Category Archives: Community Partners

Thank you to everyone who participated in the first annual Bellevue / Omaha Solar Tour!

In addition to Bellevue and Omaha, solar enthusiasts came from Bennington, Elkhorn, Grand Island, Hastings, Lincoln, York, Council Bluffs and Iowa City to attend the first-ever nationally-sponsored solar tour in our region. The event was part of the 2018 National Solar Tour organized by the American Solar Energy Society and Solar United Neighbors.

Thank you to local tour hosts Don Preister, shown in the above photo with his backyard solar array, and Eric Williams, the Wetherby family, City Sprouts, Exist Green and OPPD. The tour was sponsored by Nebraska Sierra Club, Green Bellevue and Nebraskans for Solar.

Photo Credit: KETV

NEWS STORIES

News from The Nebraska League of Conservation Voters

By Chelsea Johnson, Deputy Director of the Nebraska League of Conservation Voters and the Nebraska Conservation Education Fund

Now in the depths of spring, we at the Nebraska League of Conservation Voters have had a busy season thus far. From bringing together over 150 Nebraskans to hear from world-renowned nature photographer, David Thoreson, in May to lobbying on Capitol Hill for sound conservation policies last weekend, we’re excited about the energy surrounding the conservation of our state’s beautiful natural resources.

ADDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENTS & PHOTOS

  • NCEF Directors host solar workshops in Columbus and Fremont


NCEF Common Ground organizers have been working hard to bring solar energy education to various communities in the Northeast region of the state. Check out this write-up about NCEF’s solar presentation from the Columbus Telegram, and take a look through these photos from the group’s tour of the Fremont Community Solar Farm and the Lon D. Wright Power Plant. Learn more about Common Ground’s local events at  our Facebook page.
Photo: NCEF Common Ground Team

  • Upcoming Event: Common Ground Town Hall with Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning

Join NCEF for this event, which will include discussion about community development, citizen involvement, and renewable energy in Northeast Nebraska.

Where: Norfolk Chamber of Commerce
When: Wednesday, June 27th from 5 – 7 PM

This event is free and open to the public, but please register here if you plan to attend.

  • We’re hiring!

We are hiring Common Ground AmeriCorps members, who will serve from September 1, 2018 to August 31st, 2019. As an AmeriCorps Member with the Nebraska Conservation Education Fund (NCEF), you will increase knowledge of and concern for the most important conservation issues facing our state through our Nebraska-wide Common Ground Program. You will recruit, coach, and support local community volunteers in implementing conservation projects, and build partnerships between conservation professionals, local and state government, and your fellow community members.

Apply here to join our team of organizers that provide conservation education and outreach to every corner of our state. Benefits of being an AmeriCorps member include a living stipend, education award, and joining a prestigious, nationwide group  of people who are committed to giving back to their communities.

Positions are available in Lincoln, Omaha, York, Grand Island, North Platte, and Scottsbluff. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until July 1 or until all positions are filled.

To subscribe to NLCVs electronic newsletters sign up here.

Many thanks to our Green Watts for Good supporters during Omaha Gives!

Forty-two contributors generously donated $3,172 to our Green Watts for Good Fundraising Campaign! At midnight that put us halfway to our goal of raising sufficient funds for a second 4-kilowatt (4000 watts) photovoltaic (PV) system!

Additional Contributions

  • A generous donation today of $1,000 from the Nebraska Solar Energy Society brings the total amount raised toward the second PV system to $4,172!
  • NFS also has received pledges from two Nebraska solar energy businesses to donate solar panels for Green Watts for Good projects!

Next Steps 

  • We will use all Green Watts for Good donations to date to leverage matching contributions from local foundations, businesses and individual philanthropists.
  • We will also work with our partnering nonprofit to finalize plans to install the first 4-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system on an Omaha home using the generous donation to our Green Watts for Good Fund made by two local philanthropists on Earth Day.
  • Organize a “barn-raising” type effort to install the PV system. NFS board members, who include three solar professionals and four with rooftop solar, and other volunteers will “raise” the solar panels, which come with a manufacturer’s warranty to last 25 years.
  • Celebrate.

Nebraskans for Solar is an all-volunteer nonprofit, and so 100% of all donations go to support our Green Watts for Good Initiative.

Our long-term goal is to create a revolving loan fund to enable homeowners to purchase PV systems and to save money over many years.

If your ecology or sustainability club, faith group, foundation, business or other organization would like to sponsor a solar system for a family in your community, please send us an email: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com

Thank you from all of us at Nebraskans for Solar!

Photo: Washington State Habitat for Humanity volunteers celebrating a job well done.

Nebraskans for Solar and Joslyn Castle Neighborhood Association Partner to Bring Solar to Clarkson Park on Earth Day

Clarkson Park, located at 124 North 42nd Street, is now the first Omaha city park to be equipped with solar panels. Funding for the project was provided by a grant awarded to the Joslyn Castle Neighborhood Association (JCNA)  through the Mayor’s Neighborhood Grant Program.

Nebraskans for Solar donated the panels, and volunteers, led by Eric and Scott Williams, installed them.

In a recent news release, Joslyn Castle Neighborhood Association President Margie Magnuson wrote, “By bringing clean, reliable power to Clarkson Park, the community will be able to schedule more events and activities, such as movie nights, food festivals, and other activities that require a power source. In addition, this project could be a pilot project for other, larger city parks that need power. Solar panels could be a future cost savings, taking the burden off the city’s electrical grid, and helping Omaha move towards more sustainable green energy.”

For more information, contact:
Margie Magnuson
402-554-0775
jcneighborhoodassociation@gmail.com

See more photos here:

Update: Omaha World-Herald article added April 23, 2018

Clarkson Park becomes Omaha’s first to install solar panels, by Nancy Gaarder
On Sunday, volunteers with Nebraskans for Solar and the Joslyn Castle Neighborhood Association spent the afternoon getting the park ready for installation of solar panels on the south- and southwest-facing portions of the picnic shelter’s roof . . . [Margie Magnuson, president of the neighborhood association] and Eric Williams, a member of the Nebraskans for Solar board, said solar panels are the most practical and affordable way to get electricity to small parks such as Clarkson. “This is an extremely inexpensive way to get power to a park,” Williams said. “I would hope that solar would spread to other parks if this is successful.”
Read the complete story here.

Nebraskans for Solar Launching Green Watts for Good!

Nebraskans for Solar (NFS) needs your help to raise funds to support solar initiatives in our community. Our goal is to establish a revolving account to install solar PV systems on homes in an effort to provide clean, abundant green energy. We will partner with local nonprofits, like Habitat for Humanity of Omaha and others, to not only protect our environment, but also to save families money through solar systems.

Green Watts for Good Fundraiser

  • Contributions will be deposited in Nebraskans for Solar’s Green Watts for Good Savings Account at Metro Credit Union.
  • We are raising funds for 4-kilowatt PV systems: $6,500 per system. The solar panels come with the manufacturer’s warranty to last 25 years.
  • Nebraskans for Solar board members, who include three solar professionals and four who have rooftop solar, will install a 4-kilowatt PV system as a demonstration home for our partnering nonprofit and our community.

Ways You Can Get Involved in Green Watts for Good

  • Learn more about Green Watts for Good at 2018 Earth Day celebrations and all NFS-sponsored events, at Omaha Gives.Org, on our website and Facebook page, and from our newsletters.
  • Share our Green Watts for Good Flyer with other solar energy enthusiasts and invite them to join our community initiative.
  • Join us for a post-installation party at the solar-powered demonstration home! All Green Watts for Good contributors will receive special invitations. Refreshments will be served, and everyone will receive a “thank you” gift, with four options, compliments of Nebraskans for Solar.
  • Make a tax-deductible contribution at Earth Day events where we are sponsoring a table or at any of our community events. Two more options:
  • Omaha Gives.Org / Nebraskans for Solar Fundraising Campaign
  • Make a donation directly to Nebraskans for Solar. Please make checks payable to Nebraskans for Solar, with Green Watts for Good in the memo line, and mail to:

Metro Credit Union
PO Box 390696
Omaha, Nebraska 68139

 Please join us and help to create Green Watts for Good!

Solar Power: A First for Omaha City Park

Joslyn Castle Neighborhood Association News Release
By Margie Magnuson, JCNA President

On Earth Day, Sunday April 22, at 1p.m., the Joslyn Castle Neighborhood Association, in partnership with Nebraskans for Solar, will celebrate the installation of solar panels in Clarkson Park, located at 124 North 42nd Street.  Clarkson Park will be the first Omaha city park to be equipped with solar panels providing electrical power to an outlet and charging station. Funding for this project was provided by the 2017 Mayor Neighborhood Grant to provide a reliable source of power in the park for neighborhood-sponsored events.

By bringing clean, reliable power to Clarkson Park, the community will be able to schedule more events and activities, such as movie nights, food festivals, and other activities that require a power source. In addition, this project could be a pilot project for other, larger city parks that need power. Solar panels could be a future cost savings, taking the burden off the city’s electrical grid, and helping Omaha move towards more sustainable green energy.

Margie Magnuson, JCNA president, calls this project a “win-win project.” “By creating our own power source,” she says, “we could host a variety of park events to expand on the sense of community we are fostering through our park events without any additional burden to the city power grid. Our ultimate goal is to make Clarkson Park a more fun and enjoyable place to be, using better sustainable solutions.”

For more information, contact:
Margie Magnuson
402-554-0775
jcneighborhoodassociation@gmail.com

Many thanks to Dr. Bing Chen and to everyone who attended Nebraskans for Solar’s April forum

Nebraskans for Solar board members wish to thank our distinguished guest speaker for Earth Month 2018, Dr. Bing Chen, for his excellent and well-received presentation last evening at UNO’s Community Engagement Center. Dr. Chen is Professor of Electrical Engineering, UNL, and Passive Solar Research Group (PSRG) Director.

His discussion focused on PSRG’s current research project and the application of passive solar features to a demonstration assisted living unit (ALU) utilizing renewable energy, which the group has dubbed “Small House on the Prairie.” Dr. Chen also addressed steps audience members can take to conserve energy in their own homes, from the less-expensive to more comprehensive passive solar retrofits.

The rationale for the Small House on the Prairie project is both sound and timely, as the need to provide alternative housing solutions in lieu of expensive nursing home care is growing nationwide, with members of the “baby boomers” generation approaching retirement or having already retired. Dr. Chen cited the following notable statistics:

  • 76 million births occurred in the US between 1946 and 1964 – the 19 years usually referred to as the “baby boom”
  • Nursing home care costs more than $90,500 annually, according to a 2012 survey by MetLife

Dr. Chen’s presentation slides also highlighted the following renewable and sustainable features the Passive Solar Research Group have incorporated or plan to incorporate into the “Small House on the Prairie” demonstration project:

  • Passive solar energy for space heating
  • Photovoltaics (PV) power for electrical generation
  • High-efficiency heat pumps
  • High-efficiency appliances
  • Advanced insulated windows
  • Potable water from roof collection
  • Grey water reuse
  • Smart energy monitoring and patient/medical monitoring via Alexa/Echo

Additional Resource
Dr. Chen referenced the following book in his discussion, which is available at the Nebraska Energy Office website and which NEO describes as containing information “that remains timeless.”

Path To Passive: Nebraska’s Passive Solar Primer, written by Bing Chen and Passive Solar Research Group {PSRG) colleagues

Green Schools Virtual Roundtable: Benchmarking in Schools

March 21, 2018 – 4 to 6 pm
Click flyer for more information and to register.
Nebraska Energy Office News Release Announcing Benchmarking Initiative: State Government Buildings To Be Benchmarked by 2020

New Website Launched – Husker Power Plan.Org

Written by Matt Gregory, Clean Energy Advocate,
Nebraska Wildlife Federation

Last month, an informal coalition known as Clean Energy Nebraska, which includes Nebraska Wildlife Federation, officially released a state clean energy plan – the Husker Power Plan. The plan is so named as it calls for using in-state resources including higher levels of wind, solar, and energy efficiency than are currently planned.

Duane Hovorka, former Executive Director of Nebraska Wildlife Federation, was the main writer of the plan. Other contributors included Janece Molhoff of the League of Women Voters, former Lincoln Electric System board chair Marilyn McNabb and Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen.

“Overall, this is a plan for moving Nebraska further down the path to a clean energy future. It’s affordable, doable and continuing the progress that our public power utilities are currently making, ” Hovorka said.

The Husker Power Plan has been analyzed by energy consultants Anna Sommer, Tyler Comings and Elizabeth Stanton who found that the plan will reduce carbon pollution by 58% over five years compared to business as usual. The Husker Power Plan has been endorsed by eleven organizations so far, including Nebraskans for Solar, collectively representing over 10,000 individuals.

The Husker Power Plan, the consultants’ report, and information about endorsing it can be found at huskerpowerplan.org.

Matt Gregory: matt@nebraskawildlife.org

Nebraskans for Solar Board Endorses Husker Power Plan

On Wednesday, January 17, 2018, Clean Energy Nebraska announced the release of the Husker Power Plan, a state clean energy plan for Nebraska. “Former Nebraska Wildlife Federation Executive Director Duane Hovorka wrote the plan together with clean energy supporters, stakeholders, concerned citizens and advice from energy consultants.”

Last week Nebraskans for Solar’s Board of Directors voted to endorse the plan, joining other groups, which include: Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraskans for Peace, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Nebraska 350.Org, League of Women Voters of Nebraska and Nebraska Sierra Club.

Among other clean energy initiatives, the Husker Power Plan calls for adding over the next 5 years: 1,500 to 1,850 megawatts of new wind energy to the 1,520 megawatts currently in place or under construction and 129 to 150 megawatts of utility-scale and community solar. The document’s concluding statement:

“As we have outlined in this Husker Power Plan, with the right mix of energy efficiency, peak demand management, wind, solar, energy storage and other clean energy options, Nebraska can transition away from dirty fossil fuels like coal, providing enormous health benefits to our residents. We can lock in a clean energy future with electricity that is affordable, prices that are predictable, and energy produced largely within our borders. We can save Nebraska businesses and residents hundreds of millions of dollars every year in energy costs, and the environmental and health benefits would be even larger than the economic benefits. With our Husker Power Plan, we can give ourselves a clean energy future, and leave our children and their children a more efficient and effective economy and a better world.”

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

DOWNLOAD THE PLAN & CONSULTANTS REPORT 
Husker Power Plan for Electric Utilities (PDF)
Consultants Report – The Husker Power Plan: A New Energy Plan for Nebraska (PDF)

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