Category Archives: Incentives

DeSantis net-metering veto highlights path for solar in red states, advocates say

By Dan Haugen, Energy News Network

Gov. DeSantis’ veto “definitely turned some heads,” said Tyler Duvelius, external affairs director for Conservatives for Clean Energy, but it maybe shouldn’t have been a complete shock given his previous actions on clean energy and climate. “In a sense, he was listening to his constituents in Florida, but I also think that clean energy is something Gov. DeSantis cares about as an economic driver for Florida,” Duvelius said. And in that sense, he sees DeSantis as part of a growing movement of conservatives who are starting to cut red tape and promote clean energy industries in their states. He cited Texas Gov. Greg AbbottIowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt as examples of conservatives who are promoting clean energy in their states.  Read more here.

Net Metering in Nebraska

If your local utility is not one of these, search its website for resources on net metering.

Previously Posted: Utilities push back against growth of rooftop solar panels, NBC News

Photo: Jerry Buechler, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, cleans the 28 solar panels on his roof in 2019. He is a retired firefighter and the founder of the Treasure Coast Solar Co-op. Credit: Leah Voss, TCPalm via Imagn Content Services, LLC 

Also Of Potential Interest

USDA Seeking Applications for Rural Energy For America Grants & Loans

Next Deadline: October 31, 2022 

What does this program do?
The program 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.

Learn more here: Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants in Nebraska

Above Photo: In 2015 Rick and Heidi Hammond installed a 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system on their farm west of Benedict in York County, Nebraska. The project estimate at the time was $84,864; however, a USDA grant and federal tax credits reduced the cost to only $19,100, The payback was just over 6 years, which was achieved in 2021. Solar panels typically last 30 or more years.
Installers: MarLin Wind & Solar and North Star Solar Bears

Another Local Example: The Brummond Farm

Click the link, below, to access a Successful Farming story published in 2021 about the Brummond Farm near Craig, Nebraska. The installer, Graham Christensen of GC ReVOLT, offers renewable energy grants writing among the company’s services. The Solar Power Bonanza: Farmers Can Readily Tap Into The Explosive Growth In Solar Generation

Most Recent Nebraska REAP Grant Awardees

USDA Invests Nearly $800 Million in Critical Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change Across Rural America This Earth Day, USDA News Release 

In Nebraska, six recipients were awarded grants under the Rural Energy for America Program. Recipients here are: in Albion, MSJM Properties Partnership, Marilee Niewohner, and Niewohner Grandchildren’s Limited Partnership; in Boyd, Valley Foods Cooperative; in Holdrege, Spady Buick Pontiac GMC Inc.; and in Monroe, Alan G Preister. Combined, they were awarded $68,500 for projects that will save or generate 491,444 kWh per year, enough energy to power 45 homes annually. 

“I encourage Nebraskans to connect with us to find out how USDA can partner with them for their energy conservation needs. For more information, contact Jeff Carpenter, energy coordinator, at (402) 437-5554 or at NE.RBCS@usda.gov,” said Bolz. 

Information on the federal investment tax credit (currently 26%), energy audits, depreciation, NDEE loans and more can be found here: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency – Nebraska.

Quick Links

Energy efficiency guru Amory Lovins: ‘It’s the largest, cheapest, safest, cleanest way to address the crisis’

By John Vidal, The Guardian

One of the leading advocates of energy conservation explains why this
could be a turning point for climate economics

Temperatures dropped far below freezing this week in Snowmass, Colorado. But Amory Lovins, who lives high up in the mountains at 7,200ft above sea level, did not even turn on the heating. That’s because he has no heating to turn on. His home, a great adobe and glass mountainside eyrie that he designed in the 1980s, collects solar energy and is so well insulated that he grows and harvests bananas and many other tropical fruits there without burning gas, oil or wood. Nicknamed the “Einstein of energy efficiency”, Lovins, an adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, has been one of the world’s leading advocates and innovators of energy conservation for 50 years. Continue reading here.

Physicist Amory Lovins is Cofounder (1982) and Chairman Emeritus of Rocky Mountain Institute, which he served as Chief Scientist 2007–19 and now supports as a contractor and Trustee; energy advisor to major firms and governments in 70+ countries for 45+ years; author of 31 books and more than 700 papers; and an integrative designer of superefficient buildings, factories, and vehicles. Source: Rocky Mountain Institute

ENERGY EFFICIENCY RESOURCES 

  1. Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE)
    Nebraska Weatherization Assistance Program
    Dollar & Energy Savings Loans
    Nebraska Energy Quarterly 2022 – 1st Quarter Issue
  2. Nebraska Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  3. Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET)
  4. Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)-Nebraska
  5. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)
  6. Energy Saver, Department of Energy 
  7. Heat Pump Systems, Department of Energy 
  8. Advanced Water Heating initiative Fact Sheet, New Buildings Institute
  9. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
  10. Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA)
    Nebraska Initiatives
    Policy

MEEA Webinar: The Value of Energy Efficiency in Buildings for Safety and Wellness
Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at 12 p.m.

Over the last two years the focus of building owners and operators has, rightfully so, been on health and safety concerns. Join us for a webinar to learn more about how energy efficiency can help with your health and safety goals while saving money and improving occupant comforts.

UNIQUE TINY HOUSE IN NEBRASKA

UNO Magazine: Big Future for Tiny HomesUniversity of Nebraska Omaha News Center

A living space that can be efficiently heated
by an energy output
equivalent to
16 birthday candles.

Focused on the future of tiny houses, Bing Chen, Ph.D., a UNL professor of electrical and computer engineering based out of Omaha’s Peter Kiewit Institute, envisions a future filled with tiny, environmentally friendly houses.

Electric Vehicles Don’t Have To Be Elitist – They Can Erode Social Inequities

Contributed by Marshall Shepherd, Forbes

I am unapologetically a supporter of electric vehicles (EVs) and have thoroughly enjoyed mine. It has eradicated my gasoline bill, and my home power bill has not significantly changed thanks to my power company’s EV rate. I ride in the toll lanes in Georgia without fees and will claim my tax rebate this season. To be clear, I understand the environmental issues associated with batteries and have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of charging stations in the Southeast.

The bipartisan infrastructure law that was recently passed will move the needle even further on charging access. All of this is a good thing for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Oddly, when I (or someone else) shares their enthusiasm for EVs, there is a strange and almost vitriolic reaction from some corners. A common narrative is that “everyone cannot afford them” or “stop being an elitist.” Continue reading here.

About the Writer
Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, a leading international expert in weather and climate, was the 2013 President of American Meteorological Society (AMS) and is Director of the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Atmospheric Sciences Program. Dr. Shepherd is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor and hosts The Weather Channel’s Weather Geeks Podcast, which can be found at all podcast outlets.

MORE EV NEWS & RESOURCES

Volkswagen officially unveils its ID.Buzz EV, the hippie bus reborn, by Andrew Tarantola, Senior Editor, Engadget

The Microbus is back, baby! Nearly 75 years since the first Volkswagen Type 2 rolled off its assembly line and into the annals of Americana as an icon of 1960s counterculture, VW is re-releasing the emblematic vehicle — this time as a full EV.

Learn more about electric vehicles at the links below. If your local utility is not on this list but provides information on its website about EVs, please let us know by sending an email to: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com.

Additional Links – Local & National

Related Reading

American Battery Factory plans battery cell gigafactories to support U.S. storage market, Utility Dive. DOE said in December that there are 13 new EV battery cell gigafactories coming to the U.S. by 2026.

State of the Union Address Emphasizes Serious Climate Change Threat, Need for Clean Energy

SEIA News Release

“With policies that support American clean energy manufacturing and the expansion of solar power and energy storage, we can become less dependent on energy and materials from countries that do not share our values or our interests. A robust solar manufacturing sector and a strong and diverse solar industry will put more than a million Americans to work, generate hundreds of billions of dollars of economic growth and bolster environmental justice and national and climate security

U.S. demand for clean energy far outpaces domestic manufacturing capacity. That has to be fixed. Our own domestic supply chain must be capable of supporting a dominant and secure clean energy sector. Federal policy is critical to bridge this gap. Failure to enact comprehensive clean energy and climate policy is no longer an option.” – Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA President and CEO
Read the entire news release here.

ACP Applauds President Biden’s State of the Union Message on Clean Energy, American Clean Power Association News Release

“President Biden’s first State of the Union address was emphatic and unmistakably clear about the urgency of rapid clean energy investment. The invasion of Ukraine reminded us that bullies like Vladimir Putin can play games with energy to hold countries hostage. This week we also heard the world’s leading climate scientists tell us that our planet is warming at an alarming rate. The way out of both of these crises is to rapidly scale affordable, reliable clean energy everywhere. We join the President in urging Congress to take action on critical investments and tax credits for the renewable energy industry that have broad bipartisan support. Quick action will create good jobs and allow the rapid deployment of clean energy projects in all 50 states.” – ACP CEO Heather Zichal

Latest American Clean Power Association State Fact Sheets

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

PREVIOUSLY POSTED

Mark Jacobson, a Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering and the director of its Atmosphere/Energy Program, has been promoting the idea of all renewable energy as the best way forward for more than a decade. His latest calculations toward this ambitious goal were recently published in the scientific journal Renewable Energy.

Transitioning to a clean-energy grid should happen by 2035, the study advises, with at least 80% of that adjustment completed by 2030. For the purposes of Jacobson’s study, his team factored in presumed population growth and efficiency improvements in energy to envision what that would look like in 2050.

Nebraska Analysis: Zero Air Pollution and Zero Carbon From All Energy Without Blackouts at Low Cost in Nebraska, by Mark Z. Jacobson, Stanford University

ConnectDER Partners with Nebraska Public Power and Omaha Public Power District to Provide Simple Solar Integration

ConnectDER News Release, PR Newswire

ConnectDER, the innovative company that enables utilities and homeowners to expand access to distributed energy resources (DERs), is launching availability of its Solar Collar for new residential solar installations in Nebraska. ConnectDER’s simple, affordable meter collar can now be used in solar installations throughout Nebraska Public Power and Omaha Public Power District areas. The ConnectDER Solar Collar is a UL-Listed meter collar that enables rapid interconnection of grid-ready residential PV systems. The device creates a safe, standardized, low-cost alternative to traditional wiring methods for home installations. Continue reading here.

SOLAR APP+ ALSO EXPEDITING SOLAR PROJECTS & SAVING MONEY

LINKS TO RESOURCES FOR POTENTIAL RENEWABLE ENERGY CUSTOMERS

OPPD, NPPD, LES: Customer-Owned Generation

American Solar Energy Society (ASES)

Department of Energy

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

  • Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
    Eligible Technologies Include: Solar Water Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Biomass, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Wind (Small)
  • Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
    Eligible Technologies Include: Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Geothermal Electric, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Combined Heat & Power, Wind (Small), Geothermal Direct-Use, Microturbines

EnergySage

Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Renewable Energy Series

Consumers Webinar for Residential / Small Business Solar
Speakers
David Rich: Sustainable Energy Manager, NPPD
John Hay: Extension Educator – Energy, UNL
Ron Rose: Renewable Energy Consultant, NPPD
Kirk Estee: Customer Alternative Energy Solutions Manager, OPPD
Marc Shkolnick: Manager, Energy Services, LES

Additional Resources

‘Build Back Better’ Hit a Wall, but Climate Action Could Move Forward

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman, New York Times

The climate portion of Build Back Better includes about $555 billion aimed at moving the American economy away from its 150-year-old reliance on fossil fuels and toward clean energy sources. Instead of penalties to punish polluters, the bill offers incentives for industries, utilities and individuals to shift from burning oil, gas and coal for energy and transportation to using wind, solar and other forms of power that do not emit carbon dioxide, the most plentiful of the greenhouse gases that are warming the world.

It would provide about $320 billion in tax credits for producers and buyers of wind, solar and nuclear power. Buyers of electric vehicles would receive up to $12,500 in tax credits. It would extend existing tax credits to lower costs for homeowners of installing solar panels, geothermal pumps and small wind turbines, covering up to 30 percent of the bills. Read more here.

APPA FACT SHEET OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

The Need for Direct Payment Of Refundable Tax Credits for Public Power

APPA believes that if Congress intends to create incentives in pursuit of national energy and climate goals, it should realize that tax-based incentives will not have the market-wide reach of direct grants and other incentives. As a result, the association believes that tax-based incentives should be drafted to accommodate tax-exempt entities, including public power utilities. 

UTILITY DIVE SERIES

2022 Outlook: FERC expected to prioritize transmission, power markets and gas infrastructure, by Ethan Howland, Senior Reporter

This is the third part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Outlook Series.

With its oversight of interstate transmission and wholesale power markets, FERC, an independent agency, has a major role in the energy transition. “FERC’s regulation is central to the resilient, reliable future grid that’s already developing,” John Moore, director of the Sustainable FERC Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said.

Potential changes to the transmission system are driven by the growth of renewable energy, especially in areas that are far from major population centers, according to Moore. Other developments that are driving a focus on transmission planning include the development of offshore wind farms and the shift away from fossil fuels for cars, trucks and buildings, which will drive up electricity use, Moore said.

Referenced in the article: FERC’s new Office of Public Participation
Upcoming Resources for the Future Webinar: Policy Leadership Series with FERC Commissioner Allison Clements, January 25, 2022 at 10 a.m. Central Time


Fourth Part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Series 

2022 Outlook: US solar and wind boom continues despite supply chain woes, Build Back Better uncertainty,  by Iulia Gheorghiu

 

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT NEWS

Interior’s 2022 energy strategy: 3 things to watch, E&E News

Interior’s efforts will include authorizing solar energy in Western deserts and leasing waters in the Atlantic Ocean to offshore wind developers, as well as reexamining the rules that govern decommissioning offshore pipelines, drilling for oil and digging for federal coal . . . Meanwhile, renewables are about to get a boost on public lands.

Additional Recommended Reading: Offshore wind: a key to unlocking the American transition to a clean, reliable and affordable energy future, American Clean Power Association

USDA NEWS RELEASES

USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations Highlights 2021 Accomplishments to Advance Equity and Opportunity for Tribal Nations and Communities

“USDA and the federal government have a distinct relationship with tribal nations,” said USDA Office of Tribal Relations Director Heather Dawn Thompson. “We are embarking on new initiatives to reframe approaches to how USDA serves Indian Country and promotes government-to-government relationships with tribal nations.” 

MIDAMERICAN ENERGY NEWS RELEASE

MidAmerican Energy proposes $3.9 billion “Wind PRIME” renewable energy project

In a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board, MidAmerican’s proposed project, called Wind PRIME, would add 2,042 megawatts of wind generation and 50 megawatts of solar generation. The company also proposed conducting feasibility studies focused on other clean generation technologies, including carbon capture, energy storage and small modular nuclear reactors.

FEATURED EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION

The Zero Energy Project is a non-profit educational organization whose goal is to help home buyers, builders, designers, and real estate professionals take meaningful steps towards radically reducing carbon emissions and energy bills by building zero net energy homes and near zero energy homes.

We envision the day when positive energy homes, which produce more energy than they consume, will power electric vehicles as well as homes, so that everyone can live well with less expense and without fear of energy price spikes, while greatly reducing our carbon emissions.

Zero Energy Project’s Directory of Zero Energy Building Professionals
Recent Blog Post: Net-Zero vs Passive House: What are the Similarities and Differences?

DOE BETTER BUILDINGS WEBINAR

PV Valuation: How Solar PV Adds Value to Your Assets, February 1, 2022, 10 a.m. CT

Rooftop solar is a common renewable energy strategy, and owners and operators are now exploring potential financial benefits to the value of commercial and industrial properties. Learn from several building owners and managers on how they made the business case for solar PV and found increased asset value during appraisal or at the time of sale. This webinar will highlight multiple building types and financial models for solar PV.

DOE Releases Guidebook to Boost Solar Energy Use in Communities

U.S. Department of Energy News Release

DOE’s “Solar Power in Your Community” Provides Proven Strategies for Local Governments to Increase Equitable Access to Clean Power, Solar App+ Online Tool Cuts Solar Permit Time to Less than One Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released the third edition of Solar Power in Your Community,” DOE’s guidebook to help local governments unlock environmental and economic benefits of increased solar deployment in their communities. This latest edition contains nearly 40 case studies from around the country that show field-tested approaches to reduce solar market barriers, highlights new technologies and strategies to maximize the benefits of solar, such as combining solar with energy storage to improve resilience, and emphasizes strategies for improving the equity of solar deployment at the local level. These efforts support the deployment of more solar energy to reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050.  

“DOE’s solar guidebook is a must-have reference for local governments interested in using proven strategies to speed up going solar and cut energy bills for their residents,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “From reducing solar permitting delays and other soft costs to expanding solar benefits to renters and other non-traditional solar users, we’re providing more localities with the tools to succeed in delivering cheaper, cleaner power while generating good-paying local jobs.” 

The Solar Power in Your Community guidebook is a one-stop-shop for information about solar deployment, providing best practices, case studies, and links to resources developed by DOE, the National Laboratories, and other trusted sources.  

Since the guidebook was originally published in 2009, solar power costs have decreased 80% and federal incentives have spurred dramatic increases in solar deployment. However, soft costs like unnecessary paperwork, red tape, and other burdensome requirements increase costs and discourage solar companies from moving to an area. By streamlining these requirements and taking other steps to encourage solar development, DOE is supporting communities to become “open for solar business.” 

DOE’s solar guidebook encourages local governments to: 

  • Adopt SolarAPP+ tool to rapidly approve residential solar installation permits:
    DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory released results from its SolarAPP+ (Solar Automated Permit Processing) tool pilot in five communities in California and Arizona. The results show that SolarAPP+ reduced the average permit review time to less than one day, enabled projects to be installed and inspected 12 days faster, and saved the pilot communities over 2,000 hours of staff time. Learn more about the results and sign up to use the tool
  • Join the SolSmart 60 campaign to expand solar deployment: The SolSmart 60 Campaign aims to get 60 new communities designated as SolSmart Gold, Silver, or Bronze for making it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar. So far, 21 local communities have earned distinction for their solar deployment practices since September 2021. The program offers free technical assistance to help any municipality, county, or regional organization remove obstacles to going solar and reduce the soft costs that can hold back growth. SolSmart’s team of national experts in solar energy and local government have helped these jurisdictions implement best practices and take decisive action to encourage the expansion of solar energy. 
  • Receive free technical assistance to develop community solar programs: The National Community Solar Partnership is a coalition of community solar stakeholders working to expand access to community solar, particularly to those with low-to-moderate incomes, renters, and other community members for whom traditional rooftop solar is unavailable. Local governments can join the partnership to receive free technical assistance to develop community solar programs. 

As part of DOE’s effort to ensure that local governments know about DOE resources, Secretary Granholm will keynote the Annual Summit of the National Community Solar Partnership on January 25 at 10 a.m. Central Time. The Secretary will discuss community solar deployment with Governor Jay Inslee of Washington and Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois. 

For regular event updates and access to exclusive National Community Solar Partnership resources and opportunities, register to join the Partnership. Membership is free and open to any community solar stakeholder in the U.S.

If you have any questions, please reach out to communitysolar@ee.doe.gov for more information.

Customer solar applications to OPPD rise more than 700% year-over-year

By David Earl, KETV

OMAHA, Neb. — Solar power is having a moment in Omaha. Applications to Omaha Public Power District for installations on private property from home and business owners topped 532 in 2021. That dwarfs 2020’s total of 60. It’s a 780% year-over-year increase that has caught the attention of the public power district. Read more or watch the video here.

Links included in the news story transcript to more information on OPPD’s website:

DOE Better Buildings Webinar: PV Valuation: How Solar PV Adds Value to Your Assets, February 1, 2022, 10 a.m. Central Time

Photo: Solar array on the Wine, Beer and Spirits store located near Oakview Mall, currently the largest customer-owned project in OPPD’s service territory. Developer: Great Plains Renewables, owned by Dale Leuck. See more projects in the company’s gallery here.

What We’re Watching in Reconciliation: Regular Updates from EDF

By Danielle Arostegui, Environmental Defense Fund Blog

NFS Note: The House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better
Act on November 19.
The final vote was 220-213.

Dec. 13 EDF Update: Build Back Better Act moves through the Senate; White House releases new Executive Order building on climate investments.

[Even] as we wait for the Build Back Better Act to move through the Senate, the White House is not hesitating to act on the climate crisis. [On December 8] President Biden signed an Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs through Federal Sustainability and released a Federal Sustainability Plan detailing the government’s plan to “walk the talk” on clean energy. 

While the Build Back Better Act contains the administration’s flagship climate programs, including clean energy tax credits, clean manufacturing incentives, environmental justice investments, a civilian climate corps, and funding for low-carbon procurement, all of these investments will complement and accelerate the initiatives articulated in the Executive Order. In turn, the Executive Order provides an unprecedented demand-pull for clean technologies, amplifying the benefits of the investments in the Build Back Better Act.  Read more here.

Want a primer on the key issues EDF will be watching? Read all about them here.

The Environmental Defense Fund is a leading national nonprofit organization representing more than 2.5 million members and activists. In 2017 EDF celebrated 50 years of progress.

Photo Credit: John Williams, Flickr

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Celebrates Expansion of Locally-Led Conservation Efforts in First Year of “America the Beautiful” Initiative, December 20, 2021

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration issued its first annual progress report on the America the Beautiful initiative, highlighting steps the Administration has taken over the past year to support locally-led and voluntary efforts to conserve, connect, and restore lands and waters across the nation that sustain the health of our communities, power local economies, and help combat climate change.