Category Archives: Incentives

Local Do-It-Yourself Solar Project & Two How-To Guidebooks

Featured Solar Example
Colin Croft’s Do-It-Yourself Project in Gering, Nebraska

Project Description: Grid-tied 5.4-kilowatt PV system in rural Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska, which generates enough to about “break even” in overall consumption/generation for this year-round home (electric heat supplemented by wood stove).  Twenty 260/270w panels tied to Enphase M250 micro-inverters/Enphase Envoy gateway were used.  The array was mounted about 25 degrees east of due south using basic and inexpensive Unistrut framing, bolted to E mounts by Quick Mount PV, which were installed during replacement of the old roof with a new composite roof.
Production/consumption monitoring using SiteSage for Homes/Powerhouse Dynamics.
PDF Download: DIY PV Installation & Passive Solar Sunroom, written by Colin Croft

DO-IT-YOURSELF BOOKS

Mobile Solar Power Made Easy!


Subtitle: Do-it-yourself Guidebook to Vehicle Mounted Solar System Design and Installation, by William Errol Prowse IV. The guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to size and install a solar system for an RV, van, car and boat.

Install Your Own Solar Panels

Subtitle: Designing and Installing a Photovoltaic System to Power Your Home
Through detailed directions and step-by-step photos, veteran solar installer Joseph Burdick and seasoned builder Philip Schmidt teach you how to determine the size, placement, and type of installation you’ll need. This comprehensive DIY guide covers everything from assembling rooftop racking or building a ground-mounted structure to setting up the electrical connections and making a battery bank for off-grid systems.

LINKS TO INCENTIVES TO REDUCE YOUR PROJECT COST
PLUS ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems: 30% to December 31, 2019.
Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Solar Energy Industries Association 

LES Solar Incentive
Additionally, LES customers may qualify for a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the system size and primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dual axis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

Senators launch bipartisan initiative on long term solutions to expiring energy tax credits

By Iulia Gheorghiu, Editor, Utility Dive


Tax credits have proven effective in jump-starting energy industries and driving adoption of new technology and infrastructure. However, as credits wind down, the renewable energy industry has been gripped by uncertainty in recent years, with federal legislators approving short-term extensions. Both the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee announced a bipartisan initiative on Thursday to craft long-term solutions for the expiring tax breaks, with task forces focused on energy tax credits and disaster tax relief among others. Read more here.

Image Credit: Sen. Chuck Grassley, via YouTube

New SEIA Fact Sheet: Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

Solar ITC 101: What is the Solar Investment Tax Credit?

The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is one of the most important federal policy mechanisms to support the growth of solar energy in the United States. Since the ITC was enacted in 2006, the U.S. solar industry has grown by more than 8,600% – creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and investing billions of dollars in the U.S. economy in the process. In 2015, SEIA successfully advocated for a multi-year extension of the credit, which has provided critical stability for businesses and investors. Despite the overwhelming success and popularity of the ITC, the value of the credit will unfortunately start decreasing after 2019. Read more here.

New toolkit provides U.S. cities with ten ways to go solar

Environment America News Release

With local municipalities playing an increasingly important role in the clean energy revolution, Environment America Research and Policy Center released a new toolkit to support cities and towns nationwide in capturing more clean renewable energy from the sun. Ten Ways Your Community Can Go Solar offers practical ways to take advantage of millions of available rooftops across the country.

“If we’re going to forestall catastrophic climate change and protect our cities and towns from the effects of extreme weather, there’s nothing better than clean, locally harvested renewable power,” said Susan Rakov, chair of Environment America Research and Policy Center’s Clean Energy Program. “Rooftop solar can make communities cleaner, safer and more self-reliant. Cities and towns need to put the pieces in place to help this technology thrive.” Read more here.

Links to Solar Energy Incentives & Additional Resources

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems: 30% to December 31, 2019.
Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Additionally, LES customers may qualify for a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the system size and primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dualaxis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

Rural America is ready for some sort of a New Deal, preferably green

By Art Cullen, Published by The Guardian and Republished by Yahoo! News

The Midwest would welcome a New Deal, and this is where it must start. The Great Plains from Iowa down through Kansas and Texas lead the world in wind energy production. Yet the wind energy production tax credit is set to wane and expire over the next five years. Those wind turbine royalties are increasingly important in western Kansas where you can barely raise a corn crop even with irrigation because of soil degradation and warmer nights wrought by climate change. Wind energy technicians who keep the blades whirring are paid good union wages and are welcome residents in tiny Iowa villages. They could ply their trade in West Virginia as well. Read the entire article here.

Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in Iowa and won the 2017 Pulitzer prize for editorial writing. Cullen is the author of the book, Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper (Viking 2018).

Spring Deadline for USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Applications: Includes information on incentives for solar and small wind.

The spring deadline to apply for USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants is April 1, 2019. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year round. REAP assists agricultural producers and rural small businesses in reducing energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations.

A 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system installed in 2015 powers the Hammond family farm operations west of Benedict, Nebraska. Photo Credit: Matt Ryerson / Lincoln Journal Star

Rick Hammond’s array cost $84,864 in 2015, but a combination of a USDA grant and federal tax credits brought the cost to him down to $19,100. Source: Farms flexing solar power, Lincoln Journal Star. Installers: MarLin Wind & Solar and North Star Solar Bears

Additional Recommended Reading

 

Rick Hammond and his family are the subjects of This Blessed Earth, the One Book, One Nebraska pick for 2019. Ted Genoways’ award-winning book is
also this year’s All Iowa Reads Selection.

 

More Farm Energy Resources

Hello, sunshine!

Written by Lynn Hartzell, Nebraska Home Sales Realtor,
Contributor, Lincoln Journal Star Lifestyle Magazine

I have to admit, there was a time in my life when I heard someone talking about Alternative Energy and I would roll my eyes. I had had a long career at a local public power company working in the power plants that produce energy with coal, diesel fuel and natural gas. They all worked pretty well, and I saw no reason to mess with success. But in 2015, my wife and I did some investigating and found that the price of solar power for residential use was coming down quickly and made financial sense. Continue reading here.

Links to Solar & Small Wind Energy Incentives & Nebraska Energy Office Loans

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% to December 31, 2019. Small wind: 100 kilowatts or less. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Additionally, LES customers may qualify for a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the system size and primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dualaxis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Applications

The spring deadline to apply for USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants is April 1, 2019. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. REAP assists agricultural producers and rural small businesses in reducing energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations.

Who may apply? 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.

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. Additional details are posted here.

Top Image: Twenty-five kilowatt photovoltaic system installed in 2015 powers the Hammond family farm operations west of Benedict, Nebraska. Credit: Matt Ryerson / Lincoln Journal Star
Previously Posted News Story: Farms flexing solar power, Lincoln Journal Star
Installers: MarLin Wind & Solar and North Star Solar Bears
See Solar Examples for brief descriptions and photos of more Nebraska farmers & ranchers who have installed PV systems to reduce their energy costs.

RECOMMENDED READING

 

Rick Hammond and his family are the subjects of This Blessed Earth, the One Book, One Nebraska pick for 2019. Ted Genoways’ award-winning book is also this year’s All Iowa Reads Selection.

 


FEATURED RESOURCES FOR LANDOWNERS

Guides to Solar Land Leases 

GREEN NEW DEAL 

Green New Deal Needs To Include Agriculture Technology, by Austin Frerick, Contributor, Forbes
The way we eat and produce food is a significant contributor to climate change. In fact, agriculture is estimated to contribute between 13% and 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Any “Green New Deal” needs to not only enable innovation around sustainable agriculture, but also encourage farmers to adopt new, environmentally-friendly technologies.

Top Senate Democrat calls for permanent renewable energy, storage, EV tax credits

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

Last Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Democratic Leader in the Senate, sent a letter to President Trump demanding that any infrastructure package taken up in 2019 include “policies and funding to transition to a clean energy economy and mitigate the risks that the United States is already facing due to climate change.”

And in a list of policies that Schumer says should be included, the top item is “permanent tax incentives for domestic production of clean electricity and storage, energy efficient homes and commercial buildings, electric vehicles, and modernizing the electric grid.” In concrete terms, this could mean an extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar and energy storage, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind and the federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

ENERGY STORAGE ITC: AWEA NEWS RELEASE

Yesterday a coalition of more than 150 companies and energy groups issued a letter to Congressional leadership asking for a stand-alone storage Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act would ensure a level playing field for energy storage to compete with all other energy resources currently eligible for the ITC.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) signed onto the letter and issued the following statement in support:

“Energy storage technology will play an important role as we build an even more affordable and reliable electricity grid for the 21st Century,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “We’re asking Congress to reduce uncertainty for investors by creating a stand-alone energy storage ITC for which all storage technologies can qualify. A level playing field for the full range of storage technologies will ensure consumers benefit from competition and will boost job-creating investment in infrastructure projects, including new opportunities for wind farm development.”
Read the entire news release here.

USDA Seeks Applications for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett seeks applications for loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects.

The deadlines to apply for grants are Oct. 31, 2018, and April 1, 2019. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.

REAP helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations. Read the entire release here.

Who may apply?
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.

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

Contact: Jeff Carpenter, Nebraska Rural Development Energy Coordinator
Telephone: 402-437-5554
Email: 
Jeff.Carpenter@ne.usda.gov

ADDITIONAL INCENTIVES

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% through 2018 and 2019. Small wind: 100 kilowatts or less. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

SMALL & COMMUNITY WIND INFORMATION
American Wind Energy Association / Distributed Wind Energy Association

What is Distributed Wind Energy?
Distributed wind energy systems offer reliable electricity generation in a wide variety of global settings, including households, schools, farms and ranches, businesses, towns, communities and remote locations. Projects range for example from a 1-kilowatt (kW) or smaller off-grid wind turbine at a remote cabin or cell phone tower – to a 10-kW wind turbine at a home, small business, or small agricultural load – to several multi-megawatt (MW) wind turbines at a university campus, manufacturing facility or any large energy user.

What is Small Wind Energy?
Small wind is defined as wind turbines with a capacity rating of less than or equal to 100 kW. Turbines in this category range in size from smaller than 1 kW for off-grid applications to 100-kW turbines that can provide village power. Fifty-four small turbine models are offered commercially in the United States for applications including homes, schools, commercial and industrial facilities, telecommunications, farms and ranches, and communities.

DWEA (Distributed Wind Energy Association

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY RESOURCES

  • Small Wind Guidebook, WINDExchange, Department of Energy
  • Distributed Wind Case Studies
    The Distributed Wind Installers’ Collaborative, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, has produced a series of case studies showcasing the many facets and opportunities within the distributed wind industry. The first published case studies feature projects located on a dairy farm, at a net zero home, a recycling facility and a rural cooperative.

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