Category Archives: Incentives

New toolkit provides U.S. cities with ten ways to go solar

Environment America News Release

With local municipalities playing an increasingly important role in the clean energy revolution, Environment America Research and Policy Center released a new toolkit to support
cities and towns nationwide in capturing more clean
renewable energy from the sun. Ten Ways Your Community Can Go Solar offers practical ways to take advantage of
millions of available rooftops across the country.

“If we’re going to forestall catastrophic climate change and protect our cities and towns from the effects of extreme weather, there’s nothing better than clean, locally harvested renewable power,” said Susan Rakov, chair of Environment America Research and Policy Center’s Clean
Energy Program. “Rooftop solar can make communities cleaner, safer and more self-reliant.
Cities and towns need to put the pieces in place to help this technology thrive.” Read more here.

Links to Solar Energy Incentives & Additional Resources

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

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 dualaxis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

Rural America is ready for some sort of a New Deal, preferably green

By Art Cullen, Published by The Guardian and Republished by Yahoo! News

The Midwest would welcome a New Deal, and this is where it must start. The Great Plains from Iowa down through Kansas and Texas lead the world in wind energy production. Yet the wind energy production tax credit is set to wane and expire over the next five years. Those wind
turbine royalties are increasingly important in western Kansas where you can barely raise a corn crop even with irrigation because of soil degradation and warmer nights wrought by
climate change. Wind energy technicians who keep the blades whirring are paid good union wages and are welcome residents in tiny Iowa villages. They could ply their trade in West
Virginia as well. Read the entire article here.

Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in Iowa and won the 2017 Pulitzer prize for editorial writing. Cullen is the author of the book, Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper (Viking 2018).

Spring Deadline for USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Applications:
Includes information on incentives for solar and small wind.

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.

A 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system installed in 2015 powers the Hammond family farm
operations west of Benedict, Nebraska. Photo Credit: Matt Ryerson / Lincoln Journal Star

Rick Hammond’s array cost $84,864 in 2015, but a combination of a USDA grant and federal tax credits brought the cost to him down to $19,100. Source: Farms flexing solar power, Lincoln Journal Star. Installers: MarLin Wind & Solar and North Star Solar Bears

Additional 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.

 

More Farm Energy Resources

Hello, sunshine!

Written by Lynn Hartzell, Nebraska Home Sales Realtor,
Contributor, Lincoln Journal Star Lifestyle Magazine

I have to admit, there was a time in my life when I heard
someone talking about Alternative Energy and I would roll my
eyes. I had had a long career at a local public power company
working in the power plants that produce energy with coal,
diesel fuel and natural gas. They all worked pretty well, and I
saw no reason to mess with success. But in 2015, my wife and I did some investigating and found that the price of solar power
for residential use was coming down quickly and made financial sense. Continue reading here.

Links to Solar & Small Wind Energy Incentives & Nebraska Energy Office Loans

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% to December 31, 2019. Small wind: 100 kilowatts or less. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

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 dualaxis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

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.

Top Senate Democrat calls for permanent renewable energy, storage, EV tax credits

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

Last Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Democratic Leader in the Senate, sent a letter to President Trump demanding that any infrastructure package taken up in 2019 include “policies and funding to transition to a clean energy economy and mitigate the risks that the United States is already facing due to climate change.”

And in a list of policies that Schumer says should be included, the top item is “permanent tax incentives for domestic production of clean electricity and storage, energy efficient homes and commercial buildings, electric vehicles, and modernizing the electric grid.” In concrete terms, this could mean an extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar and energy storage, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind and the federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

ENERGY STORAGE ITC: AWEA NEWS RELEASE

Yesterday a coalition of more than 150 companies and energy groups issued a letter to Congressional leadership asking for a stand-alone storage Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act would ensure a level playing field for energy storage to compete with all other energy resources currently eligible for the ITC.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) signed onto the letter and issued the following statement in support:

“Energy storage technology will play an important role as we build an even more affordable and reliable electricity grid for the 21st Century,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “We’re asking Congress to reduce uncertainty for investors by creating a stand-alone energy storage ITC for which all storage technologies can qualify. A level playing field for the full range of storage technologies will ensure consumers benefit from competition and will boost job-creating investment in infrastructure projects, including new opportunities for wind farm development.”
Read the entire news release here.

USDA Seeks Applications for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett seeks applications for loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects.

The deadlines to apply for grants are Oct. 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. Read the entire release here.

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.

See REAP Fact Sheet for a complete list of eligible projects.
Nebraska REAP Program

Contact: Jeff Carpenter, Nebraska Rural Development Energy Coordinator
Telephone: 402-437-5554
Email: 
Jeff.Carpenter@ne.usda.gov

ADDITIONAL 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)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

SMALL & COMMUNITY WIND INFORMATION
American Wind Energy Association / Distributed Wind Energy Association

What is Distributed Wind Energy?
Distributed wind energy systems offer reliable electricity generation in a wide variety of global settings, including households, schools, farms and ranches, businesses, towns, communities and remote locations. Projects range for example from a 1-kilowatt (kW) or smaller off-grid wind turbine at a remote cabin or cell phone tower – to a 10-kW wind turbine at a home, small business, or small agricultural load – to several multi-megawatt (MW) wind turbines at a university campus, manufacturing facility or any large energy user.

What is Small Wind Energy?
Small wind is defined as wind turbines with a capacity rating of less than or equal to 100 kW. Turbines in this category range in size from smaller than 1 kW for off-grid applications to 100-kW turbines that can provide village power. Fifty-four small turbine models are offered commercially in the United States for applications including homes, schools, commercial and industrial facilities, telecommunications, farms and ranches, and communities.

DWEA (Distributed Wind Energy Association

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY RESOURCES

  • Small Wind Guidebook, WINDExchange, Department of Energy
  • Distributed Wind Case Studies
    The Distributed Wind Installers’ Collaborative, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, has produced a series of case studies showcasing the many facets and opportunities within the distributed wind industry. The first published case studies feature projects located on a dairy farm, at a net zero home, a recycling facility and a rural cooperative.

IRS Issues Favorable Tax Credit Guidance for New Solar Projects

By Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

The new guidance provides two methods for determining a “commence construction” date.

The Internal Revenue Service released a new guidance Friday that establishes when the construction of a solar facility starts to qualify for the solar Investment Tax Credit. The guidance, Notice 2018-59, provides two methods for determining the “commence-construction” date: 1) starting physical work of a significant nature or 2) meeting the “5 percent safe harbor test” by incurring 5 percent or more of the total cost of the facility in the year that construction begins. Both residential and commercial solar projects may qualify for the full 30 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) through 2019, as long as the project is placed into service before 2024. A prior ruling required completion in the same year. Continue reading here

RELATED READING

Viewpoint: Solar energy preserves farmlands and boosts economic growth

By Gary Haynes, Lansing State Journal

Gary Haynes is a fifth generation Michigan farmer with fields in three counties, including Eaton County, which is considering whether solar panels will be allowed on farmland.

My family has farmed for five generations in mid-Michigan. Today I grow corn, wheat and soybeans in Eaton, Ingham and Jackson Counties. Like anyone in agriculture, I believe farmland should be preserved for the future and that we should do all we can to protect our air, land and water for future generations. In addition, we should seek opportunities to bring new jobs and new investment to rural communities throughout Michigan. Solar energy is one way to fulfill all of those goals. Right now, Eaton County is considering whether solar panels will be allowed on farmland in the county, and for multiple reasons, this is simply the right thing to do. First, solar energy and farmland preservation go hand in hand. Click here to continue reading.

Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

More Than 5,000 US Schools Have Solar Power Installations

Final Version of Tax Bill Keeps ITC Intact, Allowing for Strong Solar Growth to Continue

Solar Energy Industries Association Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – [Friday], following aggressive advocacy efforts by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) to ensure the continued growth of the U.S. solar industry, Congress reached an agreement on comprehensive tax reform legislation. Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO:

“After weeks of negotiations, the final tax legislation released today maintains the solar Investment Tax Credits (ITC) for both commercial developers and for homeowners in its current form. This is a great victory for the solar industry and its 260,000 American workers and we commend our bipartisan solar champions in Congress for their diligent efforts to maintain solar’s critical role in America’s economy.

“As an industry, we are pleased that the final version of tax reform legislation protects the Investment Tax Credit, and we look forward to continuing to deliver on our promise of affordable, reliable American energy.”

Press Release.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
U.S. renewable energy industry relieved as Republicans keep tax credits, Reuters
The final tax bill retains the production and investment tax credits for wind and solar energy that have spurred investment in the fast-growth industries. It also eliminates the alternative minimum tax, which would have reduced the value of those credits.

Madison solar firms picked for group buy program

By Bill Novak, Wisconsin State Journal

A sample system shown on Midwest Solar Power’s website would cost $13,000, but that would be cut almost in half through federal tax credits, rebates and the group buy. The group purchase program is run by the non-profit RENEW Wisconsin Inc. on behalf of the city of Madison with support from Middleton. Read the entire article here.

Photo Credit: RENEW Wisconsin

RESOURCES FOR NEBRASKA COMMUNITIES CONSIDERING SOLAR GROUP BUYING