Category Archives: Financing

Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants in Nebraska

What does this program do?

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing.

Who may apply for this program?

  • Agricultural producers with at least 50 percent of their gross income coming from agricultural operations.
  • Small businesses in eligible rural areas.

Application Deadlines

Applications for Grants of $20,000 or Less and Loan/Grant of $20,000 or Less Combo Applications due by November 1, 2021, or March 31, 2022.

Applications for Unrestricted Grants or Loan/Unrestricted Grant Combo Applications due by March 31, 2022.

See additional details here.

Who can answer questions?
Contact Nebraska’s Rural Development Energy Coordinator:
Jeff Carpenter, USDA Rural Development
100 Centennial Mall North, Suite 308
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
Telephone: (402) 437-5554
jeff.carpenter@usda.gov
http://www.rd.usda.gov/ne

Next Up at Microgrid 2021: How Microgrids Provide Local Control of Energy While Reducing Costs

Presenters for the May 20 session, “How to Pay for Your Microgrid,” will include Scott Benson, Resource & Transmission Planning Manager, Lincoln Electric System.

Event Update By Elisa Wood, Microgrid Knowledge

Take a look at the article published this week on Microgrid Knowledge about a microgrid being built at an electric bus depot in Maryland.  These are the kind of topics being discussed by visionary panelists at Microgrid 2021, a virtual event now underway through June 3. We encourage you to join the conversation. You can register for free and watch any of the webinars, panels, tours or showcases. Join us live to ask questions of panelists or watch the replay of past sessions (the event began May 11).

Here’s what’s in store for next week when sessions will be held May 18 and May 20. The focus is on how microgrids reduce costs.

  • May 18, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.: How Microgrids Reduce Energy Costs
  • May 18, 12 to 1 p.m.: Network with Microgrid Solutions Experts
  • May 18, 1 to 2 p.m.: Crunching the Numbers on Microgrids
  • May 20, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.: How to Pay for Your Microgrid
  • May 20, 12 to 1 p.m.: Network with Microgrid Solutions Experts
  • May 20, 1 to 2 p.m.: Why Does a Microgrid Cost What It Costs?

Microgrid Knowledge invites you to register for these sessions through June 3 free of charge. Please note: They are unable to accept registrations for a session the day it’s scheduled to occur. 

Read Elisa Wood’s entire article here.

Is Solar Energy an Option for Your Farm?

By Taylor Leach, Agweb, Powered By The Farm Journal

During the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin 2021 Business Conference, Adam Wehling, Dean of Agriculture, Energy and Transportation at Chippewa Valley Technical College, spoke on how to easily incorporate a solar energy system onto your ag operation. According to Wehling, these systems can be easily integrated into your existing facilities, can improve the efficiency of the systems you currently have and can reduce your overall energy cost. Factors to Consider: Continue reading here.

Photo: Don Gasper’s Farm Near Lindsay, Nebraska. See Solar Examples for more solar projects on local farms. 

SOLAR WATER PUMPS

An equitable and reliable solar power grid for farmers, by Praveen Jain, IEEE Medal in Power Engineering recipient, Solar Power World

Born in rural India and being at the global forefront of technology over the past 40 years, I can say with certainty that farmers in many countries are not seeing the true benefits of solar power. Possibly the biggest and best benefit of solar power for farmers is solar water pumps used for irrigation. Powered by sunlight that is harvested through photovoltaic (PV) panels, solar pumps boost crop yield, promote efficient water use and reduce power consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Off-season, these solar installations can feed power to the local grid, providing extra income for farmers.

REGENERATIVE FARMING

U.S. FARMERS & RANCHERS IN ACTION REPORT

Transformative Investment in Climate-Smart Agriculture Unlocking the potential of our soils to help the U.S. achieve a net-zero economy

This report focuses on six established practices: 1) no-till/reduced tillage with retained residues, 2) cover crops, 3) crop rotation, 4) compost application 5) managed grazing, and 6) integrated crop and livestock systems—all of which improve soil health, sequester carbon and produce numerous co-benefits such as reduced erosion, increased water infiltration, and economic and environmental resiliency. With technology and financial innovation targeted at specific practice adoption barriers, these benefits will accrue on the farm, throughout rural America and the agriculture value chain, and the nation as a whole.

PACE

Spotlight on PACE: PACE Projects From Downtown Redevelopments to Dairy Farms,  National Law Review

Before taking a look at some of the ways the market has used PACE over the last few years, here’s a synopsis of just what exactly PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) is.

Links to PACE Resources

 

 

 

Nebraska passed PACE-enabling legislation in 2016.

INNOVATIVE VIRGINIA PROGRAM

In Virginia, solar ‘barn raisings’ bring power to families in need, by Elizabeth McGowan, Energy News Network

A pair of Shenandoah Valley nonprofits have launched a fund to cover the upfront cost of outfitting Habitat for Humanity homes with photovoltaic panels that help put a dent in homeowners’ utility bills.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

How infrastructure is banking on green banks

By Heather Clancy, Editorial Director, GreenBiz Group

Quick, what do Alaska, Maine and South Carolina have in common? 

All three U.S. states are seriously evaluating the creation of green banks — financing institutions created with the explicit mission of combining public and private funds to invest in climate solutions and green infrastructure. They would join roughly 20 other U.S. jurisdictions that have used this mechanism to drive more than $5 billion in clean energy investments as of the end of 2019, including Connecticut, Florida, Michigan and Washington, D.C. 

Alaska is so invested in the idea that Rep. Don Young, a Republican who championed Deb Haaland’s nomination as Interior Secretary, last week stepped across the aisle again to become a co-sponsor of the latest legislation to create a national-level green bank. The bill would make $100 billion of public funds available for a nonprofit organization that would provide financing and other support to regional, state and local green banks — an amount the sponsors say could catalyze $884 billion in green infrastructure investments over the next decade and help create 4 million clean economy jobs within the next four years. Continue reading here.

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

What the Biggest Corporate Energy Buyers Want from Federal Clean Energy Policy

By Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

On Monday, a notable subset of the largest U.S. corporations signed on to a statement from the Renewable Energy Buyers Association (REBA), laying out their top federal policy priorities to help them meet their own aggressive decarbonization goals. Among the 34 signatories are tech giants like Amazon, AppleFacebookGoogle and Microsoft, manufacturing heavyweights including Cargill, Clorox and General Motors, and global retail and consumer brands like Disney, Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, Target and Walmart. Many of these companies have already pledged to zero out their carbon footprints in the next decade or two, whether internally or across their supply chains. Read more here.

ESG & SUSTAINABLE FINANCE

Welcome to a new era of ESG and sustainable finance, by Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, Green Biz Group

A vast ecosystem is in play. Investors have awakened to the notion that how companies manage environmental and social issues is nearly as key to their risk profile and profitability as are financial fundamentals. Banks and insurers are factoring climate risk and social issues into their products and portfolios, accelerating a shift that’s been gearing up for years.

Companies are warming to a world of deeper transparency and disclosure demands by investors, lenders, customers and others, and are trying to keep up with the dynamic world of standards and frameworks with which they’re being asked to comply. Oh, and it’s the dawn of a new U.S. presidential administration that sees virtue in assertive action on a range of social and environmental issues.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

KELLY SPEAKES-BACKMAN

Biden-Harris Administration picks Energy Storage Association CEO to join senior DoE leadership, Energy Storage News

A former utility commissioner in her home state of Maryland, Kelly Speakes-Backman has been leader of the ESA during a period of fast growth and rapid scale-up for energy storage in the US, with more than 2GW installed during that time.

In a recent interview for Energy-Storage.news, the now former ESA CEO said that the association expected to see at least 3.6GW of storage installed during 2021, and ESA published ‘Vision 2030’ a while ago, citing that the deployment of at least 100GW of energy storage on the grid is both desirable and achievable.

EV CHARGING 

EVgo Seeks $2.6B Public Market Valuation in SPAC Reverse Merger, Greentech Media
The LS Power subsidiary is the second major EV charger company in the U.S. seeking public capital to meet rocketing demand.

HOME HYDROGEN BATTERY

World-first home hydrogen battery stores 3x the energy of a Powerwall 2, New Atlas

To get off the grid with home solar, you need to be able to generate energy when the Sun’s out, and store it for when it’s not. Normally, people do this with lithium battery systems – Tesla’s Powerwall 2 is an example. But Australian company Lavo has built a rather spunky (if chunky) cabinet that can sit on the side of your house and store your excess energy as hydrogen.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

Solar Landscape to Provide Cost-Free Electricity to Asbury Park Schools, Renewable Energy Magazine
Entering into a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Solar Landscape will provide electricity to the Asbury Park School District at no cost for the entire term of the agreement. This will result in a critical cost savings of more than $120,000 a year for Asbury Park schools.

What is a solar power purchase agreement?, Solar Energy Industries Association 

 

FEATURED WIND ENERGY RESOURCES

Wind Workforce Webinar Series Offers Insights, Information, and Solutions
To help industry recruit the best and brightest people and to provide students with the essential resources to set them on a path toward a rewarding career in the wind energy workforce, NREL, in partnership with the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), hosted a three-part Wind Workforce Webinar Series as part of American Wind Week 2020.

KidWind Launches the Power Grid Kit
The KidWind Project recently launched the Power Grid Kit—the first large-scale, functioning grid model that provides educators with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore power grid systems and solutions with students of all ages. The kit models the flow of electricity from generation sources like nuclear, coal, natural gas, wind, hydropower, and solar power through substations before being distributed to industrial, commercial, and residential consumers. It also models distributed generation in the form of solar panels and residential wind turbines to demonstrate the broad range of energy options possible in the future.

Source: Department of Energy’s WINDExchange Newsletter

How the Fed can save the earth

By Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group

Just before Christmas, America’s central bank took a major step, albeit one long overdue: It recognized the threat that the climate crisis poses to the nation’s — and the world’s — financial system. It did that in part by becoming a member of the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System, or NGFS.

The group, launched in 2017, aims “to enhance the role of the financial system to manage risks and to mobilize capital for green and low-carbon investments in the broader context of environmentally sustainable development.” That is, its goal is to help central banks and other regulatory bodies exchange ideas and research on how to mitigate climate risk within banks and other financial systems. NGFS membership has grown from eight central banks three years ago to 83 banks across five continents, from Canada to Colombia to Cambodia. That the United States has joined is no small change. Read more here.

Securitization News
Can a 1990s strategy help states quit coal?, by Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News

Twelve Kansas Cooperatives Partner to Invest in Solar Energy

By Michael Bates, Solar Industry

Using the sixth cooperative principle of cooperation among cooperatives, 12 cooperatives in Kansas are joining together to make a small investment for the next 25 years – or more – in solar energy. Participating electric cooperatives will be able to procure low-up-front cost solar energy to serve their members through the Kansas Cooperative Sun Power Program and reduce their peak demand. Continue reading here.

Community-Scale / Utility-Scale Solar, Nebraskans for Solar 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

HOME ENERGY STORAGE

Sonnen Launches ‘Much More Accessible’ Battery for Home Backup and Grid Services, Greentech Media

The sonnenCore is priced to compete with rivals like Tesla, LG Chem and Enphase, and to tap emerging grid services opportunities.The Germany-based companyacquired by oil major Shell in 2019, designed its sonnenCore system to deliver daily cycling for grid services as well as backup power. It comes with capacity of 5 kilowatts/10 kilowatt-hours with a price point of $9,500.

FEATURED NATIONAL SOLAR INSTALLATION

High school student gets solar industry partners to donate full PV system to a New Jersey food pantry, Solar Builder

The Flemington Area Food Pantry, serving Hunterdon County, N.J., celebrated and unveiled their brand new solar array installation this week — a project was made possible by a collaborative donation effort among notable solar industry leaders and community volunteers, each supplying their individual components. Among all of the parties who contributed to make the installation a reality, the pantry has one in particular to thank– North Hunterdon High School student, Evan Kuster.

FROM OPPD’S NOVEMBER OUTLETS NEWSLETTER

OPPD evaluating potential sources for solar generation

The High-Performance All-Electric Home

By Joe Wachunas, CleanTechnica

A short 15 months ago, Berkeley, California launched the city-led electrification movement by (essentially) banning gas in all new construction. Then, in a blink of an eye, over 35 cities across California and the United States followed Berkeley’s lead.  Thus, we find ourselves at an inflection point where the all-electric home seems poised to become the default clean energy abode of the future. And there are many additional benefits to all-electric homes for both consumers and builders that make reasons for fuel switching even more compelling. Read more here.

Related Reading

Also written by Joe Wachunas: On the Cutting Edge of Vehicle to Grid. CleanTechnica

TESLA SOLAR ROOF INSTALLATION

Tesla Solar Roof Install Time Lapse – 40 Squares in 4 days, YouTube Video 
Weddle and Sons Roofing just completed a 15kW Tesla Solar Roof installation near Topeka, Kansas. 

Tesla Solar Roof Website
Weddle & Sons Roofing offices in Lincoln and Omaha
Installing A Tesla Solar Roof, by Weddle & Sons Roofing

SOLAR & ENERGY STORAGE FINANCING

Service Finance Company to deliver competitive and convenient financing packages for Panasonic brand solar modules and EverVolt™ energy storage systems, Panasonic News Release

Panasonic and Service Finance Company today announced PowerOn, a new home energy storage financing program exclusively for Panasonic EverVolt™ Certified Installers that enables them to offer 100% financing to homeowners who buy a complete energy storage system including EverVolt™ battery storage and Panasonic brand solar modules, or EverVolt™ battery storage.

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

Corporate renewable energy procurement jumps 45% in 2020, Solar Power World
More than any other country, the United States has a growing portion of new renewable energy projects being built to meet demand coming directly from corporations.

EDF RENEWABLES  & GEENEX SOLAR

EDF Renewables North America and Geenex Solar Transact on a 4.5 gigawatt (GWac) Solar Development Portfolio, EDF Renewables News Release. The portfolio of project assets in the transaction exceed 20 solar projects in various stages of development.

Previously Posted News Release: EDF Renewables acquires Nebraska wind project

Milligan 1 Wind Project Website
Milligan 1 Wind is a $350 million investment in Saline County. The 300 MW wind farm project will generate clean energy for more than 100,000 homes, boost the local economy with millions in new spending, produce $45 million in total tax revenue, and create more than 200 jobs while sustaining 150 small family farmers and landowners with stable lease payments of more than $50 million over the life of the project. The project is planned to begin operation in late 2020.

CARBON OFFSETS

Michigan officials look to state forests as an offset for carbon emissions, by Tom Perkins, Energy News Network. Skeptics worry the plan will give polluters an inexpensive and imprecise option to meet future emission targets.

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA: SOLAR GROWN™ HONEY

Clif Family Introduces Solar Grown™ Honey and Honey Spreads Adding to Its Line of Artisan Foods: Harvested From Honey Bee Hives on Pollinator-friendly Solar Farms, The New Products Demonstrate a Productive Use of the Land Around Ground-Mounted Solar Panels.

Solar Grown™ Honey & Honey Spreads. Free shipping on orders of $40 or more.

Commentary: A call to action on race and equity in the clean energy industry

By Bee Hui Yeh and Jacob Susman, Energy News Network

The fight for clean energy is the fight for a better tomorrow: the right to clean air and water, affordable and reliable electricity, and better transportation. But for too long we’ve ignored a central question: for whom? A monolithic population? Or, more precisely, for the communities of color hurt first and worst by the impacts of climate change?

Nearly a century after the construction of the arsenal of democracy helped drive the U.S. from the depths of the Great Depression, as we find ourselves amid a pandemic and economic crisis, the prospect of a clean-energy economy puts us at the cusp of a bright new industrial age. It’s one that can reshape our grid, our businesses, and our lives, generating millions of reliable, well-paying jobs to build a cleaner, safer, more resilient, and more energy-secure America. Continue reading here.

About the Authors
Bee Hui Yeh is the founder of the Power of We and an advisor at Plan C Advisors. Jacob Susman is an impact private equity investor and founder/CEO of the renewable energy startup OwnEnergy.

Photo by Laurie Schaull / Wikimedia Commons

NONPROFIT OLYSOLAR

Youth Climate Activists Strive to Build Thurston County’s Largest Solar Energy Installation, Thurston Talk. Of the 8 team members that make up Olympia Community Solar (OlySolar), 7 are under the age of 30. Motivated by the realities of the planet’s changing climate, OlySolar is a nonprofit whose mission is to help every electric customer in Washington access clean energy.

NEBRASKA CLIMATE ACTION LEADERSHIP

Regents hear renewed plea to divest NU funds from fossil fuels, Lincoln Journal Star
Since students in Divest NU first raised the issue of the University of Nebraska pulling $91.3 million in investments from fossil fuel companies to the Board of Regents, late last year and earlier this year, the world changed once more. In addition to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, wildfires have scorched hundreds of thousands of acres in the West. Hurricanes and tropical storms continue to batter the Gulf Coast in a record-breaking year. And nearly 80% of Nebraska is experiencing a drought. Representatives from Divest NU returned to Thursday’s meeting of the board to renew their plea for the university to take action.

Updated, previously posted Journal Star articles:

FEATURED CLIMATE EDUCATION PROJECT: CLIMATE CHANGE NEBRASKA

Climate Change Nebraska was created by journalism students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For this in-depth project examining the impact of climate change on Nebraska, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications opened the rigorous application process to all students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In the end, 20 students drawn from seven different colleges representing 13 different majors were selected for the yearlong project.

Students enrolled in the spring semester focused primarily on problems associated with climate change – including its impact on Nebraska’s agriculture, livestock, wildlife, public health, waterways, national defense and religions. Students in the fall 2020 semester will focus primarily on a range of potential solutions to a variety of climate change issues – including renewable energy sources, sustainability initiatives, no-till farming, carbon sequestration, nuclear fusion and stronger environmental laws.

NEW SOLAR INDUSTRY ALLIANCE

New Alliance Formed to Support Low-Carbon Solar Energy, Solar Industry
Renewable energy companies from a diverse cross-section of the solar industry have joined together to launch the Ultra Low-Carbon Solar Alliance. The alliance will work to build greater market awareness around how solar supply chain decarbonization is producing solar panels with low embodied carbon to help governments and companies meet aggressive sustainability goals. 

AGRIVOLTAICS

How To Have Your Solar Farm And Keep Your Regular Farm, Too, NPR / KIOS 
[Zaid Ashai, CEO of Nexamp, a solar company based in Boston] believes that farming and solar can be friends. For small farms that are struggling, leasing land to solar companies can be a financial lifeline, helping them survive. Farmers can earn a thousand or more dollars per acre per year from these deals. Ashai and others are also exploring ways to capture the sun and still farm the land–though perhaps with a different kind of farming.

SOLAR OPTIONS FOR RENTERS

Will the Distributed Energy Revolution Leave Renters Behind?, Greentech Media
Renters can enjoy clean backup power through a handful of groundbreaking programs that make it available to multifamily housing. And a small crop of products can help renters through a blackout without radically altering their homes. But the few emerging options leave plenty of gaps for the industry to fill.

TRI-STATE

Tri-State proposes rate reduction, resource procurement flexibility, but not enough to stop member exit, Utility Dive

The T&D provider’s efforts may not be enough for members looking to exit its service. United Power and Tri-State have been at odds over whether state or federal regulators have oversight of exit fees that would be required to terminate their supply arrangement. La Plata Electric Association is also seeking an exit charge. Tri-State is a cooperative of 45 members, including 42 electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in four states: Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.

CLEANTECH CAREERS SERIES

What’s It Like to Be an HVAC Installer or Technician?, Greentech Media
One of the biggest jobs in clean energy is also one that is sometimes overlooked. In this GTM series, we’re asking people in cleantech to tell us what their jobs are like. We hope the series can serve as a source of information and inspiration for recent graduates, professionals planning their careers or anyone who wants to transition into the industry. We also hope it makes cleantech opportunities more visible and accessible to groups that are underrepresented in our growing industry, including women and people of color.

GREEN BONDS

In recognition of clean energy progress, green bonds shoot past trillion-dollar mark, Renewable Energy World. According to research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance, green bonds have passed their biggest milestone yet, with more than $1 trillion issued since these securities first emerged in 2007. BNEF says that green bonds are the longest standing and most heavily used instrument in the sustainable debt market, which covers a range of fixed-income products offering environmental and social benefits.

PV RECYCLING

This game-changing solar company recycles old panels into new ones, Fast Company
At a recycling plant in Ohio, next to the company’s manufacturing facility, First Solar uses custom technology to disassemble and recycle old panels, recovering 90% of the materials inside.

DOE’S WIND ENERGY TECHNOLOGY DATA UPDATE: 2020 EDITION

From DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The United States added 9,000 MW of new land-based, utility-scale wind power capacity in 2019, bringing the national total to 105.6 gigawatts. Wind power represented the second-largest source of U.S. electric-generating capacity additions in 2019 and provides more than 10% of electricity in 14 states. Continuing the long-term trend, average turbine capacity, rotor diameter, and hub height increased in 2019, significantly boosting wind project performance to a capacity factor of 41%. The national average price of wind power purchase agreements has dropped to less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, and the levelized cost of energy has dropped 60% in the past 10 years to $36 per megawatt-hour. View a PowerPoint summary.

Hemingford Solar Array Powered Up

By Kay Bakkehaug, Hemingford Ledger

Monday morning was a beautiful, sunny morning without a cloud in the sky; a perfect day to celebrate the Village of Hemingford’s solar array field with a ribbon cutting hosted by the Hemingford Chamber of Commerce. The solar system was up and running on September 9th.

The completed solar array is located just north of the Box Butte County Fair Grounds, on the west end of the Hemingford Golf Course. The Village Board of Trustees began discussions with GenPro back in early 2017. Village of Hemingford Chairman John Annen took the moment to thank everyone for their hard work on the project. Read more here.

Photo Credit: GenPro Energy Solutions

Previously Posted: Contracts for Hemingford Solar Project Signed, by Kay Bakkehaug, Scottsbluff Star Herald