Monthly Archives: November 2015

5 battery energy storage projects to watch in 2016

Image Credit: AES Storage

Image Credit: AES Storage

By Krysti Shallenberger, Utility Dive

As solar and wind facilities come online and energy storage becomes more economical, storage projects are emerging across the U.S. with big implications for the technology’s future. Some states with ambitious renewables goals, such as California and Hawaii, are beginning to unlock booming markets for the resource.

To help our readers keep an eye on the growth of energy storage going into 2016, Utility Dive has compiled a list of five important storage projects to watch.

Continue reading.

Free Webinar: “State of the U.S. Energy Storage Industry”

Solar ecology explores the challenges in solar energy

Centre Daily Times Photo

Centre Daily Times Photo

By Jeffrey R. S. Brownson, associate professor of energy and mineral engineering at Penn State University – Published in Centre Daily Times’ Focus on Research column

Get ready, we are embarking on yet another wave of energy exploration, one that will change the way that we think about energy, water and food: solar energy . . . This next era of solar will be much more diverse than photovoltaics alone, leading to new services that we have yet to imagine, much like we could not quite imagine the diverse services of social networks, weather, banking and email from a “phone” back in 1999. There is a big systems field emerging for solar within the context of the environment, society and technology, connecting solar science with design, business, art, lifestyle, health and well-being. We are calling that encompassing systems field solar ecology.

Read the entire article here.

Local Nebraska governments can now apply to the new “Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC)” program

Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC)

Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative selected The Solar Foundation to lead a $10.3 million solar technical assistance effort for local governments, through the Department’s new “Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC)” Program. The combined technical assistance and designation program efforts seek to reduce solar energy’s soft costs in 300 communities over the next 3 years.

“Local governments are uniquely positioned to take action to make solar more affordable in their jurisdictions and to unlock the economic development benefits associated with increased solar deployment. We look forward to assisting local governments in tackling soft cost barriers and growing their solar footprint in order to further benefit their constituents.”
– Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation

Press Release:

Communities that take steps that signal they are “open for business” for solar may receive technical assistance and national recognition through this new U.S. Department of Energy-supported program and designation as a “solar ready community.” The program will recognize communities that are taking steps to reduce barriers to solar adoption and foster the growth of mature solar markets.

Read more here:

Apply for the SPARC “Early Adopters” Campaign here:

Contact Philip Haddix, Program Director at The Solar Foundation Email: / Telephone: 202-469-3743  

Please share this information with government leaders in your community and encourage them to apply to the “Early Adopters” Campaign. 

International Solar Energy Society’s Solar World Congress 2015 Proclamation

ISES“Dedicated Commitment to Accelerating the Energy Transformation to 100% Renewable Energy”  – The International Solar Energy Society’s World Congress 2015 Proclamation states:

“The International Solar Energy Society is committed to accelerating the transformation of the global energy system to 100% renewable energy for all, used wisely and efficiently. This transformation is necessary for the long, and short, term health and well-being of our planet and our people. We know this goal is technically and economically achievable and we know the challenges this entails. The renewable energy movement needs a strong, unified voice to accelerate this transformation, and ISES is expanding its mission to be this voice.

To do this, ISES will continue to grow its strong core of solar energy and related renewable energy and environmental professionals, essential for the technical foundations of the movement. In addition ISES will expand its partnership building and outreach with like-minded groups and individuals who can help strengthen the movement through their support. Future ISES events, webinars, publications, participation in global decision making, and other outreach activities will continue to provide the highest quality information on solar energy, and through collaboration with its growing partnership base, address the other wide range of issues central to achieving a 100% renewable energy world.

The [November 8 -12] Congress brought together a wide range of contributors to the renewable energy movement. Hundreds of participants from 58 countries presented recent developments in solar technologies, and latest updates on financing, policies, access and public support around the world.

Young professionals joined with long time solar energy mentors to enrich the discussion of challenges and opportunities for making a difference in all of these areas. The Congress provided an excellent environment for fruitful collaboration and planning, and resulted in the affirmation that we can and will attain the needed energy transformation.”

Media Release  

About the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) 
The International Solar Energy Society (ISES) was founded in 1954 and is now incorporated as a non-profit membership organization with members in over 100 countries. ISES serves as a center for information on research and development in solar energy utilization. Through its publications and conferences, the Society provides a global forum for the science and advancement of solar energy.

German battery maker launches scheme to share solar power

German village with solar. Photo: Solar Electric Power

German village with solar. Photo: Solar Electric Power

Published by Reuters

German battery maker Sonnenbatterie has launched a scheme to connect households with solar panels and other consumers, aiming to better distribute surpluses of the renewable energy and help members to become more independent of conventional suppliers.

The start-up company hopes the scheme, called “sonnenCommunity”, will boost demand for its batteries which store solar power, allowing owners to use the clean energy even when weather conditions are not favorable.

Read more at Reuters 

City plans to buy $793K parcel of land at tech park

By Amanda Brandt, Kearney Hub

Kearney City logoKEARNEY — The city intends to buy 40 more acres at the technology park in northeast Kearney. At its regular meeting [today], the Kearney City Council will consider authorizing the purchase of land at Tech oNE Crossing, which is southeast of 56th Street and Antelope Avenue . . . Software development company Xpanxion will build its Kearney headquarters at the tech park. Solar power company Infigen Energy has signed an option lease agreement to construct a solar power facility on 53 acres at the park. Read more.

Resources for Nebraska farmers on how to “go solar” and profit from it

Hammond Farm Photo by Matt Ryerson, Lincoln Journal Star.

Hammond Farm.  Photo by Matt Ryerson, Lincoln Journal Star.

Renewable energy is a hot topic nowadays among farmers here in Nebraska and states all across the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and other national and local organizations provide numerous resources for farmers on how to harness the power of the sun and profit from it.

These include information on various uses of solar energy technologies in farm operations, ongoing research, programs and policies. The costs of installing solar have greatly declined in recent years and continue to drop. Publications written even a short time ago don’t reflect this good news and, instead, create the impression that solar is more costly than it actually is.  The best sources of up-to-date information on costs are free estimates from local solar installers listed in our online directory and others.

Resources may also not include information about solar incentives and rebates, which significantly reduce the costs even more. Again, local solar professionals can provide this information, as well as the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) : Nebraska incentives, grants and loans for renewables and energy efficiency- 46 programs. (DSIRE)

The following are only a select number of the many available resources on using solar on farms and homes. Please email any additional resources you’d like to add to this list to:

Solar Energy Use in U.S. Agriculture (PDF)
This April 2011 report from the USDA provides an “overview of solar energy use by farmers and ranchers in the U.S. that identifies trends and future potential.”

Determining the Optimum Solar Water Pumping System for Domestic Use, Livestock Watering or Irrigation (PDF)
USDA. Conservation and Production Research Laboratory
This publication helps farmers and landowners select a stand-alone solar photovoltaic system for water pumping. Steps include deciding whether a wind or solar water pumping system would be best, determining the type of PV module, how controller can affect the decision, selecting pump type, and analyzing the monthly water demand requirement.

Farm Energy Alternatives
ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
Includes a section on solar energy with success stories, links, and select publications.
Solar Greenhouses

Florida Solar Energy Center
University of Central Florida
Publications and other information sources on solar energy education, effect on the environment and building, photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies.

Spring Deadline for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants
Nebraskans for Solar

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants
US Department of Energy – Nebraska
Jeff Carpenter, Energy Coordinator, Rural Development – 100 Centennial Mall North, Room 308 Federal Building, Lincoln, Nebraska 68508. Telephone: 402-437-5554
Email:  Website: 

Farm Energy Success Stories
Farm Energy.Org

Up with the Sun: Solar Energy and Agriculture
Union of Concerned Scientists

Solar Energy Basics
National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)

Lincoln Journal Star: Farms flexing solar power

Houston Chronicle: Solar power gaining popularity among Nebraska farmers

How solar will grow through the ITC sunset and beyond

Image Credit: Fotolia

Image Credit: Fotolia

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

The coming step-down in federal tax credits for solar energy production will cast a shadow over the industry in 2017, but after that analysts expect the sector to return to strong growth, perhaps hitting 250 GW of cumulative installed capacity by 2030.

Residential electricity customers are responding enthusiastically to the solar opportunity, and utilities are increasingly seeing value too, according to the author of a recent GTM report titled “The Future of U.S. Solar; Getting to the Next Order of Magnitude.”

Read more.

LES looks at rates for surplus solar power

Lincoln solar-powered house

Lincoln solar-powered house

By Nicholas Bergin, Lincoln Journal Star

Lincoln Electric System sees a bright future for solar electricity generation in the capital city and plans to update its rates and guidelines for customers looking to harness the power of the sun. During recent discussions with a company interested in erecting a solar array, it became clear the city-owned utility needed to clarify its rate schedule, LES Vice President of Power Supply Jason Fortik said Friday morning during an LES board meeting . . . A public meeting on the proposed changes will be held at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Walter Canney Service Center, 2620 Fairfield St. The revisions, set to take effect Jan. 1, don’t have to be approved by the City Council because they are not part of the city’s retail rate schedules.

Read the entire article here

Free Solar Energy Workshop This Saturday At Aunt Mary’s In Beatrice


Graham Christensen, Nebraska-based solar energy contractor and developer, will present a workshop this Saturday, November 21st at 10 a.m. at Aunt Mary’s in Beatrice, 111 South 8th Street. Title: “Solar Energy’s Current Incentives & Long-Term
Economic Benefits”

The topics Graham will cover include:

  • The growing number of Nebraska farmers, homeowners and business people generating their own homegrown energy and saving money while reducing their carbon footprint
  • Steps to developing a solar project
  • Different solar energy uses on farm operations
  • Ways to reduce the cost of a solar system, including:
  • USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants and how to apply
  • Federal Tax Credit of 30% for qualified installations

The event is free and open to the public.
Questions? Directions? Please contact Graham Christensen:
Telephone: 402-217-5217