Monthly Archives: January 2019

Midwest Solarize programs helped 482 property owners add 3.8 MW of solar in 2018

By Kelly Pickerel, Solar Power World

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Solar Group Buy (also known as Solarize)
programs have helped 482 property owners in four states add 3,815 kW of solar electric generating capacity to their homes, farms, organizations and businesses, more than doubling
the organization’s solar group buy results to date.

MREA’s Solar Group Buys come at no cost to the partnering jurisdictions and organizations
except for staff time. Each program included a competitive process led by local advisory
committees to select the solar installation firm that would serve their respective program.
Read more here.

Photo: Eric Marshall installed solar through MREA’s 2016 Solar Bloomington-Normal program. Credit: Eric Marshall

MREA RESOURCES

MREA’S 30TH ANNUAL ENERGY FAIR IN CUSTER, WISCONSIN

 

June 21-23, 2019. Register by February 15th to save 10%.
Click image to link to more information.

 


ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

 

The Solar Revolution Is Coming—But Not to Everyone, Popular
Mechanics. A new study shows that the benefits of solar power are skipping over communities of color.

 

SOLAR MICROGRID NEWS

Solar Microgrid To Power Indoor Farm All Year Round, CleanTechnica

Schneider Electric currently has more than 300 microgrid projects on the go in the US, and is using its EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor software platform for cloud-connected, demand-side energy management. It’s integrated into the system to enable a look at current electric rate tariffs and optimization of energy usage – but does so faster than any human could.

MORE BUSINESSES IN THE NEWS

Watch Budweiser’s Bob Dylan-Backed Super Bowl Ad Touting Wind Power, AdAge

‘Blowin in the Wind’ is the soundtrack for ad promoting brew’s enviro credentials. Anheuser-Busch InBev last year set a goal to ensure that by 2025 all of the electricity it purchases globally will come from renewable sources.

Solar will rebound this year with more than 100 GW of new capacity

By Max Hall, PV Magazine International

Wood Mackenzie’s number-crunchers are the latest analysts queueing up to predict a bumper year ahead for PV, with falling prices, rising efficiency rates and booming markets outside China all on the cards. And it could be a make-or-break year for mega-projects, says Wood Mac.
Read more here.

Pixabay Photo

Additional Recommended Reading
Trends Shaping the Global Solar Market in 2019, Greentech Media
In a new report (available for free), we highlight the top 10 trends to watch in solar this year. Below, we highlight five of them.

IREC’S 2019 CLEAN ENERGY STATES HONOR ROLL

After a colossal year of energy policy activity across the states, IREC calls out some favorite 2018 success stories in our 2019 Clean Energy States Honor Roll, announced today.


MORE GOOD NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

Platte River Power Authority plans for zero carbon emissions by 2030, The Rocky Mountain Collegian
Northern Colorado is working to get a whole lot greener. The Platte River Power Authority board of directors
passed a policy for zero carbon emissions by 2030,
following Colorado State UniversityFort Collins and
Longmont’s goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by the same year.

  • Central Idaho Animal Shelter Will Open New Facility Powered By Solar Energy, Boise State Public Radio. The Mountain Humane Animal Shelter was the first no-kill shelter in the state. They can add another superlative to their credentials: Their new facility will be run entirely with solar energy.
  • N.C. College To Reap Financial Benefits Of New Solar Project, Solar Industry
    Contributing to the college’s mission to lead the educational and local community in more
    sustainability practices, the solar farm will raise approximately $40,000 annually in solar-
    generated revenue. 
  • FPL partners on Shark Valley Solar Energy Project at Everglades National ParkMiami’s
    Community Newspapers. 
    It’s an intriguing fact of nature that alligators, the ubiquitous denizens of the Everglades, are solar powered, with scaly skin that optimizes the sun’s rays to maintain
    energy. Now, thanks to a grant and new solar panels donated by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), solar energy will power the Shark Valley Visitor Center in Everglades National Park, where hundreds 
    of thousands of visitors can learn fascinating facts about solar energy, alligators and the Everglades.
  • A change in energy,  Albuquerque Journal
    On the renewable energy front, state officials want new mandates to require utilities to derive 50 percent of their electricity from solar, wind and other clean resources by 2030, and possibly 80 percent by 2040.

Madison County puts out regulations for solar panels

By Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News

Last Thursday, the Madison County Joint Planning Commission listened to Ryan Zimmerman, the Pierce County Planning Commission chairman, discuss what he has learned about harnessing the sun’s energy. Pierce County approved its own solar regulations last year. Zimmerman has leased much of his land for use as a solar farm and has researched the topic extensively for a couple of years. Zimmerman said he and his brother, who farm in southwest Pierce County, have entered into a contract with NextEra Energy with plans to use their land to develop a 423-megawatt (MW) solar farm . . . Following the discussion, the commissioners approved a basic set of solar regulations for Madison County that are similar to those in Pierce County. Read more here.

Photo: Kearney Solar Farm. Credit: SoCore Energy

With little space for solar farms, suburbs are finding creative ways to embrace renewable energy

By Sarah Freishtat, Chicago Tribune

Solar farms are cropping up on Illinois’ open land, spurred by state requirements and a new state program, but several built-up suburbs are carving out room for solar power as well. From Evanston to Oak Park to Will County, communities are embracing solar power as a means to help meet renewable energy goals. And in Aurora, the state’s second-largest city, some advocates see solar power as part of their vision to get half of all Aurora’s energy from renewable sources within roughly 10 years . . . The growth of solar projects is spurred in part by the state’s Future Energy Jobs Act, which took effect in 2017 and, among other things, created new solar programs and incentives. Read more here.

See Also: Greenest Region Compact, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Initiative

HAPPENING IN OTHER CITIES & STATES

Virginia’s solar freedom bill
In this op-ed for PV Magazine, Ivy Main looks at new legislation to remove barriers and allow Virginia to develop its distributed solar potential. Ivy is a lawyer, writer and energy consultant who also serves as the Renewable Energy Chair for the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club. Her articles on Virginia energy topics appear regularly in the Virginia Mercury and her blog, PowerforthepeopleVA.com.

CORPORATE NEWS


How Tesla is taking over neighborhoods with solar energy
, Electrek
Tesla has been betting on word of mouth to promote most of its products and solar has been no exception since it has acquired SolarCity. Here’s how Tesla has been taking over neighborhoods with solar energy thanks to the help of satisfied customers. Photo Credit: SolarCity



GE to install and test a ‘prototype’ of vast 12-megawatt turbine in the Netherlands, CNBC

 


FEATURED RESOURCES

Nebraska Utilities’ Programs & Incentives
NPPD Community / Rooftop Solar Resources
NPPD EnergyWise Incentives & Programs
OPPD’s Electric Vehicle Rebate Program – New rebates added.
More On OPPD Rebates & Programs
LES offers customers $1.5 million in Sustainable Energy Program incentives

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

 

NPPD’s R-Project. To learn more about the project, click here.
NPPD News Release: Contract awarded for R-Project transmission line construction by NPPD

 

What Changed In The Solar & Energy Storage Industries In 2018?

By Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

I started covering the solar energy industry seriously in 2009. It seemed like a hopping, exciting time in the industry — growth was exploding. I remember one early story in which readers
admonished me a little because I put “Solar Power Exploding” in a headline, and they thought I was referring to genuine explosions. In 2019, 2009 and 2010 progress looks like anthills.

Scrolling back through our What Changed archives, below is a lengthy rundown of notable
changes within the solar energy and energy storage industries in 2018. I’m sure I missed some of them — drop a note in the comments if you have a favorite I skipped. I’m also sure this post is far too long for the casual reader — do your best. Additionally, stay tuned for record-breaking progress in 2019. Read more here.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan
spends most of his time on CleanTechnica as its
director and chief editor. He’s also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zachary is
recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert.


ALSO IN THE NEWS

FEATURED REPORT

Design and Implementation of Community Solar Programs for Low- and Moderate-Income Customers, by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Clean Energy States Alliance

The report reviews existing and emerging low- and moderate-income (LMI) community solar programs, discusses key questions related to program design, outlines how states can leverage incentives and
finance structures to lower the cost of LMI community solar, and examines marketing and outreach considerations. CESA hosted a
webinar with report authors Jenny Heeter and Lori Bird from NREL in August 2018 to discuss the report’s findings. Watch it here.


SOLAR ROOFING NEWS

World’s largest roofing company launches residential solar arm, PV Magazine. Standard Industries has
announced the launch of GAF Energy, a subsidiary which will interface with local roofing contractors to sell its
DecoTech Solar roof system.

News Release: Standard Industries Launches GAF Energy To Transform Rooftop Solar Industry
Click image to watch a two-minute video.


UPCOMING DOCUMENTARY & WEBINAR

FRONTLINE Documentary: Coal’s Deadly Dust
January 22, 2019 at 9 pm on PBS

FRONTLINE and PBS investigate the rise of severe black lung disease among coal miners. This joint investigation reveals the biggest disease clusters ever documented, and how the industry and the government failed to protect miners. Watch the Trailer Here.

Recommended Reading: An Epidemic Is Killing Thousands Of Coal Miners. Regulators Could Have Stopped It

Drive Electric Earth Day: How To Participate  
January 22, 2019 at 1 pm

Drive Electric Earth Day is a national campaign to share information about electric vehicles during April 2019. The event is an opportunity to highlight clean energy by including electric vehicles in your community’s Earth Day celebration. Plug In America, Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association serve as the national team providing support to the events throughout the country.

If you’re thinking of organizing or helping at an event, you’re encouraged to attend this Drive Electric Earth Day Webinar.

Energy Department Announces Battery Recycling Prize and Battery Recycling R&D Center

Department of Energy News Release, January 17, 2019

Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced the launch of a Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize and the establishment of an associated Battery Recycling R&D Center. These efforts aim to reclaim and recycle critical materials (e.g., cobalt and lithium) from lithium-based battery technology used in consumer electronics, defense, energy storage, and transportation applications.

“America’s dependence on foreign sources of critical materials undermines our energy security and national security,” said Perry. “DOE will leverage the power of competition and the resources of the private sector, universities, and the National Laboratories to develop innovative recycling technologies, which will bolster economic growth, strengthen our energy security, and improve the environment.” Read the entire news release here.

Image Credit: Tesla

THE LITHIUM-ION BATTERY MARKET 

Global lithium-ion battery market expected to exceed $60B by 2024: report, Utility Dive
Global Market Insights released a report Monday estimating that the lithium-ion (li-ion) battery global market size will exceed $60 billion by 2024.

THE PV RECYCLING MARKET  

Prescient & Strategic Market Research, May 2018
The global solar panel recycling market is estimated to be valued at $80.7 million in 2017 and is projected to reach $269.8 million by 2023, witnessing a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 22.0% during the forecast period. Increasing adoption of solar power as a source of energy and favorable government regulations supporting sustainable development are the key factors driving the market growth. Solar panels are made up of glass, aluminum, synthetic materials, silicon, and other metals, which can be separated through the process of recycling, after the completion of the panels’ lifecycle.
Read a summary of the report here.

IRENA Research Report, June 2016
A study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), End-of-life management: Solar Photovoltaic Panels, estimates that recovered raw materials alone from solar modules could be worth $450 million by 2030, and $15 billion by 2050.

PV RECYCLING INITIATIVES

SEIA National PV Recycling Program. Members of the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA) are committed to responsible end-of-life management and are proactively developing collection and recycling processes for the solar industry. Many SEIA member module manufacturers already operate take-back and recycling programs for their products. By creating a member-based program that aggregates the services offered by recycling vendors and PV manufacturers, SEIA is making it easier to select a cost-effective and environmentally responsible end-of-life management solution. This effort also enables others in the industry to access recyclers for their disposal needs. See Also:  SEIA Factsheet: PV Waste 101: The Solar Industry’s Proactive Plan for Waste Management (PDF)


Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute 
The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard guides designers and manufacturers through a continual improvement process that looks at a product through five quality categories: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.

 


PV Cycle USA
SunPower Corporation is the founder and on the board of directors of PV Cycle. The business has a worldwide program in place to cover the costs for de-installation, collection, reuse and recycling for all purchased and leased systems under the warranty period.

 

Product Stewardship Institute – Solar Panels
The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) provides technical assistance and monitors and advocates for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) solar panel stewardship legislation, using as models Washington State’s Solar Power Incentive Law and lessons learned from more than a decade of recycling programs in Europe. PSI seeks to educate their members and other stakeholders about the need for new collection and recycling infrastructure. In January 2018 PSI hosted their first webinar.

WASHINGTON’S PHOTOVOLTAIC MODULE STEWARDSHIP AND TAKEBACK PROGRAM

Washington became the first state in the nation to enact a solar stewardship bill (ESSB 5939) in July 2017. One section of the bill, Chapter 70.355 RCW, created the state’s Photovoltaic Module Stewardship and Takeback Program. The Department of Ecology’s process must be fully implemented and stewardship plan guidance completed by July 1, 2019. Manufacturers must prepare and submit a stewardship plan to the department by January 1, 2020, or within thirty days of its first sale of a photovoltaic module in or into the state. Beginning January 1, 2021, no manufacturer may sell or offer for sale a photovoltaic module in or into the state unless the manufacturer has submitted to the department a stewardship plan and received plan approval.

Invenergy Announces Start of Commercial Operations of Upstream Wind Energy Center

Invenergy News Release

CHICAGO (Jan.17, 2019) – Invenergy, a leading privately-held global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions, announced the completion of construction and the start of commercial operations of the 200-megawatt Upstream Wind Energy Center in Antelope County, Nebraska. Located just north of the City of Neligh, Upstream was developed and constructed by Invenergy and will generate enough electricity to power 68,000 American homes. The project supported 275 workers during peak construction and will create 11 permanent full-time operations and maintenance jobs for the long-term operation of the project. Upstream will contribute approximately $2 million annually to the local economy through tax payments, lease payments to participating landowners, and wages and benefits for employees. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Invenergy

Other Invenergy Projects In Operation In Nebraska

  • 35.8 MW Prairie Breeze III Wind Energy Center in Antelope County southeast of Elgin. 20 turbines. Commercial Operation Date: 2015
  • 73.4 MW Prairie Breeze II Wind Energy Center in northeastern Nebraska in Antelope and Boone Counties. 41 turbines. Commercial Operation Date: 2015
  • 200 MW Prairie Breeze I in Antelope, Boone and Madison Counties. 118 turbines. Commercial Operation Date: 2014
    Source: Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy

Previously Posted: County gives approval to test towers to collect wind speeds, Norfolk Daily News

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

EDF Renewables acquires Nebraska wind energy project, News Release
EDF Renewables North America has closed on a purchase agreement with York Nebraska Wind Partners, LLC, a partnership comprised of Aksamit Resource Management, LLC and York Capital Management for 100-percent of the interests in the 300-megawatt (MW) Milligan 1 Wind Project located in Nebraska.  The Project is currently in development with anticipated operation to commence in late 2020.

The Project, sited in Saline County in southern Nebraska, will sell its generated energy and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) into the Southwest Power Pool. Milligan 1 Wind marks the first project for EDF Renewables in Nebraska . . . The expected electricity generated at full capacity is enough to meet the consumption of up to 115,000 average homes.

Hitesman to retire June 3, Hastings Tribune

William “Bill” Hitesman was named president of CCC-Hastings in 2002. He also serves as vice president over the skilled and technical sciences and business and entrepreneurship/incubator divisions. In recent years, he directed the groundbreaking for the Hamilton Building expansion and installation of an on-campus 1.7-megawatt wind turbine. He was also instrumental in helping bring such programs to campus as heavy equipment operator technician, truck driving, diesel technology and the forthcoming wind energy program. 

Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Gap Inc, Salesforce and Workday Close All-New Renewable Energy Aggregation Deal

Bloomberg News Release

Excerpt: This group of companies, coming together as the Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group, is the first example of companies aggregating similar, relatively small amounts of renewable energy demand to collaboratively enter into a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA), collectively acting as the anchor tenant for a large offsite renewable energy project. The unprecedented coordination between five international businesses lays the groundwork for other corporates to procure renewable energy cooperatively, maximizing value and reducing risk. Read more here.

Flickr Photo

MORE ABOUT RENEWABLE ENERGY AGGREGATION 

LevelTen Energy YouTube Video: Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group Case Study

 This is the first example of companies aggregating similar, relatively small amounts of renewable energy demand to collaboratively enter into a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA), collectively acting as the anchor tenant for a large offsite renewable energy project.

RENEWABLE ENERGY BUYERS ALLIANCE

The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) is led by four major nonprofit organizations that have brought together their expertise in transforming energy markets.

Collectively, REBA works with more than 100 large buyers that represent enormous demand for renewable power. REBA’s goal is to help corporations purchase 60GW of renewable energy in the US by 2025.

REBA Initiatives

U.S. Renewable Energy Map – Click image to link to it. 

SEIA Expands Leadership Team, Adding Vice President of Congressional Affairs and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced today a restructure and expansion of its leadership team. Erin Duncan, a proven legislative strategist and advocate, has been named the organization’s new vice president of congressional affairs and Katherine Gensler has been named vice president of regulatory affairs.

Duncan has extensive experience in Washington D.C. She joins SEIA after more than 11 years as a federal lobbyist for the National Education Association. Prior to that, she spent eight years working on Capitol Hill, including six years as legislative director for Rep. Tom Osborne,
(R-Nebraska). Read more here.

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT NEWS

Corporate Customers Smash Green Procurement Marks, Commercial Property Executives. One of Facebook’s deals in 2018 was part of a new PPA signed in March with Adobe for energy produced by the 320-megawatt Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm in Nebraska owned by Enel Green Power North America Inc. (EGPNA). 

Clean Energy Deal Tracker: ExxonMobil, Facebook headline a record-breaking fourth quarter,
GreenBiz. Not only was 2018 the biggest year on record for corporate renewable energy deals, with more than 6.5 gigawatts of contracts on the books, the furious pace of deal-making — and the creativity of the arrangements — barely slowed during the waning three months of the year. According to the official figures released in mid-December by the Business Renewables Center (BRC), part of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the publicly announced capacity contracted over the past 12 months was 6.43 GW.

NEBRASKA CONSERVATION AWARD

Conservation efforts recognized at NRD banquet,
Norfolk Daily News. In the past seven years, the [Wiese family of Oakland] has planted more than 1,200 trees and shrubs and renovated a 2½ acre windbreak
system — all by hand. Besides trees, the family also put in solar panels to provide electricity to their home and outbuildings. Since putting in the solar panels, the family has noticed a decrease in their monthly electric bill and feel good about producing green energy on their acreage. They also have a large garden on which they do their own version of no-till.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY

Nebraska clean energy plan focuses on wind, solar, efficiency, by Don Walton, Lincoln Journal Star

Clean energy plan renamed: Due to a business having a similar name, the Husker Power Plan was renamed the Husker Energy Plan. The plan was revised August 28, 2018. To read the updated Husker Energy Plan and see the 16 partners that have endorsed it, visit: www.huskerenergyplan.org.

POLLINATOR-FRIENDLY SOLAR SITES

Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies, by Jodi Helmer, Scientific American
A trend of planting wildflowers on solar sites could maintain habitat for disappearing bees and butterflies.

Photo: Kearney’s solar farm consisting of approximately 23,000 panels on 53 acres located in the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, is Nebraska’s largest ground-mounted solar project, to date. Credit: Developer, SoCore Energy
Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska

Another distinguishing feature of Kearney’s Solar Farm is that it is a nationally-recognized pollinator-friendly site, benefiting local food producers. 

Previously posted links to information of potential interest to other Nebraska communities that have developed or plan to develop a solar farm:

Spurred By State Incentives, Solar Panel Farms Are Coming To Illinois

By Jim Meadows, Illinois Public Media

“The price of solar installations has come down about 70 percent over the course of the past several years,” said Andrew Barbeau, with the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, a group formed by backers of the Future Energy Jobs Act. Speaking at a news conference marking the 2nd anniversary of FEJA’s passage, Barbeau said “the deployment of solar and wind power in Illinois is only getting cheaper right now. Recent studies have shown that the fall in lifetime costs of these projects are now beating existing coal and gas plants that are already out there and deployed.” Read more here.

Photo: Solar panels at the University of Illinois solar farm along Windsor Avenue.
Credit: Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

MORE MIDWEST CLEAN ENERGY NEWS

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

GOOGLE’S GROWING INVESTMENTS IN RENEWABLES