Category Archives: Research

Commentary: Residential solar as an equity building asset

By John Blattner, solar sales executive at Pearl Certification, a national firm
that certifies high performing homes, Energy News Network

Recent surveys have shown that 69% of prospective buyers want — and are willing to pay for — energy-efficient and high-performing homes. Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z are especially interested in investing in renewable energy and homes that allow them to live out their environmentally conscious values. Yet relying on values-driven purchases alone is not enough in this economy, and few homebuyers are aware of the true long-term value that solar adds to the home. Read more here.

HOME ENERGY STORAGE

Read All About It: What’s New In Home Energy Storage Research, CleanTechnica
Household renewable energy generation through the use of solar panels is becoming more commonplace as installation costs are lessening and electricity prices are rising. Solar energy is an intermittent source, only generated during the day and subject to interference from weather and seasonal variation. The feasibility and limitations of various renewable energyenergy storage, grid-tied and off-the-grid systems are ripe research topics in academia and tech.

ELECTRIFICATION OF BUILDINGS

How to Accelerate the Electrification of Buildings in the Midwest, Greentech Media
Even in states with harsh winters, the economics and outlook for building electrification are changing quickly, the author writes.

US SOLAR MARKET

US Solar Market Performed Better Than Expected During Pandemic’s Worst Months, Greentech Media
Even with an uncertain road ahead, the solar market is still expected to grow in 2020, with capacity additions expected to rise 37 percent year-over-year. That’s because while the coronavirus chilled residential installations, the large-scale market continued its upward trajectory in the second quarter. “The volume of projects that we’ve seen announced in Q1 and Q2 has been pretty high,” said Colin Smith, a WoodMac senior solar analyst. “The development pipeline is the biggest we’ve ever seen.”

FIRST SOLAR ENTERS DG MARKET

First Solar changes course: now selling its thin-film solar panels into the distributed generation market, PV Magazine. The utility-scale solar pioneer and specialist is going small. After decades of avoiding distributed generation, its distributors will now offer First Solar’s series 6 modules to “projects and customers of all shapes and sizes.”

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

Walmart provides U.S. suppliers increased renewable energy access, Chain Store Age
Walmart is entering a partnership to help remove carbon dioxide from its supply chain. The discount giant is collaborating with energy management and automation provider Schneider Electric in a new program designed to educate Walmart suppliers about renewable energy purchases and accelerate renewable energy adoption through aggregate power purchase agreements (PPA). Known as the Gigaton PPA Program (GPPA), the initiative directly supports Walmart’s Project Gigaton, which aims to avoid one gigaton (one billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide from the retailer’s global value chain by 2030. 

Boeing signs solar power deal for Mesa site in Arizona, Renewables Now
Boeing wants to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025 and ultimately power its operations with 100% renewable energy. Two of the company’s sites already run on 100% renewables, namely Renton, Washington and Charleston, South Carolina.

SOLAR TRACKER POWERED BY AIR

Sunfolding looks to disrupt the tracker industry with air pneumatics, PV Magazine
With $32 million in series B funding and an ever-growing project pipeline, air-based tracker startup, Sunfolding, is hoping to increase its hold in the tracker market with tech that’s simple, light and can be installed on terrain previously thought untouchable.

Sunfolding White Paper – The Power of Air: How pneumatics, a 360-year-old technology, is accelerating growth in large-scale solar

GM

With New Wireless EV Battery System, GM Is Determined To Kill Off Gasmobiles (Eventually), CleanTechnica. If you’re thinking this new wireless system has something to do with wireless EV charging, not exactly. The focus is on introducing new EV models and new battery technology more efficiently, at less cost. GM claims that the new system, developed with the firm Analog Systems, is the first of its kind for any auto manufacturer.

ØRSTED’S TRANSITION STORY

How one fossil fuel company became a green giant, E&E News
In the United States, 27 utilities have pledged to reach carbon free or net-zero emissions by 2050, according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance. That list includes major power companies like American Electric Power, Duke Energy Corp. and Xcel Energy Inc.

Ørsted offers a potentially tantalizing example. Its finances have benefited greatly from the shift, a stark rejoinder to long-standing arguments that swapping fossil fuels for renewables is a money-losing proposition. Last year, a panel of judges at the Harvard Business Review ranked Ørsted as one of the top corporate makeovers of the last decade behind the likes of Netflix, Amazon.com and Microsoft. It was the only energy company on the list.

Previously Posted: Ørsted completes the onshore Plum Creek Wind project, Ørsted News Release

Solar-storage project would be ‘game-changer’ for Kansas City region

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

The world’s largest renewable energy developer is acquiring property in Kansas for a mega-project that would combine hundreds of megawatts of solar and storage capacity. A spokesperson for NextEra Energy confirmed the company is seeking land near Kansas City for a project that could include up to 500 MW each of solar and storage capacity, making it among the largest such projects in the country . . . NextEra is also pursuing a 423-megawatt solar project in Nebraska. It has acquired land rights and now is waiting to find a buyer and to hear what the Southwest Power Pool would charge for a connection to the grid. That figure is critical in developing renewable projects. Read more here.

Previously Posted  
NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest

Photo by Stuart Seeger / Flickr / Creative Commons

GAGE COUNTY WIND ENERGY RULE

County board approves wind turbine setback, by Monica Brich, Beatrice Daily Sun
The amendment increases setback requirements from nonparticipating residences from 3/8 to one mile. Nonparticipating residents are those who do not have contracts in place with a wind company. The Gage County Planning and Zoning committee previously approved the resolution in a 6-1 vote in August, after a six hour meeting.

U.S. RENEWABLE ENERGY MANUFACTURING

100 Gigawatts of Domestic Manufacturing Capacity by 2030, Solar Energy Industries Association
Today, SEIA is setting a target of 100 GW of domestic renewable energy manufacturing capacity by 2030, with a particular focus on solar, wind, and energy storage technologies. Right now, we are about a quarter of the way there. This goal is consistent with our aspirations of having solar energy account for 20% of all electricity generation by 2030. And it fits with a collective goal by the renewable energy industries—wind, solar and hydropower with storage, to hit 50% of all electricity by the end of the decade. The 100 GW target is designed to increase the United States’ ability to supply not only domestic renewable energy projects but also export markets. 

Download SEIA White Paper: The Solar+ Decade & American Renewable Energy Manufacturing

ENERGY EFFICIENCY 

Efficiency is smart for public power, American Public Power Association
To explore how central efficiency is for public power, we spoke with a few of the utilities that received the American Public Power Association’s Smart Energy Provider designation in 2019, the first year it was awarded, about what energy efficiency means to them. Utilities with this designation show a dedication to best practices and programs in energy efficiency, among other areas.

DECARBONIZING INDUSTRY

There Is No Business as Usual: Decarbonizing Industry Must Start Now, Rocky Mountain Institute
We know that a higher-than-1.5°C pathway will result in severe natural disasters, including flooding, rising sea levels, hurricanes, drought, and lethal temperature exposures. The increasing regularity of these extreme climate events will create drastic stresses on food and water supply, with ripple effects including hunger, market disruption, increased migration, and social unrest. In addition to threatening our environment and physical well-being, these events threaten our economy. In the United States alone the estimated total cost of weather and climate-based disasters between 1980 and 2019 is estimated at $1.75 trillion.

Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Postponed

After careful consideration, the Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Planning Committee has made the decision to postpone the 2020 conference. Updates on the 2021 conference dates will be provided at: www.nebraskawsc.com

OPPD’S DECARBONIZATION STUDY

Pathways to Decarbonization, OPPD Community Connect
What is decarbonization? Simply, it’s the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, commonly referred to as our carbon footprint. Although carbon dioxide (CO2) occurs naturally in the Earth’s atmosphere, human activities over the last century have significantly increased levels of greenhouse gases. These include burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation, and removing trees (deforestation) to enable other land uses, such as clearing rainforests for agricultural purposes.

OPPD is working across four areas of focus to develop a roadmap for making progress towards the utility’s net-zero carbon production goal. Learn more and share your ideas about OPPD’s work related to Energy Portfolio, Internal OperationsCustomer and Community.

NREL’S PV COST PROJECTIONS

NREL’s solar cost projections plummet in new forecast, PV Magazine 
The lower projected costs for PV could help guide some utilities to plan for more PV capacity, as the utilities develop their long-term resource plans.

CLIMATE ACTION

States Are Doing What Big Government Won’t to Stop Climate Change, and Want Stimulus Funds to Help, InsideClimate News

This story is part of a collaboration between InsideClimate News and The Nation as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalistic collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story. This article focuses on rural areas; to read how green recovery spending can impact cities, click here.

SOLAR POLICY

September solar policy snapshots, Solar Power World
A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country.

FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION

FERC details carbon pricing conference as groups blast renewables, consumer and women exclusions, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Federal regulators on Friday announced details of a much-anticipated technical conference on carbon pricing, following a request from a broad group of renewable energy, gas and power groups for the commission to look at the issue more closely, but some stakeholders expressed disappointment with the lineup, decrying a lack of representation from renewable energy and consumer advocates, as well as lack of gender diversity.

GREEN HYDROGEN

Trickle Of Green Hydrogen Turns Into Flood Of Good News For Renewables, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

Wind and solar developers are eyeballing green hydrogen as a pathway for future growth, and it looks like they won’t have to depend on the transportation sector for sole support. That’s because hydrogen has many other uses, aside from being used to power fuel cell electric vehicles. Take the vehicles out of the equation and you still have the potential for rapid growth in demand for green hydrogen — and therefore in the demand for wind and solar farms, too.

ZERO-EMISSION EV DRIVING

Enel X Partners with Uber to Support Zero-Emission EV Driving in the U.S. through New JuiceEco Product, Enel X News Release. Today Enel X, the leading provider of innovative energy and electric mobility solutions, introduced JuiceEco, a new option for electric vehicle (EV) drivers to power their rides with 100% renewable energy in the U.S. Available exclusively through Enel X, JuiceEco provides Green-e® certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to match the consumption of any EV anywhere in the US with carbon-free electricity.

Uber pledges zero emissions platform by 2040, by Senior Editor Kristin Musulin, Smart Cities Dive Uber announced Tuesday a commitment to becoming a zero emissions mobility platform across its 10,000 cities and six continents by 2040. The company is striving for 100% of its rides to take place in zero-emission vehicles, public transit and micromobility.

TESLA ENERGY

Tesla Energy ramps hiring at Giga New York for accelerated solar production, Teslarati
Tesla is hiring for over 30 different positions at Giga New York, the facility where the company manufactures its solar products. Recent job listings on LinkedIn for the company’s facility in Buffalo indicate a wide variety of skills are being sought, including but not limited to engineering, equipment maintenance, production operations, and roof installers.


Certified Tesla Solar Roof Installer in
Nebraska: Weddle & Sons Roofing
Office locations in Lincoln and Omaha

Installing A Tesla Solar Roof, by Weddle & Sons Roofing


“EARTH FOCUS” SEASON 3 

An Episode Guide to ‘Earth Focus’ Season 3, KCET Original Series

“Earth Focus” features investigative reports and in-depth stories about our changing environment and how it affects people around the world. In this new season, “Earth Focus” examines the politics of the environment, including global youth climate activists, the transition away from coal in South Africa, curbing illegal gold mining in Peru, and the environmental politics of the New West.

 Episode 1: The Youth Climate Movement Around the World

The Best Electricity Plan: Overbuild Solar & Wind Power Plants

By Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

More than 8 years ago, researchers from the University of Delaware (UD) and Delaware Technical College (DTCC) put forward a rather “radical” idea — to deal with wind and solar power’s intermittency while also acknowledging wind and solar power’s falling costs, why not just overbuild wind and solar power plants in the future?

What seemed like a radical idea back in 2012 is gaining increasing support today. More and more people see that, indeed, solar power, wind power, and batteries have become cheap enough that you don’t need “baseload power” or other filler power plants in many places. Read more here.

Previously Posted

Also by Zachary Shahan

CHICAGO’S 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY LEADERSHIP

Chicago launches $200M RFP to power city facilities by renewable energy, Utility Dive
The City of Chicago has released a $200 million request for proposals (RFP) for a contract to procure renewable energy for all city-owned buildings. Under the contract, all city-owned buildings, streetlights and other facilities would run on renewable energy starting in 2022 and lasting at least five years. Supplier applications are due Nov. 6, and the city intends to choose a vendor in January.  This RFP supports Chicago’s stated goal of running all city-owned buildings on 100% renewable energy by 2025 and transitioning the entire city to renewable energy by 2035.

NEW TRADE GROUP

AWEA Introduces New Trade Group, the American Clean Power Association, Greentech Media
The largest wind trade group in the U.S. announced Friday it will officially broaden its mission beyond wind as part of a newly-formed industry group. The American Wind Energy Association, which advocated for that industry and its member companies for over 40 years, will merge with a new organization called the American Clean Power Association. More than 30 member companies from utilities, wind, solar and other new energy industries coalesced to make a trade group “that better represents the renewables industry of today,” the group said Friday.

Previously Posted: Solar, Wind, Storage Link Arms in Push for ‘Majority Renewables’ by 2030
With the 2020 election drawing closer, the solar and wind sectors announced a joint push to quadruple their combined share of the U.S. power mix by 2030.

PV MAGAZINE POSTS

BLACKROCK’S DIVESTMENT PLEDGES – AN UPDATE

Winners and Losers of BlackRock’s Climate Pushback (So Far), Greentech Media
In January, the world’s largest asset manager issued a warning shot that the status quo on climate change was no longer going to cut it. With more than $6 trillion of investments under management and influence in boardrooms of nearly 1,800 companies, what BlackRock says carries big weight across the corporate and political world. But that weight only hits home if BlackRock follows through and presses for a response to climate change in boardrooms.

FOSSIL-FREE CLEANING PRODUCTS

Carbon ‘rainbow’: Unilever pledges $1.2B to scrub fossil fuels from cleaning products, BusinessGreen story republished by GreenBiz

Unilever last week revealed plans to funnel close to $1.2 billion over the next 10 years into initiatives that will allow it to replace chemicals in its cleaning products made from fossil fuel feedstocks with greener alternatives — an investment it described as critical to meeting its aim of achieving net-zero emissions from its products by 2039. 

Report: Climate risks compound financial challenges for Midwest nuclear plants

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

A report released last week by Moody’s Investor Services found that five of Exelon’s six Illinois plants are at “high risk” and/or more extreme “red flag” risk for both heat and water stress. Exelon’s Quad Cities plant on the Mississippi River, meanwhile, is considered at high risk of flooding.  Other Midwestern plants are also considered at high risk for heat and/or water stress, including the Davis-Besse plant in Ohio, NextEra Energy Resources’ Point Beach plant in Wisconsin, NextEra’s Duane Arnold Energy Center in Iowa, Entergy’s Palisades plant in Michigan and Northern States Power Company’s Monticello plant in Minnesota, which is also at high risk of flooding. Continue reading here.

AP Photo/Nati Harnik: The Fort Calhoun nuclear power station in Nebraska was severely damaged by flooding in 2011 and shut down a few years later.

NUCLEAR FUSION RESEARCH

Department of Energy Announces $29 Million in Fusion Energy Technology Development, DOE News ReleaseToday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $29 million in funding for 14 projects as part of the Galvanizing Advances in Market-aligned fusion for an Overabundance of Watts (GAMOW) program.

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

Korean group buying into 852 MW of US wind farms, Renewables Now
A group of South Korean infrastructure investors has agreed to buy a 49.9% stake in an 852-MW portfolio of US wind farms in a deal with an implied aggregate enterprise value of USD 1.5 billion. 

About the Nebraska wind farm Included in the purchase: The 118–turbine Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Farm located in Antelope, Boone, and Madison counties began commercial operation in March 2014. Maximum capacity is 200,600 kilowatts (or 200.6 megawatts). The average annual output could power 60,000 homes. Omaha Public Power District has committed to buy the total 200.6 megawatts. Source: Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 

BLOOMBERG NEW ENERGY FINANCE

Solar brings 45% of world’s new power capacity in 2019 – BNEF, Renewables Now
With record 118 GW of commissioned capacity, solar photovoltaic (PV) was the main new power generation technology source in 2019, accounting for 45% of the world’s newly-installed capacity, BloombergNEF (BNEF) says.

ØRSTED

Orsted, the World’s Offshore Wind Giant, Gets Serious About Solar, Greentech Media
Ørsted’s intense focus on offshore wind makes its push into solar all the more noteworthy, signaling a coming era of renewable energy “majors” capable of building the full range of technologies. When the Permian Energy Center comes online next year, Ørsted will be the first company to own U.S. plants spanning solar, onshore wind, offshore wind and battery storage.

Archived Nebraska News Story: Ørsted completes the onshore Plum Creek Wind project

REPURPOSING COAL ASH BASIN SITES FOR SOLAR DEVELOPMENT

Solar energy project planned for Snyder County coal ash basin site, PennLive.com
The project is funded entirely with private capital but the owners say they will receive a federal investment tax credit. “The process associated with repurposing these basins maintains their environmental integrity while allowing the land to be repurposed in a safe, effective way,” the developers say.

SEARCHABLE DATABASE OF POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS

LevelTen Energy flips the switch on global PPA marketplace, PV Magazine
For corporates with a global footprint, there is now a single place to view and compare the risk and value of each PPA available in North America and Europe.

GTECH

The Next Step for Corporate Sustainability: 24/7/365 Carbon-Free Energy Matching, Greentech Media. Corporations increasingly want locally generated renewable power that matches their consumption in near-real-time. Move over REC, and make way for the GTECH.

ELECTRIC TRUCKS

Electric trucks are gaining ground over natural gas in the waste industry, Utility Dive
Natural gas-powered vehicles have been the industry’s preferred form of alternative fuel for years, but while investments continue, 2020 is shaping up to be the year that electric breaks through.

CIRCULARITY FOR EV BATTERIES

Tesla’s co-founder is pioneering a circular system for electric vehicle batteries, GreenBiz
Redwood Materials is a startup founded by former Tesla chief technology officer JB Straubel. The company, featured in a lengthy Wall Street Journal article over the weekend, has a plan to take scrap metal from EV battery production and use that for the raw materials of other EV batteries. By sourcing leftover materials from current factories, the company can help lower the cost of batteries and also reduce considerable waste. Redwood Materials is already working with Panasonic (Tesla’s battery partner) to take scrap metal from the Gigafactory in Nevada. Straubel says that in 10 years he thinks the company can deliver battery materials for half the cost of mined materials. 

VALUE OF STORAGE

Going beyond Order 841 to more meaningful FERC storage policyUtility Dive article contributed by Sean Baur, engineering manager for GlidePath and a 2020 fellow with the Clean Energy Leadership Institute. Only with more fundamental changes can wholesale markets start to recognize the full value of storage, and finally allow it to fairly compete evenly with the resources it will need to replace as part of a larger clean energy transition.

America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy 2020

Environment America Report 

America’s colleges and universities are leading the transition to a 100 percent renewable energy system. Small liberal arts colleges, large public universities and community colleges alike, from every corner of the U.S., are taking the lead in reducing energy consumption, deploying renewable energy technologies, and switching to electric vehicles (EVs). More than 40 colleges and universities now obtain 100 percent or more of their electricity from renewable energy sources. Read more here.

Environment America’s 100% Renewable Campaigns

SOLAR PANEL PRICES

Solar Panel Prices Have Dropped Off Cliff & Sunk Into Ocean — Solar Panels 9× Cheaper Than In 2006, by Zachary Shahan, Clean Technica 

NEW PV MAGAZINE SERIES

Lights and shadows of 500 W plus solar panels – part I
In the first article of a series, PV Magazine Editor Pilar Sánchez Molina analyzes with industry experts challenges and opportunities created by new panels with power output exceeding 500 W.

EV NEWS

  • Could The U.S. Automobile Fleet Run On Wind And Solar Power?, Forbes article by Senior Contributor Robert Rapier. It would require 4.4 times more electricity produced from wind and solar power in 2019 to equal the 1.8 trillion kWh required to replace gasoline. That may seem like a lot, but over the past decade wind and solar power generation have increased by a factor of 5.4. At the growth rate of the past decade, it is possible that in another decade we could produce enough wind and solar power to power all the nation’s automobiles with a 100% EV fleet.
  • Amazon hands Mercedes-Benz its biggest electric vehicle order to date, GreenBiz
    Mercedes-Benz says by the end of the year it will offer five electric vehicle models and 20 plug-in hybrid vehicle editions. Its vehicle and battery production also will be carbon-neutral, using clean energy.

HYDROGEN

A Look At The ‘Colors’ Of Hydrogen That Could Power Our Future, Forbes article contributed by Alex Ivanenko, Cofounder and CEO of HyPoint, a company developing zero-carbon emission hydrogen fuel cell systems for urban air mobility.

While the use of hydrogen as a fuel dates back more than 150 years, recent announcements have brought hydrogen back into the spotlight as leaders around the world seek to secure a sustainable energy future. And if the future is to be powered by hydrogen, no industry will be left untouched.

GLOBAL RENEWABLE ENERGY REPORT

$3.40 Trillion to be Invested Globally in Renewable Energy by 2030, Finds Frost & Sullivan, News Release, PR Newswire

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Growth Opportunities from Decarbonization in the Global Power Market, 2019-2030, reveals that the 2020s will be crucial for all the participants in the power industry as the transition toward renewable energy is expected to increase, while coal takes a downturn in most developed markets. Falling costs and renewable-friendly energy policies adopted by several countries in the six major geographies—North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, China, and India—are prominent reasons why solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind capacity additions are expected to soar this decade. 

Nebraska Nanoscale Facility gets five-year renewal

By Dan Moser | Research and Economic Development
Nebraska Today, University of Nebraska Newsroom

The Nebraska Nanoscale Facility — housed mostly in the Voelte-Keegan Nanoscience Research Center — has received a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to ensure its continuation through at least 2025. Nebraska’s facility is one of 16 centers created under the NSF’s National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure program, designed to advance the nation’s nanoscience research by expanding the equipment and service capabilities of universities and industries.

“We can proudly say here in Nebraska that this is quite an elite club we are in,” said Christian Binek, director of the nanoscale facility.  The national infrastructure aims to ensure “the entire country is equipped with the tools and expertise to perform nanoscience and nanotechnology.”

Read more here.

MORE NEBRASKA / MIDWEST NEWS STORIES

Innovative Homes, Energy Careers Featured in New Virtual Sessions Offered by Solar Decathlon

Since 2002, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® has inspired more than 450 collegiate teams and 23,000 students worldwide. In addition to the focus on tomorrow’s leaders, the Solar Decathlon has a foundational goal of providing educational programs and opportunities for the general public.

In September, the Solar Decathlon will start a new series of 10 virtual sessions with topics ranging from tours of houses with innovative designs to residential energy usage to jobs in the energy sector. Offered at no cost, these webinars are available to the general public and cater specifically to current and prospective homeowners, members of the real-estate industry, educators, students and young professionals, home builders, renovation contractors, and others interested in viewing state-of-the-art homes.

During a traditional Solar Decathlon Build Challenge event, thousands would converge on the educational tents to learn more about these topics. Through these monthly webinars, virtual “visitors” can access this exclusive content from the comfort of their homes.

Below are additional details on each planned webinar.

  • Solar 101 – How Solar Energy Works
    Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • Discovering Clean Energy Careers
    Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • A Virtual Hands-On Energy Workshop for Families
    Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • Solar Student Leaders of Tomorrow Showcase
    Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • Resilient Home 411: Strategies to Weather and Recover from Natural Disasters
    Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • Zero Energy Ready Homes: New and Growing Fast
    Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • The Future of Solar: A Tour of Cutting-Edge Solar Research with the U.S. Department of Energy
    Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • Solar Decathlon Build Challenge Team House Tour
    Friday, April 16, 2021, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here
  • Winning Solar Home – The DOE Solar Decathlon Build Challenge Winners
    Wednesday, May 19, 2021, 12-1 pm 
    Learn more about this webinar and register here

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. The Design Challenge is a one-to-two-semester, design-only competition, while the Build Challenge is a multiyear design-build competition.

The most successful teams will complement architectural and engineering excellence with innovation, market potential, building efficiency, and smart on-site energy production. The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon continues to “push the envelope” on the design of high-performance, efficient, affordable, innovative buildings while promoting student innovation, STEM education, and workforce development opportunities.

Additional details are on the Solar Decathlon website.

Propelling the transition: The battle for control of virtual power plants is just beginning

By Matthew Bandyk, Utility Dive

The largest power plants in the the U.S. — massive feats of engineering like the over 5,000 foot-long, 6,800-MW capacity Grand Coulee Dam — are proving to be no match in scale to the combined power of the rooftops and basements of homes and businesses across the country. Distributed energy, including rooftop solar, on-site batteries to store electricity and more, are on track to grow to nearly 400 GW in the U.S. by 2025, according to projections from Wood Mackenzie, significantly greater than the amount of coal or nuclear power capacity in the U.S. today.

The existence of that much power leads to an inevitable question: who controls it? Utilities see distributed energy as both a threat to their business models and an opportunity to harness this relatively new and massive source of energy to make money. The rise of distributed energy has led to a conflict between a utility-centered business model and a service model based around third parties. “The fundamental question is who can manage and schedule distributed energy resources (DERs) and how?” said Omar Saadeh, business strategy manager at Accenture. “It’s a question being asked in a number of states.” Continue reading here.

Photo by Sonnen: The all-electric Soleil Lofts apartment community in Herriman, Utah, a virtual power plant managed by Rocky Mountain Power, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE).

Clean Energy Group Webinar
An Introduction to Virtual Power Plants, September 28, 12 to 1 pm

NREL

This Lab Aims to Prepare the U.S. Electricity Grid for a Climate Transformation, by E&E News, Scientific American. A new test bed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will explore ways to ease the shift to renewables and energy storage systems.

ELECTRIC BILLING

The Current System of Electric Billing No Longer Makes Sense: Here are some suggestions for fixing it. Greentech Media article contributed by Dan Seif, vice president for market development at 7X Energy, a Texas-based solar developer.

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Black & Veatch Joins Board of U.S. Solar Trade Group
Globally, Black & Veatch has implemented more than 100 GW of solar and wind energy, over 2,500 MWh+ of battery energy storage, and has deployed more than 700 distributed energy buildouts through its range of solutions from engineering services to EPC.

800-WATT SOLAR PANEL

JA Solar launches 800 W solar panel, PV Magazine International
The new product, currently the most powerful panel on the market, was showcased at the SNEC PV Power Expo in Shanghai. Also presented at the fair was a 780 W product from Tongwei and a 660 W module from Trina.

FEATURED SOLAR PROJECT

Habitat La Crosse adds solar power, La Crosse Tribune


Habitat for Humanity La Crosse Area’s “Soak up the Sun” Project is adding a 53.28 KW solar power system on the roof of their office and ReStore building in La Crosse. To learn more, visit: www.habitatlacrosse.org.

GREEN HYDROGEN

Starting a new industry, PV Magazine
As a business prospect, producing hydrogen via sustainable means remains in its infancy. However, analysts appear increasingly certain that we are seeing the dawn of a vital new industry. In Europe, some countries (such as Germany and Portugal) have already adopted national strategies for the production and use of the fuel. And in July, the European Union also published a comprehensive hydrogen strategy as a central part of a climate-neutral Europe.

EV CHARGING

How Convenient! Ultra Fast, Battery-Boosted EV Charging At ampm Stores, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica. The field of battery-enabled ultra fast EV charging is about to blow up out of nowhere. In the latest development, the company FreeWire Technologies has inked a deal with the convenience store chain ampm to install its battery-integrated Boost Charger System. Look for plenty more where that came from: ampm happens to come under the umbrella of newly minted clean tech giant bp through its bp America, Inc. subsidiary.

Previously Posted BP News Release: BP invests in mobile electric vehicle charging company FreeWire to deliver rapid charging at retail sites

American Wind Power Moves Forward Despite Second Quarter Challenges

Washington D.C. – The U.S. wind industry installed over 2,500 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity in the second quarter of 2020, bringing total American capacity to nearly 110,000 MW, according to the newly released Wind Powers America Second Quarter Report 2020.

“American wind power is immensely proud of its 120,000 workers who have fought to bring additional clean, reliable electricity to American citizens, even in the initial stages of the global pandemic. This work is more important than ever during these challenging times. As we cap off this year’s American Wind Week, America’s largest source of renewable energy remains committed to building on its 50-state footprint of investment and job creation and to continue adding affordable, clean power to local communities across the country.” – Tom Kiernan, AWEA CEO.

Fourteen new wind projects totaling 2,546 MW became operational across nine states during the second quarter, enough to power 860,000 American homes and setting a record for second quarter additions. Texas led the country with 810 MW of new wind projects installed, followed by Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska. Continue reading here.

Wind Energy In Nebraska, AWEA State Fact Sheet
Nebraska stands out as an emerging wind powerhouse. Nebraska now has over 2,300 MW of installed wind power and ranks 12th in the nation for installed capacity, with a total capital investment of over $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 Q2 2020

  • Installed wind capacity: 2,364 MW
  • State rank for installed wind capacity: 12th

Jobs & Economic Benefits

  • Direct wind industry jobs in 2019: 2,001 to 3,000
  • Capital investment in wind projects through 2019: $3.8 billion
  • Annual state and local tax payments by wind projects: $12 million
  • Annual land lease payments: $14.7 million

Photo: “Wind Rainbow” from AWEA’s Free Use Wind Energy Image Gallery