Category Archives: Uncategorized

Solar Power Is Blooming in Minnesota

 By Madeline Ostrander, Sierra Club

In the past few years, several other states—including New York, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Illinois—have passed laws enabling solar garden programs. But Minnesota’s is currently the biggest and arguably most successful, in part because it places no upper limits on the amount of solar that can be developed in the state. “The success speaks for itself at this point,” says John Farrell, a Minneapolis-based energy expert for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “We’ve got more community solar than any other state. We’re going to continue to lead for quite a while.” Although Minnesota is hardly known for sunny weather, so far its residents seem to have an insatiable appetite for solar energy production. Read more here.

Photo by XXLPhoto/IStock 

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

OPPD Board Meeting This Thursday Will Include Update on Community Solar

The next OPPD Board of Directors meeting is Thursday, December 14
at 4 pm, OPPD Energy Plaza Auditorium, 444 S. 16th Street.

The agenda will include: 

  • Community Solar Update by Dr. Jeffrey Karloff, Division Manager, Product Engineering & Fuels
  • Update on the Innovation Strategic Initiative 
  • Update on the Integrated Energy Marketplace Initiative

Rules for Public Participation 

Click here for additional details.

How Owning a Solar System Impacts My Home Value: A Guide to Valuing Residential Solar Energy Systems

By The Solar Energy Industries Association

Whether purchasing a house with a solar system on the roof or looking to install a new system on your home, many homeowners are faced with the dilemma of trying to understand how to properly determine the value of that system, both for themselves as well as any future owner of their property. This guide seeks to educate homeowners on the various methodologies professionals use to value a solar system, some of the key drivers impacting that valuation, and tools and information to help ensure they receive an accurate value estimate when buying or selling a solar system. Download the guide here.

Photo: Bob & Gina’s home in Lincoln from Solar Examples.

Turning the promise of solar landfills into reality

Waste Dive guest opinion written by Jesse Grossman, CEO of
New Jersey-based solar energy company Soltage

The promise of utilizing the thousands of closed landfills across the country to produce clean, solar energy has been tantalizingly close to reality for years. In 2013, the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) published their best practices for installing solar on municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills, which was a watershed moment in the recognition of landfills as viable solar platforms. With 10,000 closed landfills and other brownfield sites covering 15 million acres across the country, both solar developers and landfill owners have been understandably eager to take advantage of the opportunity. To put that land area into perspective, it’s large enough that if all of the landfills in the US were covered with solar panels we could power the entire country. Read more here.

Image: Landfill Solar Farm. U.S. Department of Energy

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Digital Magazine
Renewable Energy World’s November / December 2017 Issue

Articles / Posts

St. Louis sets 100 percent renewable energy target

By Alexander Laska, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Add it to the list – another city has made a 100 percent renewable energy pledge. On Friday, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen passed a measure to power the city entirely on renewables by 2035. In doing so, St. Louis became the 47th city – and the largest in the Midwest so far – to make a 100 percent clean energy commitment. Other major cities to announce 100 percent commitments include Atlanta, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Chicago. Some cities – such as Aspen, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; and Georgetown, Texas – have already hit their targets.

Click here to read more.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Second Solar Group Buy Meeting November 8th

Please join us for the next Solar Group Buy Meeting
November 8, 2017 at 7 p.m.
UNO’s Community Engagement Center
Combined Rooms 201 and 205

Two brief panel presentations, each followed by a major Q&A session, are planned for the second meeting of the greater-Omaha-area Solar Group Buy. One panel of local energy efficiency experts will discuss numerous ways to save energy and money, from the free and inexpensive steps you can take to the more expensive. Conserving energy will reduce the size solar system required to meet the electricity needs of a home or business.

Solar installers will make up a second panel of experts. They will briefly introduce themselves and then open the discussion to attendees’ questions. Included, too, will be a demonstration of the ConnectDER, available incentives, a discussion of the inspection process required by OPPD, the solar installation permit, and banks and other lending agencies that provide loans for energy efficiency upgrades and solar energy projects. Solar Ambassadors, those who have already installed solar, will also be present to add to the discussion and answer questions.

Optional items to bring to the meeting:

  • photo of your roof or other proposed solar installation site
  • rooftop checklist – See the Solar Group Buy PowerPoint. A separate checklist will be added soon to the resources, below.
  • OPPD bills showing your usage over the past months

RESOURCES PRESENTED AT OUR OCTOBER 11TH MEETING

New connection technology is cutting cost of solar installation, by Karen Uhlenhuth,
Midwest Energy News

Please join us and contribute to the discussion! Refreshments will be provided. 

Public Power Executives to be Featured Lunch Speakers

Top executives of Nebraska’s three largest public power utilities will be the luncheon speakers on Monday, November 13, at the Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference.

Tim Burke, CEO of Omaha Public Power District, Pat Pope, CEO of Nebraska Public Power District, and Jason Fortik, Vice President of Power Supply at Lincoln Electric System will provide insight into the state of public power in Nebraska.

“The presentation by public power executives is always one of the most well-attended sessions. The panel provides a wealth of information on the current state of renewables in the public sector and the role they will play in the future growth of Nebraska’s public energy.” – John Hansen, Conference Co-Chair

The conference is a two-day event that brings together people from across the country united by their passion for advancing wind and solar energy.

Registration is $125 until October 15. Student registration is $65.
Hotel Room Block closes October 16.

Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Website: www.nebraskawsc.com

To solve ‘duck curve,’ Missouri utility to pay bonus for west-facing solar panels

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

In an effort to better align solar-energy production with peak demand, the electric utility in Columbia, Missouri has begun to pay higher rebates for new west-facing arrays than it will for those facing south.

The city-owned utility adjusted its rebates as of Aug. 1 in order to encourage more solar production in late afternoon, when electricity use tends to peak, especially during the high-demand summer months. Continue reading.

Photo by John S. Quarterman / Creative Commons

Lincoln Electric System provides customers incentives that are based on the solar system’s orientation and its energy-generating capacity, as described in the PDF, Customer-owned Renewable Generation. These LES customer rebates are called “capacity payments” and are determined as follows::

South-facing, fixed-PV systems: $375 for each kilowatt of the system’s nameplate DC capacity. The savings in the following examples would be:
3-kilowatt PV system: $1,125
4-kilowatt PV system: $1,500
5-kilowatt PV system: $1,875

West-facing or single or dual-axis tracking PV system: $475 for each kilowatt of the system’s nameplate DC capacity.
3-kilowatt PV system: $1,425
4-kilowatt PV system: $1,900
5-kilowatt PV system: $2,375

For more information, visit LES.com, and select Savings & Energy > Solar & customer-owned generation or call LES Energy Services Specialist Jay Stoa at 402-475-4211.
Email: jstoa@les.com

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
How much does a solar electric system cost in Nebraska?

The ConnectDER – Solar innovation that saves time & money

Click image to watch a brief video about the ConnectDER.

The ConnectDER enables rapid connection of grid-ready distributed energy resources (DERs), especially solar photovoltaic systems, by creating a connection point to a collar that installs between a residential electric meter and a meter socket.  It drives a number of benefits for the installation process:

  • Reduces costs by removing some balance of system components and premises wiring upgrades
  • Minimizes logistics headaches & site inspection time
  • Eliminates one of the primary areas of inspection failures, the load-side wiring

It comes in two versions: the Simple ConnectDER, which provides the basic connection, and the Smart ConnectDER, which adds metering and management functions for the local utility.

Department of Energy Information About The ConnectDER
Typically, after sunlight gathered by solar panels is turned into electricity by an inverter, it must be connected to a home’s electrical service panel. This can be difficult because panels are often located in hard-to-reach areas of a home, like basements or attics. For those who live in older homes, electrical service panels may not be built to handle the amount of energy being produced by solar panels and upgrading may be expensive.

The ConnectDER device makes it faster and easier to install a solar array by removing the need to upgrade electrical service panels or run wiring through a home’s interior, meaning solar technicians don’t need to enter your home. The ConnectDER is mounted between a home’s electric meter and meter socket, which is located outside. Cables from the inverter are connected directly to the device instead of being routed through a home. The meter can also handle more voltage than an electrical service panel, easily bearing the burden of routing power into the home.

By removing the need to replace the electrical service panel and run wiring through a house, the ConnectDER device saves consumers in installation costs. It also saves time, shortening what can be a lengthy process.

Watch a brief video about the ConnectDER.

Website: www.connectder.com
Questions? The website provides a contact form, or send an email to: info@connectder.com 

EDITORIAL: Keystone XL pipeline runs afoul of the law of supply and demand

St. Louis Post-Dispatch / Columbia Missourian

TransCanada has said it wants commitments for 90 percent of the pipeline’s capacity before it continues building. In February, the falling demand for Canadian oil led ExxonMobil to write off its entire 3.5 billion barrels of estimated reserves in Alberta oil. American shale oil, plus falling prices for solar and wind energy, have caused analysts to predict that oil prices won’t recover anytime soon . . . The pipeline investment must be amortized over 50 years, by which time global warming will be impossible to ignore. Just like the law of supply and demand.

Read the entire editorial here.

Photo: Tar sands oil mining operation in Alberta. Credit: The Atlantic

Fourth Public Meeting on the Keystone XL Application: July 26th