Since the SolSmart program launched in April 2016, 78 communities have achieved SolSmart Gold, Silver or Bronze designations, recognized nationally for making it faster, easier and cheaper to go solar.
Lincoln, Nebraska has achieved the SolSmart “bronze” designation. Recently, Mayor Beutler released the Lincoln Environmental Action Plan 2017-2018. Among the plan’s many goals:
By December 2017 obtain a “gold” designation in the Department of Energy’s
SolSmart program, which measures whether City policy and processes are
solar friendly for residents and businesses that seek to start solar projects.
All cities and counties are eligible to join SolSmart and receive no-cost technical assistance from The Solar Foundation and its partners.
To learn more, visit: http://www.gosparc.org
By Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News
On March 21, Madison’s city council signed a resolution committing the city to power 100 percent of its operations with clean energy. The resolution was especially notable since the utility serving Madison gets almost half of its power from coal, and several years ago was among Wisconsin utilities making national headlines for policies seen as hostile to distributed solar energy. But now the utility, Madison Gas & Electric (MGE), city officials and clean energy leaders are negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding that lays out plans for the expansion of solar, the spread of electric vehicles and other clean energy improvements. And the utility has pledged its support for the city’s clean energy goal. Continue reading here.
Photo Credit: Jordan Richmond / Creative Commons
By Nancy Hicks, Lincoln Journal Star
The group of homeowners interested in developing the 100-kilowatt solar energy system on land owned by the Capitol Beach Neighborhood Association had a letter from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission recommending it put the solar panels farther to the north to avoid affecting saltwort growing in the wetland area. The group has agreed to do that, said Terry Wittler, a Lincoln attorney and one of three Capitol Beach homeowners, who created Beach Solar LLC, which is developing the solar energy system. Read the entire story here.
Photo Credit: Lincoln Journal Star
Capitol Beach would have first community solar energy project
The group, which has incorporated as Beach Solar LLC, hopes to have up to 20 Capitol Beach homeowners invest in the solar system, according to Terry Wittler, one of the homeowners involved in the development.
By Julian Jansen, Energy Storage News
To be sure, grid defection is a term used largely in North America. Yet it is in Europe where the residential solar and energy storage markets have enjoyed greater penetration over the past few years. For instance, Germany alone already has more than 60,000 residential battery storage systems installed today, compared to less than 10,000 grid-connected residential energy storage systems in the United States. This article, then, will focus specifically on the economics of grid defection in Europe today and in the future, and will also examine how such a development could impact the energy industry. Click here to read more.
Image: “Sonnen Community” in Germany. Credit: Sonnen Battery Company
By Steve Inskeep, NET Nebraska
Former Vice President Al Gore helped shape the conversation about climate change with An Inconvenient Truth. Now he’s back with a sequel — called An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, due out next month — and it follows Gore as he continues the crusade he made famous with that first film. The movie shows Gore standing in Miami floodwater, flying over imploding boulders of ice in Greenland and in Paris — trying to push the climate agreement over the finish line. Continue reading.
Photo: When it comes to convincing climate change deniers, Al Gore says, “Mother Nature is more persuasive than the scientific community.” Credit: Claire Harbage/NPR
WATCH THE TRAILER
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Paramount Pictures
Uncertainty Ahead For Farmers Depending On Government Climate Research
By Scott Miller, KNOP News
NPPD says the 115,000 volt line from Stegall to Scottsbluff is complete, but it will likely be August before the system can be energized . . . The project, which also includes a short 345,000 volt line to the Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s existing Stegall substation, is expected to enhance system reliability in the Panhandle. Click here to read more.
NPPD: Stegall to Scottsbluff
The Energy Storage Association (ESA) unveiled a new document this month that offers a number of state policy suggestions designed to spur cost-effective energy storage across the US.
The document, State Policies to Full Charge Advanced Energy Storage: The Menu of Options, states that in order to enable the use of energy storage and reach its top potential in terms of benefiting policymakers and ratepayers, states must focus on value, competition and access. Read more here.
Photo: Maximizing on cost-effective energy storage will be crucial for the US national grid, as over US$2 trillion in utility investments in electric supply and infrastructure is expected through 2030. Image: ESA
ALSO IN THE NEWS
- The 50 States of Solar Report: Q2 2017 Updates Released, NC Clean Energy Technology Center
- Energy Cooperatives Make ‘Solar Gardens’ Bloom, Mother Earth News Magazine, August/September Issue
- Michigan program finances first megawatt of solar, with ambitious goals ahead, Midwest Energy News
- School Sisters of St. Francis plan large-scale solar panel installation, Biz Times Media
- Davis looks at building bus barn with solar panels to power Farmington High, Standard Examiner
- Washington regulators approve Microsoft deal to buy clean energy on open power markets, Utility Dive
- Sonnen Signs a Deal to Put Storage in New Arizona Housing Developments, Greentech Media
- Federal Government Wakes Up To Surging Solar Energy, Forbes
- Solar design software industry stakeholders are working out the best approach to giving developers access to all the tools they need to provide accurate and efficient services, Renewable Energy World Magazine
- Coal Ash: Coming to a Town Near You? Mother Jones
- VW’s Settlement in emissions scandal reaches $1.3 billion, WWMT News
- DOE launches “Hit me with your SuinShot” photo contest, PV Magazine. The contest is offering up to $2,500 in prizes, and PV Magazine is hoping that DOE will license the winners under public domain.
Project update provided by Interconnection Systems, Inc., Central City
The Kearney Solar Farm
The 7.2-megawatt solar project is under construction, with a November 2017 completion date. The farm is located in Kearney’s Northeast Technology Park, otherwise known as Tech One Crossing, at 56th Street and Antelope Avenue. Approximately 23,000 solar panels will be mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. The Kearney Solar Farm will provide about 5% of the electrical energy for the City of Kearney through NPPD. When completed the Kearney Solar Farm will be the largest utility-scale solar project in Nebraska.
Installers: Interconnection Systems, Inc, Central City, Nebraska
By Bentham Paulos, Clean Energy States Alliance. Posted by GovTech
The declining cost of solar energy is creating opportunities for all Americans to save money on their energy bills. And no one needs to save money more than low-income consumers, who pay a much higher portion of their income for energy than do other consumers.
But as the saying goes, it takes money to save money. Low-income consumers face barriers that others don’t. They are often renters or live in multifamily housing — and lack ownership of their roofs. They may have little to no savings that can be used to buy solar systems, and low credit scores or a lack of credit history may impede their ability to finance a system. Continue reading.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
- Illinois issues RFP for utility-scale and brownfield solar, PV Magazine
- Why Minnesota’s Community Solar Program is the Best, PV Solar Report
- US Solar secures financing for 100MW community solar portfoilio, PV Tech
- Kansas Utility Cuts Ribbon On Its First Community Solar Project, Solar Industry Magazine
- Distributed Solar Is Less Expensive Than Delivered Coal Power, Rocky Mountain Institute Blog, RMI Outlet
- Microsoft defects from utility to purchase renewable energy, PV Magazine
- Here’s how cities can go completely renewable. GreenBiz
- China is crushing the US in renewable energy, CNN Money
- Former US Chief Sustainability Officer: The Military Is Leading the March Toward Energy Independence, Greentech Media
- In the heart of coal country, state officials bet on renewable energy, CNBC
By Michael Goggin, Into the Wind
The American Public Power Association Blog
One Solution: Focus on reliability services, not “baseload”
The term “baseload” has driven some confusion in discussions of grid reliability. As a wide range of experts have explained, “baseload” is a mostly obsolete term that has no relationship to the reliability services the grid needs. Instead, as a wide range of experts have explained, we should focus on creating markets for the actual grid reliability services that are needed.
“As some of the coal and nuclear power plants face retirement decisions, focusing on their status as baseload generation is not a useful perspective for ensuring the cost-effective and reliable supply of electricity,” the Brattle Group concluded last month.
Click here to read about more market-based solutions that support grid reliability.
ALSO BY MICHAEL GOGGIN
Renewables on the grid: Putting the negative-price myth to bed