Category Archives: Financing

OPPD sells out of shares for Community Solar program

By Sydnie Holzfaster, Fox42

In less than two months OPPD sold out of their shares to provide renewable energy to their customers through the Community Solar programSunday the environmental group Green Bellevue welcomed Cliff Mesner of Mesner Development Company and Tricia McKnight from OPPD to talk about community solar programs across Nebraska. McKnight said OPPD sold over 8,400 shares for renewable energy. The program will pull solar energy from OPPD future solar farm in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska later this year . . . Don Preister, Bellevue city councilman for the fifth ward, said the concept of a solar share program isn’t new. He has been working to bring a solar share program to Bellevue for the last eight years. Read more here.

To be placed on OPPD’s community solar waiting list, call customer care at 402-536-4131.

Bellevue’s Proposed Landfill Solar Project – Previously Posted 

Given the dramatic decrease in solar energy’s costs over the past several years since Bellevue’s landfill solar project was first proposed, it would be good to see an up-to-date analysis of the project’s levelized costs through a twenty-year power purchase agreement.

About Power Purchase Agreements

  • Solar Power Purchase Agreements, Solar Energy Industries Association 
    A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement where a developer arranges for the design, permitting, financing and installation of a solar energy system on a customer’s property at little to no cost. 
  • Power purchase agreements, by Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD Blog
    Currently, OPPD utilizes PPAs for the output of five wind farms: Grande Prairie, Prairie Breeze, Flatware, Petersburg, as well as Sholes, which is under construction. Also, OPPD has signed power sales agreements with NPPD for the partial output of five other wind farms. Those farms are Ainsworth, Broken Bow 1, Broken Bow 2, Crofton Bluffs and Elkhorn Ridge. The normal term of OPPD’s PPAs is 20 years. The new community solar project near Fort Calhoun is under a PPA, with NextEra Energy Resources.

About N-Solar

 

 

 

Sol Systems News Release
With a long history of serving Nebraska communities, Mesner Development assembled a team of solar energy experts, including GenPro Energy Solutions for site development and construction and Sol Systems for project development and power purchase agreements. To date, the companies comprising N-Solar have developed, constructed, or financed a combined 17.6 megawatts of solar electric generating capacity across Nebraska.

Top Photo by N-Solar: Central City’s 499-kW Municipal Solar System

NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar

Request Community Solar: If you are an NPPD customer and would like to request community solar for your community, click here to submit the SunWise Community Solar Interest Form.

‘Stranded costs’ mount as coal vanishes from the grid

By Jeffrey Tomich, Reporter, E&E News 

study by consultants Vibrant Clean Energy LLC and Energy Innovation said the United States has reached “the coal crossover,” at which renewables could replace almost 75% of the U.S. coal fleet and at an immediate savings to customers. By 2025, the number is set to rise to 86%. But in most cases, what’s left behind as utilities pull the plug on old coal plants is more than industrial shells awaiting demolition. They’re also leaving behind millions of dollars of so-called stranded costs on the companies’ books — costs someone must shoulder . . . Environmental and consumer advocates, utilities, and regulators across other states in the coal-heavy Midwest are trying to find balance between cutting carbon and keeping utility bills affordable. A potential solution to accomplish those goals is securitization — refinancing higher-cost debt with low-interest, ratepayer-backed bonds. Read more here.

Photo Credit: We Energies

What are “stranded assets?”
Stranded assets are now generally accepted to be fossil fuel supply and generation resources which, at some time prior to the end of their economic life (as assumed at the investment decision point), are no longer able to earn an economic return (i.e. meet the company’s internal rate of return), as a result of changes associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Source: Carbon Tracker Initiative

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Securitization fever: Renewables advocates seize Wall Street’s innovative way to end coal, by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

State legislation authorizing the use of securitization:

GREEN BONDS

U.S. Green Bank Act of 2019 Would Provide $10 Billion+ of Capital to State and Local Green Banks, Coalition for Green Capital. The Green Bank Act of 2019 would inject billions of dollars into the U.S. economy to accelerate clean energy deployment, grow clean energy businesses, and deliver affordable clean energy to all Americans. The members of the global Green Bank Network and the American Green Bank Consortium have already shown that public investment in clean energy deployment drives greater total investment, job growth and lower energy costs. The bill creates a new USGB as a wholly owned corporation of the U.S. government, housed within Treasury. It would be capitalized through the issuance of federal Green Bonds.

SUBSIDIES

According to the International Monetary Fund, the United States subsidizes fossil fuels at a cost of $649 billion a year.

OPINION

Thriving in a low carbon future: M&A and the new energy economy, Utility Dive
Contributed article by Mary Anne Sullivan, Sarah Shaw and Alex Harrison, Partners at Hogan Lovells.

Local Do-It-Yourself Solar Project & Two How-To Guidebooks

Featured Solar Example
Colin Croft’s Do-It-Yourself Project in Gering, Nebraska

Project Description: Grid-tied 5.4-kilowatt PV system in rural Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska, which generates enough to about “break even” in overall consumption/generation for this year-round home (electric heat supplemented by wood stove).  Twenty 260/270w panels tied to Enphase M250 micro-inverters/Enphase Envoy gateway were used.  The array was mounted about 25 degrees east of due south using basic and inexpensive Unistrut framing, bolted to E mounts by Quick Mount PV, which were installed during replacement of the old roof with a new composite roof.
Production/consumption monitoring using SiteSage for Homes/Powerhouse Dynamics.
PDF Download: DIY PV Installation & Passive Solar Sunroom, written by Colin Croft

DO-IT-YOURSELF BOOKS

Mobile Solar Power Made Easy!


Subtitle: Do-it-yourself Guidebook to Vehicle Mounted Solar System Design and Installation, by William Errol Prowse IV. The guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to size and install a solar system for an RV, van, car and boat.

Install Your Own Solar Panels

Subtitle: Designing and Installing a Photovoltaic System to Power Your Home
Through detailed directions and step-by-step photos, veteran solar installer Joseph Burdick and seasoned builder Philip Schmidt teach you how to determine the size, placement, and type of installation you’ll need. This comprehensive DIY guide covers everything from assembling rooftop racking or building a ground-mounted structure to setting up the electrical connections and making a battery bank for off-grid systems.

LINKS TO INCENTIVES TO REDUCE YOUR PROJECT COST
PLUS ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems: 30% to December 31, 2019.
Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Solar Energy Industries Association 

LES Solar Incentive
Additionally, LES customers may qualify for a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the system size and primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dual axis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

What happens when schools go solar?

Stanford Earth Matters Magazine, Stanford University

Sunshine splashing onto school rooftops and campuses across the country is an under-tapped resource that could help shrink electricity bills, new research suggests. The study, published in the April issue of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Letters, shows taking advantage of all viable space for solar panels could allow schools to meet up to 75 percent of their electricity needs and reduce the education sector’s carbon footprint by as much as 28 percent. According to the study, it’s not economically viable for educational institutions to purchase rooftop solar systems outright in any state. Rather, the projects can make financial sense for schools if they contract a company to install, own and operate the system and sell electricity to the school at a set rate. Read more here.

Photo: Colorado Chatfield High School teacher Joel Bertelsen explains the fundamentals of a photovoltaic array to his Intro to Engineering Students. Credit: Dennis Schroeder / NREL

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Solar Energy Industries Association Fact Sheet: What is a solar power purchase agreement?

A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement where a developer arranges for the design, permitting, financing and installation of a solar energy system on a customer’s property at little to no cost.

The developer sells the power generated to the host customer at a fixed rate that is typically lower than the local utility’s retail rate. This lower electricity price serves to offset the customer’s purchase of electricity from the grid while the developer receives the income from these sales of electricity as well as any tax credits and other incentives generated from the system.

PPAs typically range from 10 to 25 years and the developer remains responsible for the operation and maintenance of the system for the duration of the agreement. At the end of the PPA contract term, a customer may be able to extend the PPA, have the developer remove the system or choose to buy the solar energy system from the developer.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Resource
Solar Schools Assessment and Implementation Project: Financing Options for Solar Installations on K–12 Schools

Infrastructure fund snatches up Clean Energy Collective

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine


For the past few years we at pv magazine have been reporting on the trend of asset managers, infrastructure funds, and even insurance companies and pension funds moving in to buy up portfolios of solar projects, starting with yieldcos and large-scale projects, and later moving into distributed solar portfolios. The acquisitions have become particularly intense in the past few months, and we’ve written about the “wall of money” looking for projects to buy. Now these funds may be making the next step, which is going from buying projects to investing in the developers and other companies that make these projects happen. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Clean Energy Collective

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NEBRASKA ENERGY OFFICE LOANS

Nebraska Dollar and Energy Saving Loans are offered statewide by the Nebraska Energy Office and the state’s lending institutions. The simple interest rates are as low as 1%*.
*final annual percentage rate (APR) may vary by lender and loan fees charged.

Many common home, building or system energy improvements qualify for financing.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Applications

The spring deadline to apply for USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants is April 1, 2019. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. REAP assists agricultural producers and rural small businesses in reducing energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations.

Who may apply? Small businesses in eligible rural areas and agricultural producers, both rural and non-rural, who have at least 50% of their gross income coming from agricultural operations, may apply.

REAP grants provide up to 25% of the total project costs, and a grant and loan combination up to 75%. Eligible projects include renewable energy systems and the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements. Additional details are posted here.

Top Image: Twenty-five kilowatt photovoltaic system installed in 2015 powers the Hammond family farm operations west of Benedict, Nebraska. Credit: Matt Ryerson / Lincoln Journal Star
Previously Posted News Story: Farms flexing solar power, Lincoln Journal Star
Installers: MarLin Wind & Solar and North Star Solar Bears
See Solar Examples for brief descriptions and photos of more Nebraska farmers & ranchers who have installed PV systems to reduce their energy costs.

RECOMMENDED READING

 

Rick Hammond and his family are the subjects of This Blessed Earth, the One Book, One Nebraska pick for 2019. Ted Genoways’ award-winning book is also this year’s All Iowa Reads Selection.

 


FEATURED RESOURCES FOR LANDOWNERS

Guides to Solar Land Leases 

GREEN NEW DEAL 

Green New Deal Needs To Include Agriculture Technology, by Austin Frerick, Contributor, Forbes
The way we eat and produce food is a significant contributor to climate change. In fact, agriculture is estimated to contribute between 13% and 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Any “Green New Deal” needs to not only enable innovation around sustainable agriculture, but also encourage farmers to adopt new, environmentally-friendly technologies.

Cities collectively buying renewables: “LA led way to leveraging EV RFPs, more cities follow with renewables”

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced in June plans to partner with other cities to explore collective purchasing of renewable energy in order to bring down costs and incentivize more development. So far on board are cities including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Portland and Orlando. The RFI aggregates the 20 cities’ combined 5,700 GWh of annual municipal loads said Adam Jacobs, Boston’s energy manager in the webinar hosted by the American Council on Renewable Energy.

Read more here.

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

Related

MORE AGGREGATION NEWS

Photo by SunEdison: San Diego Canopies

  • San Diego to form world’s largest Community Choice Aggregation, PV Magazine
    The announcement comes as a part of Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s ambitious 100% by 2035 renewable energy mandate for the city. CCAs happen when local governments, either municipalities or counties, form an entity to procure electricity for their communities. In the Golden State they have allowed communities to procure renewable energy even more rapidly than the statewide 60% by 2030 mandate. 
  • Businesses Unite To Drive Uptake of Renewable Energy In Australia, The Climate Group
    RE100 has gone Down Under, demonstrating the potential for corporate sourcing of renewables to help shift the energy market in Australia away from polluting coal. This week saw the first Australian meeting of RE100 – the global corporate leadership initiative on renewable electricity led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

MORE NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Photo Credit: Google

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS

1.8 Million Clean Energy Workers Employed In Top 50 American Metro Areas

ADDITIONAL CLEAN TECHNICA INTERVIEW

Google’s Renewable Energy Leadership (#CleanTechnica Interview)

Solar Solutions: Iowa hog farmer cuts power bill by double digits

Fort Dodge Messenger
Editor: Darcy Dougherty-Maulsby

The drop in [Dwight] Dial’s power bill has been dramatic since his solar equipment started powering his home and farm in mid-July. While his May-June 2018 electrical bill was $762 and the June-July bill was $580, the bill dropped to $263 after the solar system had run for 17 days in mid- to late-July. His August-September bill plunged to $77.

While the cost of Dial’s solar project totaled $85,000, he paid only a fraction of this, thanks to current tax incentives, grants and other resources. He received a 30 percent federal tax credit, along with a 15 percent state tax credit, for installing his solar energy system. He also worked with a local grant writer to apply for a federal grant, which he received. “That helped pick up another 13 percent of the system’s total cost,” Dial said. “With all the incentives, it was like paying $27 for something that normally costs $100.” Read more here.

Photo: Family Farm in Minden
Project: 21-kilowatt solar system in Minden, Nebraska installed by GC Resolve. This array provides most of the farm’s energy needs. The project was partly funded by a USDA Rural Energy for America (REAP) grant, which covered 25% of its cost. Additional financing was obtained through the Nebraska Energy Office’s low-interest loan program for solar installations.
Installer: Graham Christensen, GC Resolve
See Solar Examples to view more solar-powered Nebraska farms.

Ways Nebraska Food Producers, Rural & Urban, Can Significantly Cut the
Costs of Solar & Small Wind Projects

FEDERAL INCENTIVES

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% through 2018 and 2019. Small wind: 100 kilowatts or less. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants
NOTE: Qualified applicants include urban as well as rural food producers.
REAP grants provide up to 25% of the total project costs, and a grant and loan combination up to 75%. Eligible projects include renewable energy systems and the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements.

See Also

LINCOLN ELECTRIC SYSTEM’S SOLAR INCENTIVE
LES offers customers a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dual axis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.
    Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

Ohio No. 2 on federal list of new distributed wind power capacity

By Megan Henry, The Columbus Dispatch

Unlike wind power from wholesale generation where power is sent through transmission lines and substations, distributed wind power is used at or near where it is generated, according to DOE. Iowa had the most new distributed wind capacity installed in 2017 with 63.47 megawatts, according to the report.

Distributed wind systems are connected on the customer side of the meter to meet the onsite load or directly to distribution or micro grids to help grid operation or offset large loads close by, and are possible for approximately 49.5 million residential, commercial or industrial sites, according to an analysis by the DOE. The U.S. wind industry installed more than seven gigawatts of capacity in 2017, according to the report. Read more here.

DISTRIBUTED WIND ENERGY RESOURCES

INCENTIVES

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% through 2018 and 2019. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

RURAL ENERGY FOR AMERICA PROGRAM (REAP) GRANTS & LOANS
USDA Seeks Applications for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants
The deadlines to apply for grants are October 31, 2018, and April 1, 2019. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. REAP helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations.

How a Big Bank Fueled the Green Energy Boom

By Matthew Heimer, Fortune Magazine

[Green] bonds were the brainchild of dealmakers at Bank of America—the $87 billion, 209,000-employee giant that occupies the No. 3 spot on Fortune’Change the World list this year. Their work is part of BofA’s $125 billion Environmental Business Initiative, a campaign that has established the Charlotte based bank as a powerhouse in “climate finance”—the unglamorous but essential business of steering investor capital into the low-carbon economy. Green bonds, which the bank all but invented, have raised $442 billion worldwide since 2013, helping borrowers both tiny (the Antioch, Calif., Unified School District) and enormous (trillion-dollar Apple) pay for renewable-energy innovations. Read more here.

iStock Photo

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