Monthly Archives: March 2017

Nebraska utility seeking input for first community solar project

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

One of Nebraska’s largest utilities is scheduled to meet with stakeholders today to begin developing a vision for its first community solar project. When Omaha Public Power District was soliciting feedback from customers a couple of years ago about its sources of generation, community solar “was one of the things our stakeholders always asked about,” said Laurie Zagurski, the utility’s manager of community outreach . . . Nebraskans for Solar generally supports community solar, and plans to send a representative to the meeting today to convey its thoughts about how community solar could be structured. It should, for one, result in an offset of energy or demand charges, and not take the form of “energy payments,” according to the group. “We really want it to be a program that is in the vein of what maybe nationally is recognized as a community-solar program, and not just a program given the name community solar and that maybe turns into a donation or request for money or something like that,” said Jared Friesen, an electrical engineer and the president of Nebraskans for Solar. Read more here.

Photo: Nebraska Public Power District provides customers in Venango and Scottsbluff the opportunity to purchase solar energy through its pilot community solar program. “Community solar is the fastest growing segment of today’s solar market.” – NPPD

How Schools Are Going Solar

By Erika Celeste, Voice of America News

FREMONT, INDIANA: The residents of this small town in America’s upper Midwest have always relied on the sun to warm their fields and draw tourists to their lakes. Now school superintendent William Stitt said they’re counting on it to power their schools. “The technology has advanced so much in the last couple of years that it’s become more energy efficient, more cost effective for schools to get solar energy,” Stitt said. Construction of the solar project will cost $3 million. But when finished, it will completely power the elementary, middle and high school buildings. It may generate so much electricity, that the school will be able to sell some back to the power company at a profit.
Read more.

Energy storage is America’s industry to lose

By David Ferris, First in a series, E&E News

Julie Blunden is a former solar executive who now focuses her analytical ability on energy storage. When she sits down with an iced tea to run the numbers, they fill her with a sense of urgency. She sees a market that is strapping on its boots for a steep and inexorable climb. Blunden and a growing number of experts believe that energy storage will be worth tens of billions of dollars in revenue within a decade, regardless of what the Trump administration does to harm or help. Batteries will start showing up everywhere, sending shock waves through the auto industry, the electric grid, the petroleum industry and the broader power sector, adding tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs to the economy. Read more here.

Photos included in the article: In the next decade, the energy storage industry will go from the familiar, like the iPhone, into much bigger applications like electric cars and the power grid. Credit: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Pixabay, Dave Dugdale/Flickr (Tesla).




Trump’s Business Council Is a Who’s Who of Renewable Energy Investors and Climate Champions

By Stephen Lacey, Editor-in-Chief, Greentech Media

A GTM review finds that nearly every company represented on Trump’s business advisory council is investing heavily in renewable energy projects and sustainability programs. The investments are wide-ranging. They include tax equity funds for solar and wind, direct renewable energy procurement to power facilities, deep energy efficiency to lower energy costs, and cleantech R&D to stay ahead of the competition. Many of the executives or member companies have also made strong statements about the favorable economics of renewables and the imperative of addressing global warming. Read more here.

Solar is South Sioux City’s latest investment in renewables

By Ty Rushing, Sioux City Journal

SOUTH SIOUX CITY — Lance Hedquist sees a bright future for renewable energy in South Sioux City. The latest shining example of the northeast Nebraska town’s increasing effort to reduce its carbon footprint is a 21-acre solar park south of the city alongside C Avenue comprised of more than 1,200 solar panels. “We started up operation in January of this year,” Hedquist, the longtime city administrator, said . . . The city is working with the South Sioux City Community Schools system to also make the solar park a learning opportunity for the system’s 3,850 students. Interestingly enough, we are also putting in monitors in all of our school systems, so grade school kids or high school kids can see how much is being produced at any given time,” Hedquist said. Click here to continue reading.

Photo: An aerial view of the 21-acre solar array in South Sioux City, which now provides 5 percent of the Northeast Nebraska city’s electricity. Credit: Becca Feauto, Pulse Marketing


The Home of the Future . . . Today: The Zero Energy Ready Home – YouTube Video

In 2016, the Zero Energy Ready Home team launched a new consumer video, “The Home of the Future…Today.”  Now live on the Tour of Zero home page and also available on YouTube, the short video helps consumers learn why leading experts would choose a Zero Energy Ready Home for themselves based on seven essential systems.

The Tour of Zero, the virtual showcase for the best of Zero Energy Ready Homes, features over 120 home profiles from builders across the country.   Visitors are able to tour certified homes in every major U.S. climate zone and can view images of the home’s exterior, interior and technical solutions (in that order).

Explorer spotlights climate change, renewable energy

By Kristine Goodrich, Mankato Free Press

As they skied and snowshoed along an ancient route across Iceland, explorer Aaron Doering and his team braved robust winds and historically deep snow. Over 3,000 classrooms across the globe followed their journey online as they documented their adventures in real time. Doering, a native of rural Good Thunder, recently returned from his 10th exploration in the Arctic. It was the second trip in the University of Minnesota professor’s Changing Earth series, which he says aim to highlight ways people across the globe are dealing with climate change. “We’re trying to build a tapestry of narratives around the world of people adapting to the changing world,” Doering said. Continue reading. 

The Changing Earth Project

Photo: A four-member expedition team that went to Iceland – including Good Thunder native Aaron Doering – spent most nights in a tent. Credit: Learning Technologies Media Lab

Utility wind rush set to strengthen as low prices allow resource to spread across nation

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

“It is a buyer’s market for utilities in wind right now,” said Tammie McGee, spokesperson at Duke Energy Renewables, a wind and solar developer. “They can still get 80% of the production tax credit [PTC] benefit before it is stepped down to 60% at the end of this year. And power purchase agreement [PPA] prices are now in many places competitive with fossil fuel generation, so it is a cost-effective way to diversify an energy portfolio.”

Total investments in U.S. wind deployments hit $13.8 billion last year, according to Hannah Hunt, senior analyst at the American Energy Wind Association (AWEA), the wind trade group. They came from a “diverse geography of investor-owned utilities, public power utilities, electric cooperatives, and private sector off-takers,” she added. Read more.

Photo by Jamie Vesay: Petersburg Wind Farm in Nebraska


New! Solar+Storage for Low- and Moderate-Income Communities: A Guide for States and Municipalities

By Todd Olinsky-Paul, Clean Energy States Alliance

This guide seeks to provide state and municipal officials with information to develop effective solar and battery storage (solar+storage) policies and programs that benefit low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. It explores a range of policy approaches that have been successfully employed and provides program examples from states that have made LMI access to these technologies a priority. Download the report.

Author and CESA Projects Director Todd Olinsky-Paul discussed the report in a recent webinar. Watch it here.

Here Comes the Sun

By Charles W. Thurston, American Planning Association Magazine, March 2017

The Solar Energy Industries Association, based in Washington, D.C., notes that the U.S. generated over 300 megawatts of community solar power in 2016, following an initial boom in 2010. By 2020, that figure could shoot up to 1.8 gigawatts, six times the current generation capacity. One firm, GTM Research, reckons that New York State alone has a 1.8 GW community solar pipeline. Such growth could shift community solar’s share of cumulative U.S. solar installations from less than one percent today to nearly five percent in just three years.

If that growth occurs, community solar could catch up to the installation rates of residential rooftop solar. Continue reading.

Photo credit: NRG Community Solar
Project: The Spencer Community Farm at St. Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts
How It Works: Subscribers entered into a 20-year agreement with NRG Community Solar. In return for a fixed monthly payment, they earn credits toward their electric bill based on their allocation of renewable energy net metering credits generated by the project.
Funding: Subscribers