Category Archives: Energy Storage

South Sioux City to add 1.5MW battery to store solar power

By Mason Dockter, Sioux City Journal

The city of South Sioux City will become a “demonstration site” for the storage of electric power generated by the city’s 1,200-panel solar installation. A large-scale battery with the capacity to store 1.5 megawatts of power will be installed by Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc. this winter, City Administrator Lance Hedquist said. The city’s two-year-old solar park provides roughly 5 percent of the city’s 45 megawatt electricity usage. That electricity costs roughly two-thirds the cost of electricity purchased from elsewhere, Hedquist said. Hedquist has said the city plans to fully phase out of its wholesale power contract with NPPD by 2020. Read more here.

Photo: South Sioux City’s solar array located on a 21-acre solar park south of the city, alongside C Avenue. This is the first Nebraska project for California-based developer Solar City, a Tesla Motors subsidiary.
News Story: Solar is South Sioux City’s latest investment in renewables, Sioux City Journal
Photo Credit: Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal
Installer: Solar City

Drinking Buddies: How to pair a beer with your next solar farm (and why)

By Chris Crowell, Solar Builder

So, a solar developer and a beekeeper walk into a craft brewery … have you heard this one before? No? Then you need to chat with Rob Davis. He’s the director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy, a non-profit that promotes better vegetation on solar farms and pulls together partnerships to include bee apiaries as well.

“Whenever a solar farm is built on arable land, we want to make sure that we make productive use of that land,” Davis says, whose team has developed solar farm vegetation programs for more than 3,500 acres of projects in 10 states. “We want solar farms treated like rich soil that we’re borrowing from our grandkids, who will be inheriting it after that solar asset hits its end of life in 30 or 40 years.” Continue reading here.

Photo: A pollinator-friendly solar farm designed and managed by Engie.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

ENERGY STORAGE

OPINION

  • Trump should back renewable energy, it’s fiscally responsible, by Jon Anderson and Heather Reams, Opinion Contributors, The Hill
    Jon Anderson is a founder of The Western Way, a non-profit organizations focused on free-market solutions to U.S. environmental challenges. Heather Reams is the executive director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a non-profit dedicated to advancing Republican solutions to address our nation’s energy, economic and environmental security while increasing America’s competitive edge.
  • Renewable energy ownership: A game plan for utilities, Utility Dive. Contributed Opinion by Brian R. Murphy, Energy Tax Partner, Ernst & Young LLP.

SOLAR & WIND ENERGY JOBS

That solar panel? It’s mine

Norfolk Daily News Editorial

Members of the city council recently gave approval to what could turn into the state’s the state’s largest community solar project with NPPD. Three such projects already exist elsewhere in Nebraska.  The project also will be tied to a battery energy storage system demonstration project expected to be in operation by mid-2020.

“As technologies have advanced and costs have decreased, rural Nebraska is now in position to produce energy as efficiently as it does food,” said Mayor Josh Moenning. “We are excited to initiate Nebraska’s largest solar project, tied to the state’s first battery energy storage system, while helping lower energy bills and provide renewable options to interested citizens and businesses.” Read more here.

Previously Posted: This Nebraska Republican says it’s time to think big on rural investment, The Christian Science Monitor

Nebraska’s Community-Scale Solar 

  • See Solar Examples for additional photos and descriptions of community-scale solar projects in Nebraska.
  • Read additional editorials, news releases and stories about Nebraska’s Community-Scale Solar projects, completed or under development.

Photo Credit: SoCore Energy
Project: Kearney’s solar farm consists of approximately 23,000 panels on 53 acres located in the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. The array is currently Nebraska’s largest solar project, generating 5.8 megawatts of electricity, or about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand.
Developer: SoCore Energy
Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska
NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar 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 for your community, click here to submit the SunWise Community Solar Interest Form.

How to Combine Solar and Geothermal Energy Sources

By Holly Welles, Blue and Green Tomorrow

In terms of energy expenses, you can expect to save as much as 80% each year on hot water, heating and cooling when you switch from an HVAC system to a geothermal heat pump. Recent trends in these heat pumps — like smaller, modular “mini-split systems” — have made them an even more appealing option. As context, mini-split systems are a newer generation of geothermal heat pump which enables a homeowner to heat and cool a few rooms at a time, selectively. A zoned approach to heating and cooling and a solar energy system is often less expensive than central air conditioning and natural gas heat. Read more here.

Photo: Don Preister’s home in Bellevue powered with solar + geothermal
Project: 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 sq. ft. with a geothermal heat pump. There is extra capacity to charge his electric vehicle.
Photo Credit: Eugene Curtin / Bellevue Leader
Installer: Solar Heat & Electric with help from Preister brothers

See Also Under Solar Examples: Dageforde Net-Positive Energy Home

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

  • Environmental Groups Add To Pressure For Energy Storage Tax Boost, Forbes. A group of nine influential environmental groups has joined calls for energy storage to get access to the same tax credits as solar and wind. Legislation has been introduced in both houses for an investment tax credit (ITC) for energy storage. As it stands energy storage systems have to be paired with an ITC recipient such as a solar farm in order to be eligible.
  • New York Governor Cuomo Allocates $280 Million For Energy Storage, CleanTechnica
  • New York’s Energy Storage Incentive Could Spur Deployment of 1.8GWh, Greentech Media
    The Empire State has charted a path that would transform it into a top-tier global storage market by 2025.
  • New Federal Rules are Helping Energy Storage Grow in the Midwest, The National Law Review
    Last year, FERC issued Order 841, which requires wholesale grid operators to develop tariffs for market rules for energy storage that recognize the physical and operational characteristics of electric storage resources, to facilitate their participation in wholesale electricity markets.
    Industry analysts expect FERC Order 841 to lead to more growth in energy storage development, once grid operators like the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) implement the new rules. FERC Order 845, which modernized FERC’s large generator interconnection agreement, also contained provisions which may boost storage development by making it easier for storage developers to secure interconnection agreements with grid operators.

The Living Land: Moonshot, version 2.0

By Chris Lee, Nebraska City News-Press 

Name one technology that has more or less remained the same for over 100 years. I’ll give you two: electricity and automotive transportation. I feel it’s time we as a nation take the lead on re-imagining both. The traditional way of producing electricity is to dig or drill some finite resource out of the earth, process it, transport it across the continent, then burn it. To keep the turbines spinning, we have to keep burning fuel, generally coal or natural gas. Without taking into account the carbon emissions or pollution issues associated with this method of electricity generation, the process requires a constant input of consumables. All of which cost money. What if we instead . . . Continue reading here.

Chris Lee is executive director of Des Moines County Conservation. Follow his blog at OutdoorExecutiveDad.blogspot.com.

City of Norfolk, NPPD teaming up for solar project

Special to the Norfolk Daily News 

Approval was given Monday at the Norfolk City Council meeting regarding the state’s largest community solar project with NPPD. The project will be tied to a battery energy storage system (BESS) demonstration project expected to be in operation by mid-2020. NPPD, with support from the City of Norfolk, received a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust in the amount of $490,000 over two years for the battery energy project, which will be the first of its kind in the state . . . “As technologies have advanced and costs have decreased, rural Nebraska is now in position to produce energy as efficiently as it does food,” said Mayor Josh Moenning.

Read more here.

SoCore Energy Photo: Kearney’s 5.7-megawatt solar farm on 53 acres of the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. The solar farm generates about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand.

NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program

How the Green New Deal Can Unify Rather than Divide Us

Written by Ken Kimmel, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists

The “Green New Deal,” which seemed to spring out of nowhere, has captured the attention of many of us who recognize that the need to prevent runaway climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. Its inspiring title calls to mind an era when our country worked together to pull out of a depression. Its main proponents are young people—who better than the up-and-coming generation to demand that the former one leaves behind a world that is habitable? And, it calls for action on a scale that aligns with the best available science.

Unfortunately, many who oppose acting on climate change are using the Green New Deal as a political football . . . Those of us who want the United States to lead on climate change, whether such action is called a Green New Deal, or another inspiring frame (e.g., 100% clean energy by mid-century) must not let this happen. The key is to define the Green New Deal before the caricatures stick, by showing that, while it is ambitious, it is realistic and affordable. We can succeed if we follow these principles: Continue reading here.

Previously posted YouTube video exemplifying local “micro” Green New Deals sprouting up all across the country: How one small city sowed the seeds for its own Green New Deal

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Puerto Rico passes 100% renewable energy bill as it aims for storm resilience, Utility Dive
The U.S. territory will join Hawaii, California and Washington, D.C., with its 100% RPS target, which includes interim goals of 40% renewables by 2025 and 50% by 2040. Photo Credit: Flickr user Ricardo’s Photography

NEW REPORT

Battery Power’s Latest Plunge in Costs Threatens Coal, Gas, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

The most striking finding in this [levelized cost of electricity update], for the first-half of 2019, is on the cost improvements in lithium-ion batteries. These are opening up new opportunities for them to balance a renewables-heavy generation mix. Batteries co-located with solar or wind projects are starting to compete, in many markets and without subsidy, with coal- and gas-fired generation for the provision of ‘dispatchable power’ that can be delivered whenever the grid needs it. 

NEW DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY SOLAR RESEARCH PROJECT

News Release: Department of Energy Announces $130 Million for Early-Stage Solar Research Project
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $130 million for new research to advance early-stage solar technologies. These projects will help to achieve affordable and reliable energy to enhance America’s economic growth and energy security . . . This funding program targets five research areas: photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), soft costs reduction, innovations in manufacturing, and solar systems integration. These projects will make solar energy more affordable, reliable, and secure, while working to boost domestic solar manufacturing, reduce red tape, and make PV more resilient to cyberattack.

Previously Announced DOE Funding for Solar Energy Integration

For more information on the Solar Energy Technologies Office, visit their website HERE.

Community Microgrids with Energy Storage: Cost Effective and Clean

By Jacqueline DeRosa, Vice President of Energy Storage at Ameresco, Microgrid Knowledge

The growth of distributed resources is forcing utilities and grid operators to transition from standard operations to more decentralized power systems.  Already, local and clean distributed resources can directly provide a local community’s energy needs. Distributed renewable energy paired with energy storage is not just technically feasible, but also cost-effective for many applications today. New predictive analytics can optimize the use of solar, advanced energy storage, energy efficiency, and other resources to allow communities to procure renewable, low-cost energy and maintain reliability. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Energy Storage Has A Breakout Year On Both Sides Of The Meter, by Jeff McMahon, Forbes. Wood Mackenzie has not yet released its report on 2018, but Finn-Foley offered a sneak preview to Clean Energy States Alliance members Thursday, telling them that the fourth quarter of 2018 broke energy storage records everywhere.

Global battery storage pipeline reaches 15 GW, by Julian Jansen, IHS Markit Senior Analyst. PV Magazine International. With the U.S. market poised for exponential growth in 2019, the Americas already have a project pipeline of over 4.3 GW. As policy frameworks advance across the United States, IHS Markit already tracks project activity in 39 states, which have operational energy storage systems, with an additional five states with projects planned or under construction.

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.

Final hurdle cleared in California’s solar mandate for new homes

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

In the words of Kelly Knutsen, it’s officially official. Today the California Building Standards Commission unanimously voted to confirm a change to the state’s building code which will require that all newly built low-rise (three stories or less) residential units in the state either incorporate rooftop solar or hold a community solar contract, starting in 2020.

“These highly energy efficient and solar-powered homes will save families money on their energy bills from the moment they walk through their front door,” stated Knutsen, the director of technology advancement for the California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA). Knutsen also notes that this will include a solar plus storage option. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Lincoln, Nebraska-based GRNE Solar, “The Sun Haven.”

 

News Release: California Solar Building Requirement Crosses Finish Line, Solar Energy Industries Association