Monthly Archives: July 2016

Solar cars pit stop in Fremont

By John Liesveld, Fremont Tribune

solar car stop - Fremont

Photo: Members of the Shine Runners solar car team gather around the “Bahama Blue” in the Fremont Walmart parking lot for a public showing (and education). The second team making the trip is the Liberty Christian Solar Car Team, and their car is called the “Solis Bellator” (Warrior of the Sun). Credit: John Liesveld, Fremont Tribune

Part of a national STEM initiative (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the Solar Car Challenge seeds young minds through education and hands on experience as they embark on a year-long quest to design and build working, road-worthy solar cars capable of traversing the long cross-country trip . . . [The] Fremont Tribune will have a short update in Tuesday’s edition to inform how both teams finished the race. Read the entire story here.

Ruling may clear Rockford district for solar project

By Meredith Colias, The Globe Gazette

Globe Gazette

ROCKFORD — A ruling by the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission may clear a North Iowa school district to resume a stalled solar project it hopes could cut down on its electric bills. The dispute between the Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock school district and Municipal Energy of Nebraska since last year has delayed a proposed solar array the school wants to build, hoping to offset its $160,000 annual electric costs . . . The city, which operates a municipal power plant, was prohibited from purchasing electricity from anyone other than its supplier due to a contract in place with the utility since 2007. A June 16 ruling by FERC in a separate case involving a Colorado-based utility cooperative could clear the way for the district to proceed with the plan. Read more here.

Photo: Keith Turner, Rockford School District Superintendent, points to where the district wants to install a $1.5 million solar array to offset $160,000 in annual electrical costs.
Credit: Arian Schuessler / The Globe Gazette

New Ruling Opens Up 400 GW Renewables Market: FERC confirms that co-ops can buy unlimited power from PURPA-qualifying facilities, Rocky Mountain Institute Blog

Small utilities more likely to seek out renewables after FERC ruling, Midwest Energy News

Cherry County Commission votes against permit for wind farm

By Mary Roberts, KNOP News


The commission voted against a plan by Bluestem Sandhills LLC to erect 30 windmills over several thousand acres. Critics have cited concerns about the wind farm’s effect on the environment . . . “I’m a fourth generation rancher myself. My family has been here for a number of years,” David Hamilton, vice president of Cherry County Wind, LLC., said. “You just look at some of the development areas where wind energy has been developed, like in the Broken Bow area. None of the things [protesters] are proposing will happen are occurring.” Read more here.

Photo: Wind-farm turbine near the small, centrally-located city of Broken Bow. Credit: Caroline Jezierski

According to the KNOP news story, the Bluestem Sandhills project would add $108 million to Cherry County’s tax base. This would be a major economic boost, especially at a time when Midwest rural economies continue to decline, as reported in today’s Omaha World-Herald:
Rural economy continues to weaken

Nebraska lawmaker sees wind energy as an urgent lifeline, Midwest Energy News 

Q&A: Does clean energy face a tougher standard on its impacts? Midwest Energy News

Community members swap energy ideas, concerns, Norfolk Daily News 

Nebraska Wind Energy and Wildlife Project – University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Elon Musk reveals part 2 of his ‘Master Plan’ for Tesla, defends potential SolarCity deal

By Gavin Bade, Utility Dive

Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed “part deux” of his master plan for the company in a Wednesday blog post, outlining a vision to expand Tesla’s vehicle offerings and network them with rooftop solar and residential batteries . . . The acquisition of Tesla’s sister company SolarCity will allow Tesla to “create a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works,” Musk wrote, “empowering the individual as their own utility.” Read more here.

Photo: Elon Musk. Credit: Getty Images

White House rolls out plan to boost solar, efficiency access for low-income groups, Utility Dive
Iowa regulators open door to more net metering, Midwest Energy News
Wisconsin’s largest solar facility now operational, Daily Energy Insider
Pierre Solar Project Set To Be Largest in State,
South Dakota Public Broadcasting
Pilot Energy Storage Project installed at College of Marin in California, Renewable Energy World
How aggregated DERs are becoming the new demand response: Grid operators are designing new markets and mechanisms to get reliability and flexibility from aggregated distributed energy resources, Utility Dive
A 300-megawatt wind farm application has been submitted to the Public Service Commission for Barnes County, the largest ever filed in North Dakota, Bismarck Tribune
Great Wind Energy Deals Are Swaying Major Players
, PlanetSave

The Solar Training Network – A major new Department of Energy Program

Solar Training Network logo

The Solar Foundation has been selected to serve as the new National Administrator of the Solar Training Network – a major new program that will help grow and strengthen the U.S. solar workforce.

If you are a solar employer or training provider interested in joining the Solar Training Network, you can sign up at SolarTrainingUSA.Org.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, the Solar Training Network will help build the necessary infrastructure to better match workforce supply with soaring industry demand.

Solar car teams arrive today

By John Liesveld, Fremont Tribune

Solar Car Team

The Solar Car Challenge represents a year-long educational program that promotes STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives by inspiring high school-age students to design, build and evaluate a solar car from the ground up. The challenge culminates in a 1,000 mile test run for the participating teams that takes them on a race from Fort Worth to Minneapolis with various overnight stops along the way. One of those stops will be in Fremont at the Walmart Supercenter where the cars will be displayed this evening between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Team members will also be present to answer questions about their cars and the Solar Car Challenge. Read more.

Photo:  Courtesy of Alex Winston, 2016 Solar Car Challenge participant

Solar Car Challenge update from Ardmore, Fremont Tribune
Under weightless energy, the future rolls in, Fremont Tribune
Solar Car Challenge opens doors for young women in STEM, Dallas News

President Obama’s New Energy Initiative Another Win for Solar

By Tom Kimbis, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Blog

President Obama

The White House announced a truly groundbreaking initiative called Clean Energy Savings for All Americans. This program aims to increase access to solar energy across communities of all income levels and geographies, so that no matter where you live, if you have a sunny roof, you have the chance to go solar. And the Administration did so by providing a bevy of options that move renewables and solar forward significantly. The array of initiative components culminates in a goal of providing one gigawatt of solar for low to middle-income households by 2020. Continue reading.

Click HERE to view a video on Access to Solar Panels, featuring President Obama.

Statement from Tom Kimbis, Interim President of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA):
Clean Energy Savings For All” Initiative Benefits Americans from Coast to Coast

You’ll Never Believe How Cheap New Solar Power Is

By Joe Romm, Climate Progress

Solar energy has been advancing considerably faster than anyone expected just a few years ago thanks to aggressive market-based deployment efforts around the globe . . . If you are looking for one chart to sum up the whole solar energy miracle, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Chairman Michael Liebreich has one from his keynote address at BNEF’s annual conference in April titled “In Search of the Miraculous”:

Click chart to enlarge it. 


Solar’s exponentially declining costs and exponentially rising installations (the y-axis is a logarithmic scale).

Read the complete article here. 

Solar energy powering up in Illinois, Peoria Journal Star
Data centers, renewable energy thrive in Iowa, Newton Daily News
Wisconsin’s largest solar project delivering power to Alliant Energy customers, PR Newswire
Meet Eight Young Energy Innovators With Ingenious Ideas, Smithsonion 

Solar+Storage Jobs

Discussion Paper, The Solar Foundation

solar_energy_storage_jobsIntroduction:  As energy storage systems are added to the electricity grid at an accelerating pace, it is imperative that decision makers have a general understanding of the economic impacts. To this end, The Solar Foundation (TSF) produced this discussion paper on the current labor efficiencies experienced by the U.S. solar industry and how such measures may provide insight about solar related employment in the energy storage industry. While we consider the storage results to be preliminary, this discussion paper was developed using data collected through The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2015, as well as information collected through interviews of solar and energy storage experts from across the country.
Download the paper here.

Missouri to be second state with residential PACE later this summer

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Creative Commons2

Renovate America has worked only in California for the past several years, and has completed about 62,000 residential PACE loans there. It is looking to expand to all 30 states that have passed PACE-enabling legislation . . . Renovate America anticipates charging an interest rate between 6.9 and 8.9 percent. It also will charge a fee amounting to about 5 percent of the principal. While the interest rate is much lower than that levied on a credit card balance, it is not necessarily lower than would be charged on a home equity loan, for example. Read more.

Photo by dcp / Creative Commons

Nebraska Energy Office’s Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

Effective August 15, 2016

  • No stated 2.5%, 3.5% and 5% loan rates but loan rates to be set by the lender up to and not to exceed 5%
  • Rate reduction on Energy Efficient Housing long term loans changed from a 2% rate reduction to a 1.5% rate reduction with the ½% funding fee payable to the Energy Office discontinued.

Visit the Nebraska Energy Office’s website for more information:
Nebraska hopes to close efficiency gap with PACE legislation, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News
Nebraska lawmakers pass PACE bill to open up efficiency, renewable generation, by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Click here for information on 47 incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency in Nebraska. Source: DSIRE