Blackstone Hotel, a former hangout for Gold Coast elite

By Cindy Gonzalez, Omaha World-Herald

In addition to TIF [Tax-Increment Financing], the developers seek “enhanced employment area occupation tax financing” amounting to nearly $10 million. Overall, the bulk of funding would come from a construction loan and investor equity, but also helping to fund the project would be about $6.5 million in federal and state historic tax credits and $3.5 million in Property Assessed Clean Energy financing (PACE is a new financing tool used to upgrade energy, water and utility systems in commercial properties).  Read more here.

Photo by Pat Hawks, Flickr

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

BEATRICE – The City of Omaha is the first to adopt an ordinance allowing its use in Nebraska. The City of Lincoln is considering the same.  Now, Beatrice is being asked to consider Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, or PACE, as another tool for economic development.  It’s described as a low-cost, long-term financing mechanism for energy efficiency or renewable energy projects. Chris Peterson, Managing Partner for Pace Sage Capital in Nebraska, worked as a Legislative Aide to former State Senator Heath Mello when PACE was enabled through state law, making Nebraska the 34th state to enact it.

MORE ABOUT PROPERTY ASSESSED CLEAN ENERGY (PACE) 

PACE was named one of the top 20 “world-changing” ideas by Scientific American magazine.
– 
PACE Nation

Registration Deadline for Solar Design and Installation Workshop Friday, June 29th!

Nebraska Extension in partnership with Dixon Power Systems

DOWNLOAD THE FLYER HERE

This workshop is open to the public.

Instructors:  John Hay, Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Jon Dixon, Dixon Power Systems
Cost: $450 for the week
Deadline: Registration and payment due by Friday, June 29th
Workshop Dates: July 9th – July 13th

WORKSHOP CONTENT

  • Introduction to Solar PV electronics and components
  • Basics of electricity, measuring, tools and safety
  • Solar siting – where to locate the panels, sun angles
  • Capabilities and limitations of solar PV
  • Electrical codes, state and federal policy, tax credits and economics
  • Building a rack
  • Attaching inverters and other components
  • Grounding and other wiring
  • Wire management and final appearance
  • Working with your utility and electrical inspector to complete grid interconnection

Photo: Previous workshop participants and their DIY solar array.

IRS Issues Favorable Tax Credit Guidance for New Solar Projects

By Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

The new guidance provides two methods for determining a “commence construction” date.

The Internal Revenue Service released a new guidance Friday that establishes when the construction of a solar facility starts to qualify for the solar Investment Tax Credit. The guidance, Notice 2018-59, provides two methods for determining the “commence-construction” date: 1) starting physical work of a significant nature or 2) meeting the “5 percent safe harbor test” by incurring 5 percent or more of the total cost of the facility in the year that construction begins. Both residential and commercial solar projects may qualify for the full 30 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) through 2019, as long as the project is placed into service before 2024. A prior ruling required completion in the same year. Continue reading here

RELATED READING

Many thanks to our Green Watts for Good supporters during Omaha Gives!

Forty-two contributors generously donated $3,172 to our Green Watts for Good Fundraising Campaign! At midnight that put us halfway to our goal of raising sufficient funds for a second 4-kilowatt (4000 watts) photovoltaic (PV) system!

Additional Contributions

  • A generous donation today of $1,000 from the Nebraska Solar Energy Society brings the total amount raised toward the second PV system to $4,172!
  • NFS also has received pledges from two Nebraska solar energy businesses to donate solar panels for Green Watts for Good projects!

Next Steps 

  • We will use all Green Watts for Good donations to date to leverage matching contributions from local foundations, businesses and individual philanthropists.
  • We will also work with our partnering nonprofit to finalize plans to install the first 4-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system on an Omaha home using the generous donation to our Green Watts for Good Fund made by two local philanthropists on Earth Day.
  • Organize a “barn-raising” type effort to install the PV system. NFS board members, who include three solar professionals and four with rooftop solar, and other volunteers will “raise” the solar panels, which come with a manufacturer’s warranty to last 25 years.
  • Celebrate.

Nebraskans for Solar is an all-volunteer nonprofit, and so 100% of all donations go to support our Green Watts for Good Initiative.

Our long-term goal is to create a revolving loan fund to enable homeowners to purchase PV systems and to save money over many years.

If your ecology or sustainability club, faith group, foundation, business or other organization would like to sponsor a solar system for a family in your community, please send us an email: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com

Thank you from all of us at Nebraskans for Solar!

Photo: Washington State Habitat for Humanity volunteers celebrating a job well done.

The Peregrine Hotel – First Omaha project to use PACE financing

By Cindy Gonzalez, Omaha World-Herald

About $3.4 million in PACE funds are to fill a gap in the overall $13.6 million cost of converting the seven-story downtown structure to the hotel, said Rob Shear of PACE Sage Capital LLC, which helped arrange the private financing for ViaNova. He said the PACE loan is to close later this month. Shear calls the new financing mechanism, which is used already in some other states, a boost to economic development. He said it can breathe life into commercial projects that otherwise might never get off the ground.

First look: Peregrine boutique hotel at 18th and Douglas is partly financed by new clean-energy program

Photo: Downtown Omaha, Wikimedia Commons

MORE ABOUT PROPERTY ASSESSED CLEAN ENERGY (PACE) 

PACE was named one of the top 20 “world-changing” ideas by Scientific American magazine.
PACE Nation

New Report – Financing Community-Based Solar Projects: Case Studies from the Field

Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA)

The growth of community-based solar projects has sprung from customer interest and community benefit, but the lofty goals of these projects must be backed by smart and innovative financing so they continue to grow. How are utilities and developers deploying strategies to reduce hard, soft and financing costs of community-based solar?

Explore different financing options through a series of in-depth interviews with utilities and developers in this report, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technology Office,

What is community-based solar?

The U.S. Department of Energy defines community-based solar as a photovoltaic (PV) solar installation that falls within 100 miles of its electricity offtakers and is grid connected in the same utility service territory of these offtakers.

Case Studies included in this report:

  • West Boylston Municipal Light Plant
  • City of Fremont
  • BARC Electric Cooperative
  • Michigan Energy Options
  • RE-volv
  • Renovus Solar

Download the report here.

The latest trends in renewable-energy tech, markets, and policy

By Energy Dialogues, Environmental Defense Fund

Renewable energy, and its role in energy future, is an intense topic that spans across all corners of the energy spectrum. For example, our recent Mexican Energy Series featured a lively discussion of whether Mexico is on course for the 2024 target of 35% renewable energy, and what this pledge means for the country. Each year, as new corporations, municipalities, and countries make bold and vocal commitments to offsetting energy consumption, and to pursuing clean energy resources at a higher level, the conversation intensifies.

For an insider perspective about the current state of renewable energy, we called upon Lenae Shirley, Senior Director, Technology Innovation and Market Adoption for Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Lenae is working at the nexus of technology, markets and policy, leading efforts with EDF’s demonstration partners to prove the impact of clean technology innovations. As a result of these initiatives, Lenae identifies trends and market opportunities to accelerate the transformation of the electricity sector, with data-driven decisions that push forward market adoption for renewable methods. Here is our conversation. Click here to continue.

Photo: Kearney, Nebraska Solar Farm

MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

NEWS & OPINION FROM OTHER STATES & PUERTO RICO

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

HIGH-SCHOOL RENEWABLE ENERGY TRAINING PROGRAM

OMCO Solar Announces Commitment to Future of Northeast Renewable Energy, Solar Energy Industries Association
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
Educator/Trainer Program

GREEN JOBS LISTINGS: SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS

Jobs

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.

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

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.