Category Archives: Solar Energy Education

“Property Brother” Jonathan Scott’s Solar Documentary Now Available For Viewing At Your Convenience

Solar energy evangelist and “Property Brother” Jonathan Scott journeys all across the U.S. to uncover why clean, renewable energy isn’t available to all. While traveling to learn both the obstacles and opportunities for achieving energy freedom, Jonathan talks with conservatives fighting for solar freedom; sits down with farmers struggling to make ends meet; engages coal workers desperate for a new, healthy means of making an income; the Navajo Nation who built a utility-scale solar plant; religious leaders who made a desperate attempt to help meet their community’s energy needs; and politicians at the forefront of the battle for energy freedom.

Watch the full video here.

SOLAR INCENTIVES

 

Links to Incentives, Depreciation & Net Metering Information

 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

Premiers November 16: “Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip”

Solar energy evangelist and “Property Brother” Jonathan Scott journeys all across the U.S. to uncover why clean, renewable energy isn’t available to all. While traveling to learn both the obstacles and opportunities for achieving energy freedom, Jonathan talks with conservatives fighting for solar freedom; sits down with farmers struggling to make ends meet; engages coal workers desperate for a new, healthy means of making an income; the Navajo Nation who built a utility-scale solar plant; religious leaders who made a desperate attempt to help meet their community’s energy needs; and politicians at the forefront of the battle for energy freedom.

Learn more and watch the trailer here.

You are invited to DOE’s National Community Solar Partnership Virtual Summit

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office invites you to join the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) Virtual Summit on Thursday, October 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT. The summit will highlight partners’ innovations and progress to date in ensuring access to affordable community solar for every U.S. household by 2025. The event will feature speakers from leading community solar organizations and highlight case studies of innovative community solar projects from across the country. Register here.

This event is hosted by Nation of Makers, a Power Connector supporting the American-Made Network through the National Renewable Energy Lab.

“Solar Lease Considerations for Landowners” Webinar Recording & Slides Now Available!

Presented By Nebraska & Ohio Extension Specialists

For those who missed the October 9th webinar and those who want to watch again, click here to view the recording and slides.  

Speakers

  • F. John Hay – Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Eric Romich – Extension Field Specialist Energy Development, Ohio State University Extension
  • Peggy Kirk Hill – Director Ag and Resource Law Program, Ohio State University Extension

The webinar gives an overview of solar development and addresses major issues for farmers, landowners, and their families to consider when negotiating a long term, utility-scale solar lease agreement.

“Solar Land Lease Considerations for Landowners” Webinar: Presented by Nebraska & Ohio Extension Specialists This Friday!

NDEE RESOURCE
Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy

NEBRASKA LB 824
In 2016 the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 824, which removed some regulatory barriers connected to renewable energy development in our state.

Solar energy is better for the environment and your pockets

By Alyssa Curtis, KMTV

BELLEVUE – The country’s largest renewable energy event is being held this week. National Solar Tours is an opportunity for people around the country to learn about making the switch to solar energy from their neighbors. Continue reading or watch the video here.

Part of the National Solar Tour: Don Preister’s home in Bellevue with solar + a geothermal heat pump.
Solar Installation: 8.4-kilowatt, grid-tied, OPPD net-metered system, ground mounted on south-facing slope with no battery storage (yet) and 28 optimizers. Installation was completed in December 2016, with enough capacity for all electrical needs in an all-electric residence of 2000 square feet. There is extra capacity to charge his electric vehicle.
Photo Credit: Eugene Curtin / Bellevue Leader
Installer: Solar Heat & Electric with help from the Preister brothers

Are you installing solar for your home or business? See Links to Incentives, Depreciation and Net Metering

MISSOURI REAP PROJECTS

Missouri Farmers Increasingly Look To Solar To Power Their Operations, KCUR Here and Now Story by Jonathan Ahl, Harvest Public Radio

Chris Bohr’s farm in Martinsburg, Missouri, has hundreds of acres of soybeans and corn. It also has a 5,000 head hog barn that requires a lot of electricity to power its ventilation system, cooling fans and lights. About fifty yards away from the barn are three rows of solar panels. Bohr is among a growing number of farmers that are generating solar power to meet their needs. Bohr received a Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP, grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to help pay for his solar panels. And the number of farmers applying for the grants is going up.

PV MAGAZINE ARTICLES

FROM ENERGY NEWS NETWORK

Grid congestion a growing barrier for wind, solar developers in MISO territory, Energy News Network
A recent analysis found 245 clean energy projects that were withdrawn during the advanced stages of development, with many blaming a lack of transmission capacity.

NEW WOODMAC REPORT

Global Energy Storage Capacity to Hit 741GWh by 2030, Greentech Media
The U.S. will account for half of the world’s installed energy storage capacity by the end of the decade. Global energy storage capacity is now expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31 percent through 2030, according to Wood Mackenzie’s new global storage outlook.

COMMUNITY STORAGE

SMUD’s Energy StorageShares program: The first virtual energy storage program in the US, Renewable Energy World

SMUD’s innovative Energy StorageShares program is the first virtual energy storage program in the US. StorageShares allows SMUD’s commercial customers to invest in an off-site battery storage system and enjoy energy cost savings without siting batteries at their facilities. In this newly launched pilot program, eligible commercial customers make an up-front payment to SMUD for program participation; in exchange, they receive a monthly on-bill credit. SMUD bundles the investments from program participants with its own capital, procures a battery, and installs it in a location that optimizes grid benefits.

ALSO PUBLISHED BY RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD

NEBRASKA CLIMATE CHANGE STORIES

These stories were developed as part of a yearlong UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications depth-reporting project examining the impact of climate change on Nebraska. To learn more, visit: climatechangenebraska.com

SOLAR ACCESS IN HISPANIC COMMUNITIES

Investing in equitable access to solar energy for Hispanic communities, PV Magazine article contributed by Javiar Chacon, a Customer Analyst on the SREC Operations team at Sol Systems, where he works closely with customers to help mint their SRECs.

As one of the fastest growing American communities, the Hispanic population has been historically underrepresented in solar energy. The barriers that have excluded Hispanic people from solar, however, are not permanent and work can be done to ensure an equitable energy transition.

HDR & LANDFILL SOLAR 

Rethinking post-closure landfill care, Waste Today Magazine
HDR Inc., Omaha, Nebraska, has been supporting municipal and private solid waste clients for over 40 years with the planning, permitting and construction of secure solid waste landfills across the U.S. Of HDR’s beneficial use projects, one of the company’s most reputable post-closure developments is the Hickory Ridge Landfill in Atlanta. In 2010, HDR utilized a new exposed geomembrane solar cap technology to transform the landfill into the largest solar energy-generating facility in Georgia.

According to the company, it is the world’s largest solar energy cap and the first use of the technology as part of a fully permitted landfill final closure system. Utilizing over 7,000 solar panels to convert sunlight into more than 1 megawatt of clean, renewable electricity, the new technology essentially takes a durable, high-strength geomembrane material made for outdoor exposure on roofs and secures it to the landfill like a bedsheet through the use of vertical anchor trenches.

“Solar Land Lease Considerations for Landowners” Webinar: Presented by Nebraska & Ohio Extension Specialists

Innovative Homes, Energy Careers Featured in New Virtual Sessions Offered by Solar Decathlon

Since 2002, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® has inspired more than 450 collegiate teams and 23,000 students worldwide. In addition to the focus on tomorrow’s leaders, the Solar Decathlon has a foundational goal of providing educational programs and opportunities for the general public.

In September, the Solar Decathlon will start a new series of 10 virtual sessions with topics ranging from tours of houses with innovative designs to residential energy usage to jobs in the energy sector. Offered at no cost, these webinars are available to the general public and cater specifically to current and prospective homeowners, members of the real-estate industry, educators, students and young professionals, home builders, renovation contractors, and others interested in viewing state-of-the-art homes.

During a traditional Solar Decathlon Build Challenge event, thousands would converge on the educational tents to learn more about these topics. Through these monthly webinars, virtual “visitors” can access this exclusive content from the comfort of their homes.

Below are additional details on each planned webinar.

  • Solar 101 – How Solar Energy Works
    Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • Discovering Clean Energy Careers
    Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • A Virtual Hands-On Energy Workshop for Families
    Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • Solar Student Leaders of Tomorrow Showcase
    Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • Resilient Home 411: Strategies to Weather and Recover from Natural Disasters
    Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • Zero Energy Ready Homes: New and Growing Fast
    Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • The Future of Solar: A Tour of Cutting-Edge Solar Research with the U.S. Department of Energy
    Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • Solar Decathlon Build Challenge Team House Tour
    Friday, April 16, 2021, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • Winning Solar Home – The DOE Solar Decathlon Build Challenge Winners
    Wednesday, May 19, 2021, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. The Design Challenge is a one-to-two-semester, design-only competition, while the Build Challenge is a multiyear design-build competition.

The most successful teams will complement architectural and engineering excellence with innovation, market potential, building efficiency, and smart on-site energy production. The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon continues to “push the envelope” on the design of high-performance, efficient, affordable, innovative buildings while promoting student innovation, STEM education, and workforce development opportunities.

Additional details are on the Solar Decathlon website.

One Way to Retire Coal Plants: Buy Out the Owner

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

Municipal and cooperative utilities may have an easier time retiring coal plants early.

In 2016, New Mexico’s Kit Carson Electric Cooperative left its long-standing power supply relationship with Colorado’s Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association behind. Kit Carson paid nearly $40 million to sever its relationship with Tri-State, after realizing it could save its customers even more money — $50 to $70 million — and get access to more renewables by contracting with Guzman Energy, a wholesale power provider. Since Kit Carson made a run for the door, numerous Tri-State members have considered the same.

Think tank Energy Innovation, in a new analysis released Tuesday in partnership with energy modeling company Vibrant Clean Energy, is elevating Kit Carson’s flight as a model for coal retirement that allows third-party, private financiers — including energy providers such as Guzman, investors or renewables developers — to push municipal and co-operative utilities toward more renewables. Continue reading here.

Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC is a nonpartisan energy and environmental policy firm. 

MORE GTM ARTICLES OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

  • Microsoft Eyes New Tool in Decarbonization Quest: Green Hydrogen
    The tech giant announced Monday that it recently powered a row of data center servers for 48 hours using nothing but hydrogen fuel cells, which it believes to be the longest such test in the world for a data center operator at that scale. Microsoft is expanding its hydrogen testing and intends to leverage its vast size and energy consumption to help the green hydrogen industry scale up, Brian Janous, the company’s general manager for environmental sustainability, said in an interview. Last week NextEra Energy, the largest U.S. generator of wind and solar power, revealed plans to build its first green hydrogen facility in Florida, to be fueled by solar power.
  • Trump Administration Announces Long-Delayed Nomination of Democrat to FERC
    Nomination of NRDC attorney Allison Clements alongside Virginia utility regulator Mark Christie could restore political balance to key U.S. agency.
  • FirstEnergy CEO Defends Utility Amid Bribery Scandal Questions
    The utility’s share price and credit ratings have taken a hit after it was implicated in an Ohio nuclear and coal bailout corruption investigation.

NEW WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE REPORT

41 states have reduced their carbon emissions while growing their economies, Fast Company
Since 2005, 41 states and Washington, D.C., have increased their GDPs while reducing their carbon emissions, debunking the myth that economic growth can only happen at the expense of our environment. A new report from World Resources Institute (WRI) analyzes how states have decoupled their GDP growth from emissions, which Devashree Saha, a senior associate at WRI, says is “a hopeful sign for the United States and for the planet.” 

MORE ON NEW EIA DATA

Renewables have outpaced nuclear and coal to start 2020, PV Magazine
In the latest edition of Electric Power Monthly, Energy Information Administration (EIA) data shows that renewable resources have generated more electricity through May 31st than both coal and nuclear power.

AGGREGATED COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECTS

First downstate project through Illinois community solar program underway, Energy News Network. The first community solar project in downstate Illinois facilitated by the state’s 2017 Future Energy Jobs Act is now being built, showing both the potential of the wildly popular program and the challenges of implementing it. Washington D.C.-based Summit Ridge Energy won the rights to sell renewable energy credits for 18 projects in downstate Ameren utility territory and 23 in ComEd’s territory in northern Illinois. So far it’s signed up 8,479 customers to participate in the community solar installations — just over half the subscribers it needs to be fully subscribed. 

MIDWEST SOLAR SCHOOLS

C2 Energy Capital Works with Solar Partners to Guide a School Solar Project to Successful Completion, C2 Capital News Release, PRNewswire

“The average price of a school solar installation has dropped 67% in the last ten years, making solar energy a smart decision for schools’ budgets. The most important factor for a successful solar installation in a school is an experienced team. Together, our partners have installed solar on dozens of schools in the Midwest and we are proud of the level of expertise, quality, and service we can offer,” says Richard Dovere, Co-founder and Managing Member of C2 Energy Capital.

The partnership between C2 Energy Capital, First Solar, and SP&L took a value-driven approach that resulted in cost-savings and reduced project risk for the school through strategic technology procurement, employing local and Ohio resources, and arranging ongoing project performance analysis. 

EVANGELICAL ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK

Can an evangelical group change Ohio lawmakers’ minds on clean energy?, Energy News Network

An evangelical group has a stark message for Ohio lawmakers: If you care about unborn children, clean up the air their mothers breathe. “As a pro-life Christian, I believe pollution harms the unborn, causing damage that lasts a lifetime,” reads a petition signed by more than 53,000 Ohioans in support of moving the state to 100% clean electricity by 2030. The petition, circulated by the nonprofit Evangelical Environmental Network, was delivered to lawmakers on July 16. Its potential political impact was unclear then and is even more so now after federal authorities arrested the speaker of the Ohio House and others as part of an alleged $60 million bribery scheme

SUNPOWER BIFACIAL SOLAR PANELS

SunPower to launch 625 W shingled module, PV Magazine
SunPower, which is majority owned by French energy giant Total, is planning to launch a new shingled module series with 625 watts of power output. Group spinoff Maxeon Solar Technologies will commercialize the Performance 5 line in the fourth quarter. The high-efficiency, bifacial mono-PERC solar panels will be made with large format eight-inch G12 wafers and will have an efficiency of 21.2%.

AWEA WEBINAR SERIES

Renewables 101 series: Wind recap, look out for solar, by Lauren Rudolphi, Into The Wind
As someone new to the renewable energy industry, this month’s Wind 101 Webinar Series offered an insightful and well-rounded look into the world of wind. From an overview of the market, to wildlife, siting & permitting, I walked away from the series feeling informed and excited to learn more! Below is a recap of my key takeaways.

New Resources Developed by Nebraska’s Largest Utilities – Plus an Upcoming Event

Announcing LES’ Electric Vehicle Webinar Series
By Marc J. Shkolnick, LES Manager/Energy Services

Electric vehicle enthusiasts are invited to participate in one or more noon-hour webinars presented by Lincoln Electric System. The virtual workshops will cover a wide array of topics ranging from home and public charging trends and technologies, results of LES’ residential charging study, considerations for buying or leasing a new or used electric vehicle and innovations in electric transportation. LES has booked experts from the Electric Power Research Institute (ERPI) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to present and engage in question and answers for each webinar. RSVP by visiting www.les.com/ev

LES News Release: Recent grant enables LES to offer first EV rebate
Lincoln Electric System has received a grant of $120,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for its “Electric Vehicle Public Engagement and Rebate Program.” The Trust Board announced funding for the project at its June 11 meeting, and LES made the official announcement during its own administrative board meeting July 17. Funds will be used to offer LES customers purchase or lease rebates for new, all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.


New Series of Solar Videos Created by NPPD & UNL 
By David Rich, NPPD Sustainable Energy Manager

The series’ co-creator and presenter F. John Hay, shown in the above photo, is an Extension Educator for Biological Systems Engineering at UNL. Small wind turbines and small solar systems for home, farm, or business are among his various areas of research and teaching interests. The videos include:

The resources are also posted here on NPPD’s website. Click “Videos”.


New platform gives customers a way to connect
By Laura King-Homan, The Wire


OPPD recently launched a new way to connect with customers – and hear what they have to say. The utility’s new outreach websiteOPPDCommunityConnect, replaces the previous website and provides a more interactive experience. It also supports the utility’s strategic directive around stakeholder engagement and transparency.

Current conversations featured on the site include:

  • Power with Purpose – OPPD’s utility-scale solar and backup natural gas generation project
  • Pathways to Decarbonization – The work OPPD is doing to reach net-zero carbon production by 2050
  • COVID-19 pandemic updates and community resources

OPPD has streamlined its customer-owned generation program
By Jodi Baker, The Wire

“We know more and more customers are looking into owning their own generation, and we want to guide them in the process,” said Kirk Estee, Customer Alternative Energy Solutions Manager for OPPD. “We are their energy partner, and we’re here to help.”With those goals in mind, OPPD recently revamped and streamlined its process of applying for Customer-Owned Generation (COG). And the utility created a new website, with educational resources, such as a quick-start guide, information on net metering for billing, and available tax credits. Customers will also find a calculator to determine their pay-off period for an investment in solar panels.


LES ANNOUNCEMENT

LES’ signature sustainability event is back this year in a whole new way — online!

We’re hosting our 10th annual Sustainable Living Festival digitally as a weeklong extravaganza July 20-24.

This year, we need your help in spreading the word about the event. Feel free to invite friends and family to this virtual festival through social media and your other channels! Each day, we will have a variety of content from local experts to help festivalgoers discover easy ways to take care of our environment and live more sustainably.

See the lineup of live events and mini sessions & register here.