Monthly Archives: July 2017

SolSmart: An Opportunity For All Nebraska Communities

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:

Madison navigates partnership with utility as it pursues 100 percent clean energy goal

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 

Council approves solar energy system for Capitol Beach site

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.

Grid defection gains ground in Europe as consumers seek energy cost reduction

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

Despite Climate Change Setbacks, Al Gore ‘Comes Down On The Side Of Hope’

 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 Powerdue 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 

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Paramount  Pictures

Uncertainty Ahead For Farmers Depending On Government Climate Research

Final pieces moving into place for Stegall transmission line project

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

ESA prioritizes value, competition & access in effort to spur energy storage market in US

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


Featured Solar Example: Kearney Solar Project Underway With November Completion Date

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

Six Recommendations for Bringing Solar to Low-Income Households

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


Renewables on the grid: Market-based solutions support reliability

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 explainedwe 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.

Renewables on the grid: Putting the negative-price myth to bed