Category Archives: Community-Scale Solar

Madison County establishes regulations for solar farms

Written by Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News

On Tuesday, the county board conducted a public hearing and approved a set of solar
regulations that were first considered and approved by the Madison County Joint Planning Commission in recent months . . . Heather McWhorter, the planning and zoning administrator for Madison and Pierce counties, provided the county board with an update on how Madison
County researched its regulations. Read more here.

Image Credit: World Atlas

Previously Posted

 

NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

 

 

NextEra looking into potential solar farm in northeast Nebraska

By Matt Olberding, Lincoln Journal Star

NextEra has signed a lease for 2,500 acres in Pierce County with brothers Ryan and Aaron Zimmerman, who have a 345-kilovolt Nebraska Public Power District power line running through their land. The brothers told the Energy News Network website that they previously had an agreement with a smaller solar company a couple of years ago.  Read more here.

Photo Credit: American Public Power Association

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES


FPL brings online 298 MW of solar parks in Florida,
Renewables Now

The company, which is a unit of NextEra Energy Inc, last month unveiled plans to add over 30 million solar panels totaling 11,000 MW in Florida by 2030 and said it will make “unprecedented new investments” in energy storage projects.

 

INTERVIEW

 

Local leadership: A conversation with Jodie Van Horn of Sierra Club’s Ready for 100, by Christian Roselund, Americas Editor, PV Magazine

 


SOLAR IN SPORTS

Move Over Tom Brady, Solar Is the Real Super Bowl MVP, Solar Energy Industries Association 

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia “hosts over 4,000 solar panels that produce more than 1.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to power more home games than the Falcons play during the regular season! It is the first sports facility in U.S. history to receive a Platinum LEED certification, the highest “green” rating a building can achieve.”
Check out SEIA’s Solar in Sports report to see if your favorite teams are taking advantage of solar.

SOLAR AS A SERVICE NEWS

The Time For Home Solar Is Now, Sponsored Post, CleanTechnica
Sunrun’s solar as a service model allows households to access clean solar energy from as little as zero dollars down, with no debt and no maintenance worries. The household simply pays for the energy at a low monthly rate — solar delivered as a service. We install the panels on the roof, monitor them daily, and maintain them. 


SOLAR TECHNOLOGY

Aurora Solar raises $20 million in funding and will hire more tech professionals, Solar Power World

Aurora’s world-class engineering team has developed its patented SmartRoof technology, which is the only solution in the market that allows solar professionals to create a highly accurate 3D CAD model of a site in just a few minutes. Using these models, Aurora can forecast how many solar panels will fit on a property, calculate how much energy they will produce, and predict how much money the installation would save a property owner.

EV NEWS


Volkswagen floats opening up EV platform to competitors,
Smart Cities Dive. It comes just a couple of weeks after VW and Ford signed a global alliance in which they pledged to cooperate on developing EVs, autonomous vehicles (AVs) and mobility services.

NPPD’s Scottsbluff solar project performing as expected

Nebraska Public Power District News Release

“The Scottsbluff project, and NPPD’s other Sunwise Community Solar projects, are operating well and performing as expected. The Scottsbluff project was sold out within days of our launch of the project and the community has been extremely supportive,” explained NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt.  “In fact, Scottsbluff has embarked on a second community solar project with the developer, SolSystems, for a significantly larger 4.6-megawatt operation.”  Arlt pointed out that NPPD is in various stages of progress for community solar projects in Norfolk, Chadron, O’Neill, Ainsworth, Pawnee City, and Loup City. Read the entire news release here.

NPPD Photo: Scottsbluff’s first community solar project developed by Mesner Solar and GenPro Energy Solutions, both based in Central City, and NPPD.

NPPD’s SunWise Program


Request Community Solar In Your Community: 
If you are an NPPD customer who lives in another town or city and would like to request community solar in your community, click here to submit the SunWise Community Solar Interest Form.

Previously Posted News Release
Contract awarded for R-Project transmission line construction by NPPD
For more information on the R-Project, go to www.rproject.nppd.com.

Nebraska Also in the News Here
Enel Green Power, Anheuser-Busch Partner to Make Super Bowl Week ‘Super Green’, Renewable Energy Magazine. An Interview with Mark McGrail, associate vice president for energy management at Enel Green Power North America. “To date we’ve been focusing our efforts on Kansas and Oklahoma, but now we are expanding into other regions, like Texas and Nebraska and Illinois.”

Previously Posted Enel News Release
Enel Green Power brings online 620 MW of new wind capacity in the United States
Enel, through its US renewable company Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (EGPNA), has started operations of the 320 MW Rattlesnake Creek wind farm, its first wind facility in the US state of Nebraska, and the Diamond Vista wind farm of around 300 MW in Kansas.
 OPPD image

NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

NextEra Energy Resources is seeking an interconnection agreement for a massive solar project in northeastern Nebraska that, if built, would be the largest in the Midwest and among the largest in the country. The 423 megawatt project is in the early stages of development and still hinges on how much it will cost to connect to the regional transmission grid. “We’re in a holding pattern until we get clarification from the Southwest Power Pool,” said Phil Clement, NextEra’s project director in Nebraska. “We need to know if it’s viable.” Sean Gallagher, vice president for state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, said the project could be a sign of things to come in the region, which is increasingly attractive for large solar projects.
Continue reading here.

Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

Previously Posted

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

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:

Community? Rooftop? What solar is right for you?

Written by Laura King-Homan, The Wire, OPPD Blog

OPPD will soon be offering a community solar program to its customers. But what is “community solar,” and how do you decide between rooftop or community solar when it comes to your energy needs? Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

Save the Date! Nebraskans for Solar’s March Event: “OPPD’s Community Solar Program,” March 13, 2019, 7 p.m. at UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Rooms 230/231.

Co-Sponsored by Green Bellevue, Nebraska Sierra Club,
OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team,
The Nebraska Conservation Education Fund 

Our guest speakers will be Tricia McKnight, OPPD Product Specialist, and Heather Siebken, Director of Product Development & Marketing. They will present an overview of OPPD’s community solar program and how customer-owners will be able to participate. A Q&A will follow their presentation.

Thank you to everyone who attended our event last evening at UNO’s Community Engagement Center!

First of all, thank you to our speakers: Anna Noucas, Project Development Manager at
Sol Systems, based in Washington DC, and Jeff Berggren, Nebraska Program Manager for
GenPro Energy Solutions, headquartered in Piedmont, South Dakota.

They provided excellent presentations on a large number of solar projects completed
throughout our state and others in the development or planning stage. As their slides
demonstrated, solar energy projects have increased exponentially throughout Nebraska
over the past several years. Each of these projects contributes tax revenues to our local
communities, benefiting our state’s overall economy, while growing jobs.

The discussion that followed their presentations generated numerous insightful questions from audience members. Thank you to all our attendees, who were mainly from Omaha and Bellevue but also included people from Lincoln, Central City, Elkhorn, Bennington and Council Bluffs.

We also wish to thank two special guests, who contributed their professional expertise to the discussion:

  • David Bracht, former Director of the Nebraska Energy Office, who in August 2018
    rejoined the law firm Kutack Rock and whose practices include renewable energy and agribusiness.
  • Cliff Mesner, from Mesner Solar Development in Central City, who has completed utility-scale projects in Nebraska, starting with Nebraska’s first-ever community solar project in Central City.

NFS invites all four of them back for a future panel presentation and update on our state’s growing renewable energy development.

FEBRUARY EVENT

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us again in February when our speakers will
discuss a Lincoln neighborhood association’s community solar project, a first for Nebraska!

Lincoln’s Capitol Beach Community Solar Project – A Showcase Model for Nebraska
UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Rooms 230/231. February 13, 2019 – 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Presenters
Terry Wittler & Jeff Buhrman, Capitol Beach LLC
Michael Shonka, Solar Heat & Electric
Click here to view a Google Earth image of the solar project.
A Q&A will follow their presentation. All our events are open to the public. If you
belong to a neighborhood association, please share the event with other members.

FEBRUARY BOOK DRAWING

We will hold another book drawing at our February event. for ten copies of the Solar Electricity Handbook – 2019 Edition, by Michael Boxwell

The Solar Electricity Handbook is a simple, practical guide to using electric solar panels and designing and installing photovoltaic PV systems. Now in its thirteenth edition, the 2019 Edition assumes no previous knowledge of solar electric systems. The book explains how photovoltaic panels work and how they can be used. It provides a step by step guide to successfully design and install a photovoltaic solar system from scratch.

Community solar report delivered

By Kerri Rempp, The Chadron Record – Rapid City Journal

This map shows two possible plots of land where a community solar farm could be installed.

After a year of studying the issue, the Chadron City Council could decide soon if the city should take the next step to seriously consider a community solar project. Council members were
given an update and recommendation from the committee researching the possibility Monday.

Nebraska Public Power District alerted Chadron to the opportunity for a community solar project in October 2017, and because there seemed to be a positive response to the idea, a committee was formed to study the feasibility of such a project in January last year.
Continue reading here.

Draft Document: Questions & Answers: SunWise Community Solar Program, City of Chadron and NPPD

NPPD’s SunWise Program
If you are an NPPD customer who lives in another town or city and would like to learn more about developing a SunWise project in your community, click here to submit the SunWise Community Solar Interest Form to NPPD.

Minnesota-Vermont partnership will offer solar to low-income families

Written by Demetria Lee, Energy News Network


The energy assistance project aims to reduce energy costs for 50 households by building a community solar garden.

When a Minnesota nonprofit partnered with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to build a
community solar array in 2017, they believed their model could scale nationally. That theory is being tested as the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) travels east to Vermont’s Windsor
and Windham counties where they are working with Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) to provide solar power to 50 low-income households. Jason Edens, director of RREAL, started the nonprofit in his garage with a group of local volunteers. Their goal was to alleviate the burden of high energy bills in northern Minnesota by installing solar units for low-income households. Continue reading here.

Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL)

Rural Renewable Energy Alliance Photo: A RREAL crew installs a solar panel at Pine River-Backus School in central Minnesota.