Category Archives: Incentives

What The Post-Pandemic World Needs Is A Solar Energy Revolution

By Enrique Dans, Senior Contributor, Forbes

One technology above all has exceeded all expectations over recent years: solar energy. Near-exponential growth has lowered manufacturing costs and efficiency of the solar cells to the point that building a solar energy generation plant is now significantly cheaper than its fossil fuel equivalent, or even maintaining an existing unit — and most importantly, leave a negligible carbon footprint

Today, virtually everything that most people think they know about solar energy, about the days when only subsidies made solar installations profitable and some generated power with diesel engines at night, is completely obsolete and outdated. The solar energy landscape has changed so much in terms of costs and performance that it requires completely new analyses. Read more here.

ON-FARM SOLAR 

Indiana farmers see benefits in on-farm solar power for grain storage systems, contributed by Emergent Solar Energy, PV Magazine. “Every morning a potential energy source rises over the horizon to the east of my farm,” said Will Harlow, owner of the farm. “It seemed a waste to not harness this daily free energy source, erasing some of what I take from the grid. The solar components’ being made in the United States was also important to me. I hope if any positive comes from this pandemic, it is that we must do what we can to get production of all kinds returning to America.”

Links to resources for solar-powering farm operations & farmhouses: 

 

 

 


Nebraskans for Solar

Department of Energy: Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NET METERING

FERC Might Rewrite Solar Net Metering. Here’s What That Could Mean, by Ben Huffman and Marc Palmer, Greentech Media

On April 14, the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) petitioned FERC to assert jurisdiction over any on-site, behind-the-meter generation that injects energy onto the grid. If FERC asserts such jurisdiction in the manner requested by NERA, individual states could lose control over their solar net-metering policies — with myriad implications for the U.S. distributed solar market. FERC is currently accepting comments and intervenors from individuals and organizations. The period to comment or intervene ends June 15, 2020.

Ben Huffman is a partner with law firm Sheppard Mullin’s energy, infrastructure and project finance team. Marc Palmer is managing director of New Resource Solutions, a clean energy project facilitator.

 UC’S ESG INVESTMENT POLICY 

UC’s investment portfolios fossil free; clean energy investments top $1 billion, University of California Press Room

To date, UC’s new energy investments have developed and accelerated 9.2 gigawatts (GWs) of wind and solar capacity across all the platforms in which it has invested. Directly attributable to UC Investments’ share of the platforms is 1.47 GWs of wind and solar energy capacity in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and India. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 1 gigawatt of power is comparable to the energy produced by 3.125 million photovoltaic panels or 412 utility-scale wind turbines.

New report: Top six wind power trends of 2019

By John Hensley, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is causing great uncertainty throughout our economy, American wind power rests on a strong foundation as we seek to overcome these challenging times. And AWEA’s just-released Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019 shows just how strong that foundation is. Wind energy is powering more U.S. families and businesses than ever before while providing well-paying jobs, investments in rural America, and a cleaner environment. Let’s dig into some of the report’s top trends. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

Wind Energy In Nebraska, Nebraska Fact Sheet, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
Nebraska is a national leader in wind resource potential.
Nebraska is one of the top states in the country for potential wind energy generation, with a technical potential of approximately 465,000 megawatts (MW) according to NREL. Nebraska now has 2,132 MW of installed wind power and ranks 14th in the nation for installed capacity, with a total capital investment of $3.8 billion. In 2019, wind power generated 19.9 percent of Nebraska’s electricity, ranking 7th in the nation for wind energy as a share of total electricity generation. Harnessing more of Nebraska’s wind potential could make the state a powerhouse for the wind industry while providing savings for electricity customers.

Wind Projects as of 4Q 2019:
Installed wind capacity: 2,132 MW » State rank for installed wind capacity: 14th
Number of wind turbines: 1,045 » State rank for number of wind turbines: 16th
Wind projects online: 26 (Projects larger than 10 MW: 19)

Wind capacity under construction: 1,011 MW
Wind capacity in advanced development: 200 MW

Wind and solar farm leases create extra income for farmers and other landowners and provide valuable tax revenues for our local communities.

Previously Posted

NEBRASKA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES

NRECA Electric Cooperatives & Wind, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Nebraska is 5th among the 36 states that utilize wind as a source of power.

SMALL WIND RESOURCES

Incentives for Homeowners & Businesses
Small wind installations are among the clean and renewable energy projects that qualify for the Federal Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is now 26% through December 31, 2020. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Small Wind Installers: Most businesses listed in Nebraskans for Solar’s Directory install small wind systems.

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

Net Metering

Net Metering – Nebraska
System Capacity Limit: 25 kW

Net Metering – Iowa
System Capacity Limit: 1 MW

More information on utility net metering policies can be found at the following websites:

ALL INCENTIVES FOR RENEWABLES & EFFICIENCY
Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY GUIDES FOR SMALL WIND & SOLAR PROJECTS

Solar companies invest in acres in the Midwest

Kenosha News

More and more rural electric cooperatives and individual farmers are turning to solar power as an energy alternative. Brady Boell, director of safety and member services for the Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative, says his cooperative has built five sites in Iowa since October 2018. “The idea was to offer members a way to invest in solar energy,” he says. “Many cannot install these arrays on their own property, so this allows them to invest.” Solar energy use has rapidly grown over the past two years, says Tim Dwight, president of the Iowa Solar Trade Association and owner of Integrated Power Corporation, a solar energy installer. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading
Bill refines solar rules with input from pork producers, Kenosha Times

Photo Credit: Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY GUIDES FOR SOLAR & SMALL WIND PROJECTS

NRECA RESOURCES

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Renewable Energy Resources

Previously Posted News Release

DOE Selects NRECA for Wind Energy Research Initiative
The Department of Energy has selected the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to research small-scale, community-based wind energy solutions that can be deployed by electric cooperatives. NRECA will team with co-ops around the country to evaluate and deploy diverse types of distributed wind projects. Like NRECA’s solar deployment project, a similar DOE-funded program that accelerated utility-scale solar at co-ops across rural America, NRECA expects this project to increase the number of electric cooperatives incorporating wind applications into their resource planning. DOE has identified high technical potential for “hundreds of thousands of turbines” totaling more than 10 gigawatts of electric capacity on rural distribution grids. 

CO-LOCATION RESOURCES

Co-locating apiaries, pollinator-friendly plants, and industrial hemp with solar and wind projects can provide extra income for farmers and improve Nebraska’s honey production and retail sales, among other benefits. Click here and scroll down for a list of resources.

INCENTIVES & DEPRECIATION

Incentives for Homeowners & Businesses
Business and residential solar projects qualify for the federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is now 26% through December 31, 2020.

 

 

All Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency

Resource: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

LAND LEASES

Solar and wind farm leases create extra income for farmers and other landowners and provide valuable tax revenues for local communities.

These States Are Winning on Clean Energy

By Robert Harding and Amanda Levin, Natural Resources Defense Council

To take on the climate crisis, the United States needs to build a lot of renewable energy, and fast. While the power sector—which accounts for 28 percent of the nation’s climate pollution—has been getting cleaner every year as renewable energy becomes the cheapest form of new electricity, new data shows some states are moving faster than others.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) power sector data released last week offers the first official state-by-state look at 2019—what was built last year, what was closed, and what it means for our nation’s power mix and emissions. With some politicians promising radically different futures for the country—from a coal-powered renaissance to a 100 percent clean futureEIA’s new release shines a light on how these futures stack up relative to today. Continue reading here.

Related Reading 

Inside Clean Energy: An Energy Snapshot in 5 Charts, by Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News
New data from the Energy Information Administration show coal tanking, solar surging, wind growing fast and electricity usage remaining stable.

Nebraska Wind Energy Information Sources 

Additional Recommended Reading 

Solar panels gaining popularity in Lincoln, 1011 NOW
LES says that solar energy use in Lincoln doesn’t stack up to bigger coastal cities but we are using it more than other Midwest cities. “Compared to other states in our region the number of systems is pretty good,” said Marc Shkolnick the manager of energy services with LES said.

Incentives for Homeowners & Businesses
Business and residential solar projects qualify for the federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is now 26% through December 31, 2020. Resource: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

 

 

 

 

All Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency

Resource: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

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.

Resource: Customer-Owned Generation, LES

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

An energy source that lies right under your feet

By Laura King-Homan, OPPD The Wire

More than 100 holes dot a construction site around Mammel Hall. Soon, tubing will wind through the holes to heat and cool a new addition to the building on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus. The project is an example of how commercial electricity customers utilize geothermal heating and cooling to reach their energy goals. OPPD has offered expertise in this area for decades, including testing potential building sites for suitability. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: OPPD The Wire

About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is the managing editor of The Wire and a communications specialist at the Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, including the Omaha World-Herald.

View all posts by Laura King-Homan


Previously Posted News & Resources

Web Links 

Examples of Nebraska homeowners who have installed geothermal heat pumps – Click on “Solar Examples” on the above menu bar and scroll down to:
Dageforde Net Positive Energy Home
Don Preister’s Home In Bellevue

Incentives for Homeowners & Businesses
Geothermal projects qualify for the Federal Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is now 26% through December 31, 2020.
Resource: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

All Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
Resource: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

LES funds $1.75 mil in incentives for efficiency upgrades

By Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association

Lincoln Electric System (LES) in Nebraska is continuing its Sustainable Energy Program with $1.75 million in incentive funds for customers that want to switch to more energy efficient equipment. LES says that since it began its Sustainable Energy Program (SEP) in 2009, customers have accessed $22.5 million in incentives and spent $126.6 million on energy-efficient equipment and/or services. The incentive level for the SEP program in 2019 was $1.5 million. “It is the eleventh year of the program,” and the utility’s board is “solidly behind it,” and there is no sign of that waning, Marc Shkolnick, LES’ manager of energy services, said. “They see it as a fitting role for a public power provider.” Continue reading here.

Nebraska Also In The News Here

Industry Vows to Continue Fight for Pro-Solar Policies, Despite Missed Opportunity This Year

SEIA News Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Congress and the White House were unable to agree on including an extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in an end of year tax package, meaning the credit will decrease at the end of this year. The measure also failed to include energy storage in the ITC. This represents a missed opportunity to take an achievable step to boost the economy, add jobs and reduce carbon emissions.

Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association on this development: 

“While I’m disappointed by this missed opportunity to boost the U.S. economy and jobs, and tackle climate change, I’m heartened that voter support for clean energy policies is at an all-time high. The solar ITC is a proven way to generate tens of billions of dollars in private investment each year, while substantially reducing carbon emissions. We will look for opportunities next year to again engage our incredibly supportive solar community and work with Congress on clean energy policies that work for all Americans.” Read the entire news release here.

Additional Recommended Reading

USDA funds business improvements for energy efficiency

By KHGI, Nebraska TV

Businesses from Ogallala to Columbus are taking steps to run more energy-efficient facilities, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving them a boost. The USDA announced investments of $237 million nationwide to help farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses, with several Nebraska businesses selected to receive funding. The following businesses in Nebraska were selected to receive funding to boost their energy efficiency: Read more here.

REAP Overview & Application Information

USDA Helps Rural Businesses Make Energy Efficiency Improvements, Adopt Renewable Energy Systems

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2019 – Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $237 million to help farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses lower energy costs (PDF, 229 KB). The Department is providing 640 awards to applicants in all 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific. USDA is providing the funding through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Continue reading here.

How heat pumps can cut carbon pollution from buildings

Contributed by Sarah Kennedy, ChavoBart Digital Media.
Posted on Yale Climate Connections

“These new cold climate air source heat pumps are functional down to -10, -15 degrees,” [Chris Carrick with the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board] says. And they run on electricity, so they generate heat without burning oil, natural gas or other fuels on site. According to a report by the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute, switching to heat pumps could dramatically reduce the carbon pollution caused by home heating. They have the most impact in places with renewable electricity. Read more here.

More Yale Climate Connections Posts / Audio 

Nebraska Information Sources on the Above Topics 

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)