Category Archives: Community-Scale Solar

Hastings, Adams County gear up for solar future

By Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

After John Carllson put up a 40-foot by 80-foot shop last year at his home in Ayr, it just made sense to cover the south side of the roof with solar panels. His brother had erected solar panels at his home in Hordville. Carllson and his wife, Linda, were inspired. “I’d been kicking it around, and after I put the building up we talked it over,” said Carllson, who retired from working in the Hastings Utilities gas department. “I think it’s the coming thing. It’s free power from the sun.” Continue reading here.

Photo by Amy Roh: Heath Jennings (left) and Johnny Moser, of Interconnection Systems Incorporated out of Central City, install solar panels Tuesday in Ayr.

ALSO WRITTEN BY TONY HERMAN
Renewable energy now key component of development, Hastings Tribune
As officials from the city of Hastings have discussed a community solar project to diversify the local energy generation profile, one of the considerations most often talked about is how renewables may enhance economic development prospects. That has certainly been the case in Omaha.

RENEWABLE ENERGY EDUCATION 

Seven steps to community solar

By John Weaver, PV Magazine

 Nationwide, over 220 utilities offer community solar programs across 36 states, and a growing number of rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, and investor owned utilities are exploring or implementing community solar program offerings. Currently there is only around
1 GW of community solar installed, but some see a path toward 84 GW by 2030.

To assist in reaching this ambitious goal, Vote Solar and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) have released their Checklist for Voluntary Utility-Led Community Solar Programs. The document divides its advice into seven sections: Continue reading here.

IREC Photo

How Much Power is 1 Gigawatt?, U.S. Department of Energy

UPCOMING WEBINAR

IREC and Vote Solar will host a joint webinar on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 12pm Central Time to discuss the recently-released Checklist for Voluntary Utility-Led Community Solar Programs and other shared renewables tools, including IREC’s National Shared Renewables Scorecard and Shared Renewables Policy Catalog. To register, click HERE.


About IREC
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council increases access to sustainable energy and energy efficiency through independent, fact-based policy leadership, quality workforce development and consumer empowerment. A not-for-profit organization since 1982, IREC’s state-by-state work and national leadership make clean energy possible and reliable, including for low- to moderate-income customers and underserved communities. Learn more at www.irecusa.org

About Vote Solar
Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Learn more at www.votesolar.org

How To Tell A Good Community Solar Program From A Bad One

By Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

Scores of community solar programs are already up and running in the US, but until recently subscribers typically had to pay a premium over the regular utility rate to get their hands on all those clean electrons. The good news is that clean power rates don’t necessarily have to go up. In today’s energy landscape, rates could very well go down — if the program is designed and marketed properly. Continue reading here.

EPA photo of a community solar farm on a former landfill.

About the Author

 

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites.

OPPD provides third straight year with no rate increases

By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

The budget includes three major transmission projects and helps bring more renewable energy online. The $200 million Sholes wind farm in Wayne and Stanton Counties is expected to come online next year, bringing with it 160 megawatts of electricity. Additionally, a community solar project east of Fort Calhoun will generate five megawatts when it comes online next summer.
Read more here.

Lincoln Electric System Photo: The utility’s 5-megawatt solar farm.

SPRING EVENT

 

Save the Date! Nebraskans for Solar Public Forum:
OPPD’s Community Solar Program, March 13, 2019 at UNO’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, Rooms 230/231.
Co-sponsored by Allied Organizations.


NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

Solar Farm taking shape along east 16th Street

By Sam Pimper, Schuyler Sun / Columbus Telegram

Those making their way far enough down the stretch of east 16th Street in Schuyler have likely noticed the work taking place on an expansive 33-acre plot of land. The hours of labor transpiring at the location will soon result in the completion of a green energy project similar to ones in Nebraska cities like Fremont, Lincoln, Central City, Aurora and Lexington. A solar energy farm expected to go live in January 2019 is being erected in the town comprised of less than 10,000 people. Continue reading and view photos here.

Pixabay Photo

City seeking proposals for solar project

By Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

The city of Hastings is seeking proposals for a 1.5 megawatt solar farm project. Derek Zeisler, Hastings Utilities director of marketing and energy supply, told members of the Hastings Utility board during their regular meeting Thursday HU will disseminate an RFP on Friday for a solar farm project and is asking for those proposals by Nov. 28. “It seems to be a good size for a good price point,” he said of the 1.5 megawatt size of the solar project, which is similar to the power generated by the Central Community College-Hastings wind turbine. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Troy Schaben, Assistant City Administrator, Fremont Department of Utilities. First Fremont Solar Farm, 1.55-megawatts. The city completed a second solar farm of the same size in September 2018 to accommodate strong customer demand.

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE


Stowe, Okemo resorts to be powered by virtual wind energy, Vermont Biz

Lincoln Clean Energy Photo: Nebraska’s Plum Creek Wind
Farm development, expected to be completed in 2020.

A utility in coal country doubles down on renewables

By Jessica Kutz, High Country News

‘You can politicize it all you want, but in the end economics is really what drives it.’

Bill Patterson, the board president for the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA), a rural utility in a conservative pocket of Western Colorado, thinks the shift to renewable energy just makes plain economic sense. And DMEA members agree. Last week they voted in favor of giving the electric co-op the option to sell stocks in order to raise enough money to buy itself out of its contract with the wholesale provider Tri-State Generation & Transmission due to a desire to produce more renewable energy, locally. Continue reading here.

Tri-State Members’ Service Territories Include Nebraska

This story is a part of the ongoing Back 40 series, where HCN reporters look at national trends and their impacts close to home.

Thinkstock Photo

NRECA’S SOLAR DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES FOR COOPERATIVES & OTHER COMMUNITIES 

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s innovative SUNDA Project helps rural electric cooperatives and others to develop a utility-scale solar project. SUNDA stands for “Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration.”

The SUNDA team, with the help of the pilot project’s participating 17 rural electric cooperatives, utilized lessons learned from their deployment of 30 megawatts of photovoltaic (PV) solar to develop tools and resources that help other cooperatives to deploy solar in their own communities.

The tools are organized based on the solar project phase, from initial conceptualization to design and implementation. They are available online, providing valuable resources for cooperatives and other communities and organizations interested in developing a utility-scale solar project. Click the links, below, to learn more:

All the resources are available here: SUNDA Project

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
NRECA and Industry Groups: EVs Are Viable Tool to Meet Fuel Standards, by Cathy Cash
At least 150 NRECA member co-ops provide off-peak charging rates for EV users. Dozens of electric co-ops across the country have programs that implement charging infrastructure in their service territory.

UPCOMING WEBINAR
Cooperative Leadership Network Webinar:
What Co-op Leaders Need To Know About Community Solar, October 30, 2018, 2 to 3 pm

In bid to help bees, Xcel to require vegetation disclosure in solar RFPs

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

[Xcel Energy Minnesota] plans to add 2,600 MW to 3,000 MW of solar generation by 2030 and all those projects will be required to disclose a completed copy scorecard for pollinator-friendly sites. Pollinator-friendly vegetation isn’t required in order for a project to be considered by the utility, but it will establish a precedent “of priorities and values,” Rob Davis, director of the center for pollinators in energy at Fresh Energy, told Utility Dive.

Pollinator friendly solar sites are a growing trend among utilities seeking to more holistically reduce their ecological footprint. Sites are designated as “pollinator friendly” based on state legislation, which was first passed in Minnesota in 2016 and has since spread to five other states. Read more here.

Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

IN NEBRASKA

Kearney’s Solar Farm, comprising 22,464 panels on 53 acres at Tech oNE Crossing, is currently Nebraska’s largest. The 5.7-megawatt solar array’s generating capacity is enough to power about 900 houses or supply 5 percent of Kearney’s energy load.

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

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Photo by Engie Distributed Solar

MORE RESOURCES

 LEGISLATION

WIND ENERGY & CROPS

Iowa State University Research Finds Wind Farms Positively Impact Crops
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Kearney Hub Opinion: Storage new frontier in race for clean energy

The city of Norfolk is fixing to one-up Kearney on the solar energy front, and we wish Norfolkans the best of luck. Earlier this week, the northeast Nebraska city entered an agreement with Nebraska Public Power District on a venture to build a sizable solar array and link it to an energy storage system. It doesn’t appear as if Norfolk’s array will rival Kearney’s in size, but the size of the system isn’t nearly as important as its ability to successfully plow new ground in the development of green energy. Continue reading here.

Photo: Kearney’s $11 million, 53-acre solar farm, currently the largest in the state.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST: NEBRASKA / MIDWEST NEWS

City plans dedication for Oct. 1

The Fremont Tribune

The City of Fremont will be hosting a dedication for Solar Farm No. 2, the electric vehicle charging stations and the plug-in hybrid vehicles at 10 a.m. Oct. 1 at Solar Farm No. 2, located at 3851 East Hills Farm Road (near the intersection of Old Highway 275 and Hills Farm Road). The public is invited. Read more here.

Photo Courtesy of Troy Schaben, Assistant Fremont City Administrator of Utilities: Fremont’s First Solar Farm

RELATED NEWS STORY
City’s electric vehicle charging stations up-and-running, by Colin Larson, Fremont Tribune