Tag Archives: Conservation Nebraska

NREL Report Shows Continued Declines in PV and PV-Plus-Storage Costs

By Ariana Fine, Solar Industry

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its annual cost breakdown of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage systems. U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System and Energy Storage Cost Benchmark: Q1 2021 details installed costs for PV systems as of the first quarter of 2021.

Costs continue to fall for residential, commercial rooftop, and utility-scale PV systems – by 3%, 11% and 12%, respectively, compared to last year. In a change from previous years’ reports, balance of systems costs have increased or remained flat across sectors this year. However, this increase in balance of systems cost was offset by a 19% reduction in module cost, causing overall costs to continue their decade-long decline. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

ACP CEO Heather Zichal statement on President Biden signing The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, American Clean Power Association 

“The American Clean Power Association applauds President Biden and bipartisan Congressional leaders for making a historic and long overdue investment in America’s infrastructure. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a major victory for Americans that will make unprecedented investments to modernize and enhance the nation’s electrical grid and provide consumers with more opportunities to receive reliable, zero-carbon electricity across the country. An overwhelming majority of voters — 93% — believe that clean energy is important to the country’s energy future, and the bipartisan support for this legislation is a powerful example of what we can get done for American clean power when our leaders come together.”

SALT CREEK SOLAR

Nebraska’s largest solar farm planned east of Lincoln is looking to clear final zoning hurdles, Updated November 10, 2021, Lincoln Journal Star. Ranger Power’s application is the first “industrial-scale” solar project proposed in the county.

Salt Creek Solar (PDF), Ranger Power Resource

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for tomorrow, November 17, before the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission.

NET ZERO ENERGY HOMES

Energy-Efficient Isn’t Enough, So Homes Go ‘Net Zero’, New York Times

Demand for residences that produce as much energy as they consume is being spurred by climate concerns, consumer appetite and more affordable solar technology.

Photo by GRNE Solar: The Sun Haven, a net-zero energy home in Lincoln, Nebraska.
See “Solar Examples” for more information.

CONSERVATION NEBRASKA NOW HIRING

Conservation Nebraska is now hiring half-time AmeriCorps members to serve as Conservation Directors with their Common Ground Program.

The term of service is December 1st, 2021 through August 31st, 2022.

The AmeriCorps position can be utilized to satisfy an internship requirement for college.
Any interested party should send a resume to Amanda Gangwish, Conservation Nebraska’s Program Director, at agangwish@neconserve.org

See Additional Position Details Here.

Sugar Powers Solar Technology Research

Creighton University News

When Max Markuson DiPrince embarked on an accelerated master’s degree in physics and sustainable energy sciences, Creighton University’s most prominent solar technology researcher found his man.

Andrew Baruth, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, had been kicking around an idea that cooking sugar down into carbon nanodots about one billionth of a meter in size might improve the efficiency of solar panels.

Such is the imaginative world of research, but Baruth needed someone to pursue the idea. When he handed the ball to Markuson DiPrince, a junior from Denver, Colorado, who is a Dean’s Fellow in the Creighton College of Arts and Sciences, Markuson DiPrince carried it all the way to a presentation at the annual conference of the American Physical Society, held virtually in March.

As he perused the participants who would soon hear his PowerPoint presentation, Markuson DiPrince saw representatives of numerous graduate institutions and national laboratories, including Los Alamos National Laboratory in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, as well as representatives of Princeton and Harvard universities.

“It was pretty terrifying, I won’t lie,” Markuson DiPrince said. “But it definitely built up my ability to present in an academic environment, which is very important as I build the skills necessary to present and defend a master’s thesis.”

The innovation Markuson DiPrince laid out that day concerned the ability of glucose-based carbon nanodots to transform the ultraviolet light spectrum into green light, which is the ideal form of light for solar cells.

“This is a relatively new direction for our research team, and Max ran the project in its entirety,” Baruth said. “It is quite an achievement for an undergraduate. It is certainly graduate-level work, which is why I’m glad he’s sticking around for his master’s degree.”

Markuson DiPrince is no stranger to solar cell research. He was named a 2019-2020 recipient of a NASA Nebraska Space Grant for similar work investigating the use of glucose-derived carbon to boost the ability of solar cells to generate electrical energy from sunlight.

Max Markuson DiPrince is a member of Nebraskans for Solar’s Board of Directors. 

Upcoming Event Hosted by Conservation Nebraska

Virtual Solar Farm Tour: Creighton University
May 20, 2021 at 6 pm

Register Here.

 

Join Conservation Nebraska for a virtual tour of Creighton University’s solar farm!

Andrew Baruth with Creighton University’s Physics Department will take us on a virtual tour and show us just how bright our future can be. Join us in learning about how the solar farm works, the benefits it provides, and how Creighton uses the solar farm to help generate electricity for their campus.

Local View: Don’t hamper wind growth

By Gary Thompson, Lincoln Journal Star

Last month, the Gage County Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend to the County Board of Supervisors that amendments be made to existing regulations governing development of wind farms in the county.

Among these was the requirement that each turbine be set back at least one mile away from any non-participating residence. If approved, this would be one of the most restrictive regulations in the nation — and its practical effect would be to ban any further development of wind energy within the county borders. Continue reading here.

Gary Thompson has served as an NPPD Board of Directors member for 27 years. He lives in Clatonia.

Also In Nebraska

Conservation Nebraska event to focus on regenerative agriculture

By Collin Spilinek, Fremont Tribune

Conservation Nebraska will hold a public event at Keene Memorial Library this Saturday afternoon that will discuss water quality and regenerative agriculture. The free event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Guest speakers include Martín Darío Hernández Ramírez, Michaela Mast and Graham Christensen. The event will discuss issues with water quality in areas such as West Point and regenerative agriculture, a form of farming that focuses on soil as the number-one resource and using practices with the end goal to build soil organic matter. “I really like these speakers because their presentations not only give a lot of facts, but it’s really widely based on the solutions and what we can do to solve these problems,” said Dakota Stock, northeast conservation director for Conservation Nebraska. Continue reading here.

City adopts financing tool for environmentally friendly projects

By Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

Hastings became the latest Nebraska city to adopt Property Assessed Clean Energy program when the Hastings City Council approved the program’s manual, application and contract form during the council’s regular meeting Jan. 13. Participation in PACE promotes energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy as an economic development tool. PACE financing is for commercial real estate and finances energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy systems. PACE loans serve as gap financing, so the developer would not have to spend as much of its capital to undertake an energy efficiency component of a project. Read more here.

Photo of the Nebraska State Capitol by Rick McCharles / Creative Commons. The Nebraska Legislature passed PACE-enabling legislation in 2016.

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

CONSERVATION NEBRASKA’S COMMON GROUND EDUCATION PROGRAM 

Workshop aims to build ‘A Sustainable You’ in 2020, by Tim Johnson, The North Platte Telegraph
The meeting was the kickoff to a yearlong program with monthly themes for Conservation Nebraska’s Common Ground Program. Solar energy will be February’s topic.

Links to More Information

Please join us for tonight’s public forum: “Align Your Principal with Your Principles: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy”

Nebraskans for Solar Educational Series Event 
UNO’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, Rooms 201 and 205
6400 University Drive S (64th & Dodge) in Omaha

Our speaker will be Tyler Mainquist, CFP®, ChFC®, CAP®, CLTC
Financial Advisor, Central Financial Services, Lincoln

This presentation will provide practical methods for implementing sustainable, responsible and impact (SRI) investing — including how to avoid carbon-intensive and other polluting industries, and instead support companies that are working to reduce, mitigate, and/or adapt to our changing global climate.

Additional material will cover recent updates re: comparisons against traditional investing, as well as the use of companies’ ESG (environmental, social, governance) data to reduce financial risk by avoiding bad corporate behavior.

Co-sponsored by Green Bellevue, Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light, Conservation Nebraska, Nebraska Sierra Club, OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team

This event is free and open to the public. Please join us and bring a friend! Refreshments provided. Reserved parking is available in the lot in front of the Community Engagement Center, near the Durham Bell Tower. Enter at the kiosk and let the lot attendant, who is there until 7 pm, know you are a Nebraskans for Solar guest.

Disclaimer
Tyler Mainquist is affiliated with Central Financial Services (CFS), and Ameritas Investment Corp. (AIC).  Securities and investment advisory services are offered solely through Registered Representatives and Investment Advisor Representatives of AIC, a registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC, and a registered investment advisor. AIC and CFS are not affiliated.  Additional products and services may be available through Tyler Mainquist or CFS that are not offered through AIC.  Representatives of AIC do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor or attorney regarding your situation.

Thank you to everyone who attended last evening’s Nebraskans for Solar event

First of all, thank you to our distinguished guest speaker, David Bracht, who provided an excellent overview of Nebraska’s wind and solar development and our state’s potential for future growth. If you missed his presentation last night at UNO’s Community Engagement Center, his PowerPoint slides will be posted on our website Home Page and our Facebook Page soon.

Thank you, as well, to our attendees, who contributed many insightful questions and comments to the discussion that followed Mr. Bracht’s presentation, and to our co-sponsoring groups: Conservation Nebraska, Nebraska Sierra Club, Green Bellevue, and OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team.

About Our Speaker

David Bracht, Attorney with the U.S. law firm Kutak Rock, advises clients involved in renewable energy development including biofuels, biomass, solar and wind energy, as well as lenders, power companies and government agencies supporting renewable energy development.

Mr. Bracht works with companies, service providers and other public agencies focused on improving energy efficiency to reduce energy use and cost. He counsels producers, agribusinesses and other businesses involved in production and processing of agriculture products, along with lenders, insurers and other firms supporting the production of food, fiber and fuel from agriculture processes. He has more than 35 years’ experience in business, government and law, including private legal practice and senior executive experience in private industry and federal and state government agencies.

Most recently, Mr. Bracht served as Director of the Nebraska Energy Office and a member of the cabinet of Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts from January 2015 to August 2018.  During his service as Nebraska Energy Director, total solar facilities statewide expanded from an estimated 1-2 megawatts to more than 30-40 megawatts and total wind facilities in Nebraska nearly doubled and the current 1.97 gigawatts is nearly triple those operating in 2014.

Recommended Reading
Nebraska gains as wind power grows, by David Bracht, The Grand Island Independent
Bolstered by more than $3.5 billion in private investment, close to 2,000 Nebraskans work in wind today. In fact, Yahoo Finance recently reported that “wind turbine service technician” is the fastest growing job in our state. Those jobs, and the option for young people to return home, bring new life to communities that have been suffering population decline for decades. Wind farms adding 10, 15 and sometimes 25 new good-paying jobs has had a dramatic impact, especially in Nebraska’s small towns. Look to towns like Petersburg, Elgin, Allen, and Neligh for just a few examples.

Climatologist warns climate change will lead to more flooding in Nebraska

By Sydnie Holzfaster, KPTM Fox 42 News

State officials say more flooding is in Nebraska’s future if nothing is done to reverse climate change. Sunday State Climatologist Martha Shulski spoke with members of the environmental advocacy group Green Bellevue about how climate change is affecting people in Nebraska now and what they can expect in the future. Shulski said people can help the environment by making small changes in their daily life like buying locally sourced products; taking city buses or cutting back on personal driving or investing in renewable energy options for your home and utilities. Read more here.

Join Nebraskans for Solar and allied groups this Thursday, September 12th to learn about renewable energy investment options available in Nebraska for residents, businesses, utilities, schools, and other nonprofits.

Nebraskans for Solar’s September Speaker: David Bracht, Attorney With Kutak Rock and Former Nebraska Energy Office Director

Mr. Bracht will discuss Nebraska’s wind and solar development and our state’s potential for future growth. A Q&A will follow his presentation.

UNO’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, Rooms 201/205.

Co-Sponsored by Green Bellevue, Conservation Nebraska, Sierra Club, OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team.