Category Archives: Solar Group Buy

Midlands Voices: Acting on key goals can give cities a needed boost, Norfolk mayor says

By Josh Moenning, Omaha World-Herald

“The best way out is through.” As Robert Frost penned these words many years ago, he likely couldn’t have envisioned an environment quite like the one we find ourselves in now.

Nevertheless, the lesson applies today just as it did then. As we navigate periods of hardship and uncertainty, the most effective approach to coping is not paralysis or dithering, it’s perseverance and unrelenting focus on pushing forward.

Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED OP-ED

Republicans must lead on clean energy jobs, by John Ruckelshaus, Republican State Senator from Indianapolis, The Indianapolis Star

Job creation is a bipartisan concern. Conservatives at all levels of government increasingly recognize that commonsense, market-based clean energy policies can put Americans to work while reducing carbon emissions. This was certainly the belief of my uncle, William Ruckelshaus, who was the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Nixon and later returned under President Reagan. The trend among conservative voters, especially the next generation, has never been more clearly in favor of clean energy. A Pew Research Center study showed that 78% of young Republicans say the U.S. should prioritize advanced energy sources over expanding fossil fuels.

 MORE ON ACORE’S NEW MACRO GRID INITIATIVE

A national US power grid would make electricity cheaper and cleaner, Vox
The areas of the US with the most renewable energy potential are not necessarily the ones that need the most energy. A report from the Wind Energy Association found that the 15 states between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River — Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana — account for 87 of the nation’s total wind energy potential and 56 percent of its utility-scale solar potential, but are only projected to account for 30 percent of the nation’s energy demand in 2050.

Macro Grid Initiative

MACRO VERSUS MICRO GRIDS

Macrogrids Or Microgrids: Which Is The Key To The Renewable Energy Revolution?, CleanTechnica. Arguing about macro versus micro is like arguing whether battery storage is better than pumped hydro. The truth is that both have a role to play in the renewable energy future. There are instances where gravity storage may be the best answer. The factor that is driving all these debates is that renewable energy facilities cost less to construct and can become operational in far less time than coal, gas, or nuclear generating installations. As costs continue to fall, there will be more money available to provide the resiliency we need to complete the renewable energy revolution while lowering the cost of electricity consumers pay.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

Salt Lake school board vows to create ‘more environmentally sustainable schools’, Deseret News
With the objective of establishing “healthier, more environmentally sustainable schools,” the Salt Lake City Board of Education has adopted a resolution that calls on the school district to meet all of its energy needs with carbon-neutral energy no later than 2040. The resolution includes incremental goals that build on ongoing efforts by district staff to reduce energy consumption and lessen the school distribution footprint.

GROUP SOLAR INSTALLATION PROGRAM

Virginia solar program on track to maintain momentum despite pandemic, Energy News Network. Every spring since 2015, the Local Energy Alliance Program has helped dozens of northern Virginians navigate the intricacies of powering their homes with solar panels. Contractors have installed more than 3 megawatts of capacity on 372 houses and businesses.

RENEWABLE ENERGY OUTLEASING

Federal courthouses might be prime spots for new solar panels, Federal News Network
The Green Building Advisory Committee drafted a recommendation letter to the General Services Administration for piloting renewable energy outleasing on federal properties. Outleasing is the practice of renting vacant or unused space on agency buildings, such as rooftops and parking lots, to utility companies which then install their equipment. According to the committee, GSA uses outleasing for renting roof space for antenna placement by telecommunications companies. And members suggested more could be done in a public-private partnership model.

CORPORATE RENEWABLES BUYERS

Wind deals are becoming even more popular with corporate renewables buyers, GreenBiz
According to “Wind Powers American Business,” a report from the wind advocacy group American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the private sector has been a significant demand driver for wind energy, purchasing more 20 percent of all new wind installations in the United States for five years running. Of course, corporations’ appetite for renewables is increasing across the board. Corporations are a similar driver behind solar, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). They collectively accounted for 22 percent of 2018 power purchase agreements (PPAs) for solar and wind in the United States. Still, the increase in wind projects, I wondered: What trends are driving corporations to pick more wind deals?

TESLA HOME SOLAR SYSTEMS

The Lowest Price for Home Solar, Tesla News Release
Today we are introducing the lowest-ever cost to go solar in the United States. Our average system size is now one-third less expensive than the industry average and we have recently introduced a lowest-price guarantee. If you change your mind after purchasing or are unhappy with the system, we will uninstall it and issue a full refund within seven days from system turn on.

GEOTHERMAL INNOVATION

In Minnesota, a geothermal innovation revives interest in systems’ potential, by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network. A heat exchange technology developed at the University of Minnesota could help shrink the cost and footprint of geothermal heating and cooling systems. Unlike conventional geothermal, which circulates ground heat found far below the surface, the approach taps into aquifers using fewer, shallower wells. A startup company, Darcy Solutions, has begun pitching the product to commercial and industrial businesses in the Twin Cities.

ORPHANED OIL & GAS WELLS

Special Report: Millions of abandoned oil wells are leaking methane, a climate menace, Reuters
The U.S. figures are sobering: More than 3.2 million abandoned oil and gas wells together emitted 281 kilotons of methane in 2018, according to the data, which was included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent report on April 14 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. That’s the climate-damage equivalent of consuming about 16 million barrels of crude oil, according to an EPA calculation, or about as much as the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer, uses in a typical day.

Related news from Canada: Collapsed Alberta energy company leaves behind 401 ‘orphan’ wells in B.C., more than doubling total, CBC News

CLIMATE STATEMENTS FROM WORLD RELIGIOUS LEADERS

Buying rooftop solar, in bulk

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

One of the oldest ideas about how to cut costs is advancing, not through a business, but through a non-profit. Solar United Neighbors (SUN) is reporting that it has added 13 “solar co-ops” in ten states over the last six months, which are allowing participating homeowners and small business owners to essentially buy rooftop solar in bulk, 30 roofs at a time.

These new cooperatives span the nation, from Arizona to Maryland, with four in a state that is experiencing a minor boom: Florida. Beaches Business Solar Co-opMiami Digital Solar Co-opOrlando Solar Co-op and Pasco County Solar Co-op. These co-ops work by gathering neighbors together through informative sessions run by SUN, and getting them to sign up more neighbors, often through word of mouth. Read more here.

Solar United Neighbors (SUN) Resources

Additional PV Magazine News Stories & Resources

  • FPL redefines community solar
    Florida Power and Light (FPL), in collaboration with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), Vote Solar, and Walmart has officially filed a settlement to establish the nation’s largest community solar, after announcing plans for the program in the spring. The program, named Solar Together will be the biggest in the United States by a pretty wide margin, a piece of the larger 30×30 program that aims to install 30,000,000 solar panels by 2030, being described by SACE as 30×30’s ‘backbone.’
  • Solar + storage to survive disasters
    Roth Capital Partners has released a new research note on conclusions made and predictions about the solar industry, based off of observations made at Solar Power International 2019 (SPI). While the note is chiefly concerned with industry-wide solar stock performance, one bit of information stood out: Roth expects the U.S. residential solar market to exceed anticipated growth, increasing 25% year-over-year in both 2019 and 2020.
  • Energy storage and inverters to get you through power outages
  • Vertically integrated advanced energy manufacturing from SolarEdge
    SolarEdge is still fundamentally based on solar power, however, it is turning into a vertically integrated energy manufacturer and service provider.

Green Hydrogen News

Featured Resources

Midwest Solarize programs helped 482 property owners add 3.8 MW of solar in 2018

By Kelly Pickerel, Solar Power World

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Solar Group Buy (also known as Solarize)
programs have helped 482 property owners in four states add 3,815 kW of solar electric generating capacity to their homes, farms, organizations and businesses, more than doubling
the organization’s solar group buy results to date.

MREA’s Solar Group Buys come at no cost to the partnering jurisdictions and organizations
except for staff time. Each program included a competitive process led by local advisory
committees to select the solar installation firm that would serve their respective program.
Read more here.

Photo: Eric Marshall installed solar through MREA’s 2016 Solar Bloomington-Normal program. Credit: Eric Marshall

MREA RESOURCES

MREA’S 30TH ANNUAL ENERGY FAIR IN CUSTER, WISCONSIN

 

June 21-23, 2019. Register by February 15th to save 10%.
Click image to link to more information.

 


ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

 

The Solar Revolution Is Coming—But Not to Everyone, Popular
Mechanics. A new study shows that the benefits of solar power are skipping over communities of color.

 

SOLAR MICROGRID NEWS

Solar Microgrid To Power Indoor Farm All Year Round, CleanTechnica

Schneider Electric currently has more than 300 microgrid projects on the go in the US, and is using its EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor software platform for cloud-connected, demand-side energy management. It’s integrated into the system to enable a look at current electric rate tariffs and optimization of energy usage – but does so faster than any human could.

MORE BUSINESSES IN THE NEWS

Watch Budweiser’s Bob Dylan-Backed Super Bowl Ad Touting Wind Power, AdAge

‘Blowin in the Wind’ is the soundtrack for ad promoting brew’s enviro credentials. Anheuser-Busch InBev last year set a goal to ensure that by 2025 all of the electricity it purchases globally will come from renewable sources.

Potential Models for Nebraska Communities: Solar Power Hour locations announced for Johnson County Solarize program

IOWA CITY — Nearly two dozen public meetings have been scheduled to help educate area residents on Johnson County’s Solarize program — which incentivizes private solar development through volume purchasing prices. Similar to last year’s Solarize program in Linn County, the first of its kind in Iowa, the program is administered by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. The Cedar Rapids and Linn County Solarize program concluded with about 607 kilowatts of solar energy added to 105 properties. Read more here.

Photo: Stacks of solar panels. Bulk purchasing is a central part of Solar Group Buy & Solarize Programs.

RESOURCES FOR ORGANIZING A SOLAR GROUP BUY OR SOLARIZE PROGRAM

CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEBRASKA COMMUNITIES, ORGANIZATIONS / SMALL BUSINESSES AND URBAN & RURAL FOOD PRODUCERS

Thank you to everyone who attended last evening’s NFS community event!

Many thanks to everyone who attended the second Solar Group Buy Meeting last night at UNO’s Community Engagement Center: to Green Bellevue for your much-appreciated co-sponsorship, to audience members for sharing ideas and asking excellent questions before, during and after the meeting, and to our two panels of energy efficiency and solar energy experts, who provided a wealth of information:

  • David Holtzclaw, Transduction Technologies
  • Graham Christensen, GC ReVOLT
  • Jeff Berggren, GenPro Energy Solutions
  • Jon Traudt, Health and Energy Company
  • Leon Komar, Lifetime Home Services
  • Mark Lostcutoff, O-HEAT: Omaha Heat Energy Analysis and Testing
  • Michael Shonka, Solar Heat & Electric

Thank you to Rita Corell for sharing the link to “Solar Easements – Nebraska,” a topic discussed briefly at the meeting.

Please save the following dates and join us again at UNO’s Community Engagement Center for these events co-sponsored by Green Bellevue:

December 14, 2017: Panel Presentation on “Community Solar” organized by NFS board member Leo Arens

January 10, 2018: Third Solar Group Buy Meeting: Roundtable & Q&A With Solar Installers and Solar Ambassadors

Nebraskans for Solar’s November Event: Second Solar Group Buy Meeting

November 8, 2017
UNO Community Engagement Center
Combined Rooms 201 & 205

Co-Sponsored by Green Bellevue

Program Facilitators: NFS Board Members Helen and Ken Deffenbacher
Green Bellevue President Don Preister

6:45 pm: Come a little early to talk with the experts.
7:00 pm: Two panel presentations, each followed by a Q&A.
Each panelist will present a “5-Minutes-Or-Fewer” Talk.

First Panel: Energy Efficiency experts will discuss the steps they have taken to make their own homes more efficient, plus additional ways homeowners and businesses can save energy and money. Making a home or business more energy efficient will reduce the size solar array required to meet its electricity needs.

  • David Holtzclaw, Transduction Technologies
  • Jon Traudt, Health and Energy Company
  • Leon Komar, Lifetime Home Services
  • Mark Lostcutoff, O-HEAT: Omaha Heat Energy Analysis and Testing

Second Panel: Solar Energy Experts will present information on purchasing and installing a solar PV system. Included in the discussion will be a demonstration of the ConnectDER, available incentives, financing, the inspection process required by OPPD, the permit and other details.

  • David Holtzclaw, Transduction Technologies
  • Graham Christensen, GC ReVOLT
  • Jeff Berggren, GenPro Energy Solutions
  • Michael Shonka, Solar Heat & Electric

If you attended the first Solar Group Buy meeting on October 11th, please bring your information packets, as these have handouts with information you may want to ask the solar panelists about, and the following (optional) items:

  • Photo of your roof or other proposed solar installation site if you are going solar.
  • Photo of your project if you’ve installed a solar system since our October meeting.
  • OPPD bills for your personal reference to monthly kilowatt-hours (kWh) usage.

RESOURCES PRESENTED AT OUR OCTOBER 11th MEETING

New connection technology is cutting cost of solar installation, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Please join us and contribute to the discussion! Refreshments will be served. Information packets will be available to those who were unable to attend the October 11th meeting, for as long as quantities last.

CEC GUEST PARKING
Arrive before 7 pm if possible: Reserved parking is available for Nebraskans for Solar guests in Lot E in front of the Community Engagement Center. Visitors should enter through the parking booth, which is staffed by an attendant until 7pm. Let the attendant know you are there for the Nebraskans for Solar event. If Lot E has reached capacity, he or she will give you a permit to park in an adjacent lot. After 7 p.m. parking is available in all UNO lots, including the library’s lot next to the CEC.

Second Solar Group Buy Meeting November 8th

Please join us for the next Solar Group Buy Meeting
November 8, 2017 at 7 p.m.
UNO’s Community Engagement Center
Combined Rooms 201 and 205

Two brief panel presentations, each followed by a major Q&A session, are planned for the second meeting of the greater-Omaha-area Solar Group Buy. One panel of local energy efficiency experts will discuss numerous ways to save energy and money, from the free and inexpensive steps you can take to the more expensive. Conserving energy will reduce the size solar system required to meet the electricity needs of a home or business.

Solar installers will make up a second panel of experts. They will briefly introduce themselves and then open the discussion to attendees’ questions. Included, too, will be a demonstration of the ConnectDER, available incentives, a discussion of the inspection process required by OPPD, the solar installation permit, and banks and other lending agencies that provide loans for energy efficiency upgrades and solar energy projects. Solar Ambassadors, those who have already installed solar, will also be present to add to the discussion and answer questions.

Optional items to bring to the meeting:

  • photo of your roof or other proposed solar installation site
  • rooftop checklist – See the Solar Group Buy PowerPoint. A separate checklist will be added soon to the resources, below.
  • OPPD bills showing your usage over the past months

RESOURCES PRESENTED AT OUR OCTOBER 11TH MEETING

New connection technology is cutting cost of solar installation, by Karen Uhlenhuth,
Midwest Energy News

Please join us and contribute to the discussion! Refreshments will be provided. 

Save the Date & Plan to Attend the Next Meeting of the “Solar Group Buy Initiative: Creating a Model for Nebraska Communities”

Many thanks to everyone who attended last night’s first-ever-in-Nebraska solar group buy roundtable discussion at UNO’s Community Engagement Center.

Solar enthusiasts, ambassadors, installers and other solar experts attended the meeting and contributed information and ideas towards creating a model program for the greater-Omaha area and other Nebraska communities.

The discussion and one-on-one conversations after the meeting generated the following presentation / discussion topics for our next meeting to be held on November 8th — same place, same time: UNO’s Community Engagement Center from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Please join us and help to create a solar group buy model for Nebraska!

Proposed Topics for the November 8th Solar Group Buy Meeting – So Far 

  • Before Going Solar: A DIY Checklist. This will be available on our calendar before our next meeting.
  • Ways to shrink the size of a solar PV system that’s needed through energy efficiency and conservation steps: Presentation by one or more energy-efficiency experts.
  • Steps to Going Solar – Presentations & Discussion:
    Conventional PV installation versus an Installation using the ConnectDER (which OPPD has approved).
    Solar PV Systems: What are the components that make up a PV system and the functions of each.
    What to look for in solar panels, inverters, power optimizers and other components.
    Warranties for labor and equipment.
    The solar permit and other paperwork. We’ll have a copy of the permit and how much it costs at the meeting.
  • Group purchase of solar PV systems.
  • Additional discussion on group buy discounts as a proven means of increasing the sheer number of installations in communities, why they make sense, and how installers and group buy participants can collaborate to benefit all. (More projects = increased community interest. Increased community interest = more projects. In other words, people have a tendency to do what they see their neighbors doing).
  • Energy storage options with or without the ConnectDER.
  • Additional discussion of installation location options.
  • Additional discussion of all available incentives for businesses and homeowners. Check them out before our next meeting here: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) – Nebraska
  • How schools and other nonprofits, which don’t qualify for the 30% federal Investment Tax Incentive (ITC), benefit from solar group buys.
  • Ways to Finance a Solar System: A list of Nebraska banks and other agencies that offer financing for solar systems and information about each one will be available at the meeting. 

To add more topics to the above list and / or to share resources and information links on the ones currently proposed, please email them to Helen Deffenbacher: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com 

If you would like to use the PowerPoint slides and handouts from last night’s meeting to start a Solar Group Buy in your community, please contact Helen at the above address, and she will email them to you.