Tag Archives: Kearney Solar Farm

SEIA Expands Leadership Team, Adding Vice President of Congressional Affairs and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced today a restructure and expansion of its leadership team. Erin Duncan, a proven legislative strategist and advocate, has been named the organization’s new vice president of congressional affairs and Katherine Gensler has been named vice president of regulatory affairs.

Duncan has extensive experience in Washington D.C. She joins SEIA after more than 11 years as a federal lobbyist for the National Education Association. Prior to that, she spent eight years working on Capitol Hill, including six years as legislative director for Rep. Tom Osborne,
(R-Nebraska). Read more here.

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT NEWS

Corporate Customers Smash Green Procurement Marks, Commercial Property Executives. One of Facebook’s deals in 2018 was part of a new PPA signed in March with Adobe for energy produced by the 320-megawatt Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm in Nebraska owned by Enel Green Power North America Inc. (EGPNA). 

Clean Energy Deal Tracker: ExxonMobil, Facebook headline a record-breaking fourth quarter,
GreenBiz. Not only was 2018 the biggest year on record for corporate renewable energy deals, with more than 6.5 gigawatts of contracts on the books, the furious pace of deal-making — and the creativity of the arrangements — barely slowed during the waning three months of the year. According to the official figures released in mid-December by the Business Renewables Center (BRC), part of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the publicly announced capacity contracted over the past 12 months was 6.43 GW.

NEBRASKA CONSERVATION AWARD

Conservation efforts recognized at NRD banquet,
Norfolk Daily News. In the past seven years, the [Wiese family of Oakland] has planted more than 1,200 trees and shrubs and renovated a 2½ acre windbreak
system — all by hand. Besides trees, the family also put in solar panels to provide electricity to their home and outbuildings. Since putting in the solar panels, the family has noticed a decrease in their monthly electric bill and feel good about producing green energy on their acreage. They also have a large garden on which they do their own version of no-till.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY

Nebraska clean energy plan focuses on wind, solar, efficiency, by Don Walton, Lincoln Journal Star

Clean energy plan renamed: Due to a business having a similar name, the Husker Power Plan was renamed the Husker Energy Plan. The plan was revised August 28, 2018. To read the updated Husker Energy Plan and see the 16 partners that have endorsed it, visit: www.huskerenergyplan.org.

POLLINATOR-FRIENDLY SOLAR SITES

Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies, by Jodi Helmer, Scientific American
A trend of planting wildflowers on solar sites could maintain habitat for disappearing bees and butterflies.

Photo: Kearney’s solar farm consisting of approximately 23,000 panels on 53 acres located in the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, is Nebraska’s largest ground-mounted solar project, to date. Credit: Developer, SoCore Energy
Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska

Another distinguishing feature of Kearney’s Solar Farm is that it is a nationally-recognized pollinator-friendly site, benefiting local food producers. 

Previously posted links to information of potential interest to other Nebraska communities that have developed or plan to develop a solar farm:

In bid to help bees, Xcel to require vegetation disclosure in solar RFPs

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

[Xcel Energy Minnesota] plans to add 2,600 MW to 3,000 MW of solar generation by 2030 and all those projects will be required to disclose a completed copy scorecard for pollinator-friendly sites. Pollinator-friendly vegetation isn’t required in order for a project to be considered by the utility, but it will establish a precedent “of priorities and values,” Rob Davis, director of the center for pollinators in energy at Fresh Energy, told Utility Dive.

Pollinator friendly solar sites are a growing trend among utilities seeking to more holistically reduce their ecological footprint. Sites are designated as “pollinator friendly” based on state legislation, which was first passed in Minnesota in 2016 and has since spread to five other states. Read more here.

Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

IN NEBRASKA

Kearney’s Solar Farm, comprising 22,464 panels on 53 acres at Tech oNE Crossing, is currently Nebraska’s largest. The 5.7-megawatt solar array’s generating capacity is enough to power about 900 houses or supply 5 percent of Kearney’s energy load.

An additional distinguishing feature of Kearney’s Solar Farm is that it is a nationally-recognized pollinator-friendly site, benefiting local food producers. Related stories:

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Photo by Engie Distributed Solar

MORE RESOURCES

 LEGISLATION

WIND ENERGY & CROPS

Iowa State University Research Finds Wind Farms Positively Impact Crops
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Qwest Renewables and Nebraska-based Interconnection Systems install 54.6kW PV canopy at South Dakota Harley-Davidson

By Kelley Pickerel, Solar Power World

The 54.6-kW system features the QuadPod solar canopy from Quest Renewables. About 90% of QuadPod’s construction takes place on the ground, making construction three-times faster than traditional carport designs. After on-the-ground assembly, panel placement, inverter mounting, wiring and lighting, the canopy units are lifted by crane for final attachment, minimizing overhead work and optimizing worksite safety. Learn more here. 

Photo by Qwest Renewables: Crane moving the QuadPod into place.

From Solar Examples: Interconnection Systems Projects In Nebraska

KEARNEY SOLAR FARM

Project: Kearney’s solar farm consists of approximately 23,000 panels on 53 acres located in the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. To date, the array is Nebraska’s largest solar project, generating 5.8 megawatts of electricity, or about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand.
Developer: SoCore Energy
Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska
NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program
Kearney Community Solar Q&A
Kearney NPPD customers can purchase shares here.

SMARTFLOWER INSTALLATIONS IN MARQUETTE AND CENTRAL CITY

The system is 40% more efficient in energy production than traditional solar. The SmartFlower generates 5.5 Mwh of energy per year. The SmartFlower shown in the photo is located at Timberlake Ranch Campus, a Christian family camp at 2709 North S Road, Marquette, Nebraska.  A second SmartFlower was installed at the Nebraska Christian School, 1847 Inskip Avenue in Central City, Nebraska.

How Land Under Solar Panels Can Contribute to Food Security

By Frank Jossi, Ensia

With more land being devoted to solar energy production, the idea of making those acres pollinator friendly seems to make ecological and economic sense. “Incorporating habitat into these solar farms across the nation is a good way to promote and protect pollinator health,” says Val Dolcini, president and CEO of the San Francisco­–based Pollinator Partnership, a non-profit organization promoting pollinator environments.

Under-panel native plants benefit not just their immediate solar farm surroundings but nearby cropland. Lee Walston, an ecologist at Argonne National Laboratory, says pollinating insects roam beyond solar installations to other agricultural fields, where they help increase production. Native plantings offer refuge for declining species such as monarch butterflies and rusty patched bumblebees while serving the additional purpose of controlling stormwater and erosion, he adds. Read more here.

Ensia Editor’s Note: Frank Jossi is Minnesota correspondent for Midwest Energy News, an editorially independent publication of Fresh Energy. Rob Davis, who is quoted in the article, is the director of Fresh Energy’s Center for Pollinators in Energy.

Photo Credit: Prairie Restoration Inc.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Small as energy maker, solar farm generates big interest

NRD readies to open solar-powered, geothermal-heated greenhouse

By Steve Frederick, Scottsbluff Star Herald

SCOTTSBLUFF — The North Platte Natural Resources District broke ground Friday on a solar-powered, geothermal-heated greenhouse, which will grow crops to assist local food banks and promote NRD’s research and education missions. The greenhouse will be part of a multi-phase project to promote education, donation and explore the business potential for indoor-grown crops. Part of its mission will be aimed at helping local efforts to feed the hungry. Continue reading here.

Wikimedia Commons Photo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

Tech oNE Crossing Update: Xpanxion officials say business will allow for employees to ‘work in a different way’

By Amanda Push, The Kearney Hub 

The 20,000-square-foot building will have the capacity for 120-140 employees. Xpanxion’s current Kearney facility at 810 E. 56th St. has capacity for 75 employees. Once the Tech oNE building is complete, the entire Kearney operation will move there. No detail is spared to shape the space into a state-of-the-art facility where work and play collide . . . Plans for the technology park also include the construction of Nebraska’s largest solar energy array. Officials with Chicago-based SoCore Energy, Nebraska Public Power District and the city entered a 25-year agreement in February to build a 5.8 megawatt, $11 million solar array on 53 acres of the park. Construction for the solar array began in June. Read more here.

Tech oNE Crossing

Photo: Kearney’s solar farm consists of approximately 23,000 panels on 53 acres at Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. To date, the array is Nebraska’s largest solar project. It will generate 5.8 megawatts of electricity, or about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand.

Related News Story
UNK makes move to solar energy with NPPD, SoCore agreement, KSNB – Hastings

UNK SUSTAINABILITY PLAN
Purchasing solar energy fits in with UNK’s long-term plan to improve its environmental impact. UNK rolled out a sustainability plan last year. UNK is beginning to work towards reducing emissions by 13 percent, increasing the recycling rate to 50 percent, reducing energy consumption by 25 percent, reducing water consumption by 15 percent, making the campus 75-percent commute sustainable and using 50-percent green purchasing by 2025. By 2050, UNK plans to be 100-percent climate neutral and have a 90-percent recycling rate.

Featured Solar Example: Kearney Solar Project Underway With November Completion Date

Project update provided by Interconnection Systems, Inc., Central City

The Kearney Solar Farm

The 7.2-megawatt solar project is under construction, with a November 2017 completion date. The farm is located in Kearney’s Northeast Technology Park, otherwise known as Tech One Crossing, at 56th Street and Antelope Avenue. Approximately 23,000 solar panels will be mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. The Kearney Solar Farm will provide about 5% of the electrical energy for the City of Kearney through NPPD. When completed the Kearney Solar Farm will be the largest utility-scale solar project in Nebraska.
Installers: Interconnection Systems, Inc, Central City, Nebraska