Tag Archives: Michael Shonka

Thank you to everyone who attended our event this evening at UNO’s Community Engagement Center!

First of all, thank you to our guest speakers for their excellent presentation on Nebraska’s first-ever community solar project developed by a neighborhood association: Terry Wittler and Jeff Buhrman, Lincoln Capitol Beach homeowners, led the association’s efforts to pioneer this
innovative model for our state.

Michael Shonka, owner of Solar Heat and Electric and Nebraskans for Solar board member,
collaborated with Terry and Jeff on the project and joined them for part of the program this evening. The challenges they encountered and the lessons learned resulted in a time-saving plan for anyone interested in proposing the same idea to other power districts.

The discussion that followed their presentation generated many insightful questions and
comments from audience members. Thank you to everyone who attended.

Michael Shonka’s contact information is listed in Nebraskans for Solar’s Directory for anyone with additional questions.

Terry Wittler may be reached at the following email address: terrywittler@gmail.com.

Photo by David Corbin

Thank you to everyone who attended our January event at UNO’s Community Engagement Center!

Many thanks to everyone who turned out for last evening’s event, Nebraskans for Solar’s Third Solar Group Buy Roundtable: to our co-sponsoring groups, Green Bellevue and Sierra Club; and to our presenters, discussion leaders, and audience participants who, together, created an excellent educational opportunity.

Wyndle Young, OPPD Projects Director, Customer Initiatives, discussed the following topics:

  1. Update of OPPD’s Distributed Generation Manual. Final revision to be announced.
  2. The ConnectDER: OPPD reviewed the innovative device, and on July 1, 2017, accepted it for use for certain Distributive Energy Resources including solar installations. See OPPD document link, below.
  3. Renovation of the Distributed Generation portion of OPPD’s website. Final revision to be announced.
  4. OPPD’S Community Solar Development. See information, below.

David Holtzclaw, owner of Transduction Technologies, summarized the step-by-step process for a business or homeowner to install a solar PV system. A Q&A followed during which he was joined by Jeff Bergrenn from GenPro Energy Solutions and Michael Shonka, owner of Solar Heat and Electric, as well as Solar Ambassadors, people who have installed a PV system and are willing to serve as resource persons to others in the group.

Attendees were provided a list of FAQ’s prepared by solar installers, which will be available at future events. Everyone was asked for their recommendations for future speakers and topics.

RESOURCES DISCUSSED AT THE MEETING 

Solar, Energy Conservation & Incentives

Community Solar
“In response to customer interest in solar-powered generation, OPPD is evaluating the potential for a community solar energy project. OPPD will continue to assess solar programs, while balancing our mission to provide affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services to our customers.” – OPPD’s Integrated Resource Plan
OPPD’s Community Solar Update, by Jeff Karloff, Division Manager, Production Engineering, Fuels and Renewables. December 14, 2017 Board of Directors Meeting.
Presentation Slides

Proposal Details

  • Locations considered
    I-80 rest area near Gretna
    City of Fort Calhoun
    Bellevue landfill
  • Ten developers over 100 proposals
  • Electrical interconnection costs will be added to RFP prices

Thank you to Michael Shonka and everyone who attended his presentation last night!

Co-Sponsors Nebraskans for Solar and the Omaha Sierra Club would like to thank Michael Shonka for his informative and well-received presentation at UNO’s Community Engagement Center on the topic of “Central City’s Solar Farm.” We also thank everyone who braved last night’s bitter temperatures to attend the event and for your thoughtful and well-informed questions.

We regret that Michael’s friend and colleague, Chuck Marken, was unable to join us. On behalf of Nebraskans for Solar, however, Michael has let him know that the invitation to come to Nebraska and present a public forum remains open.

We also wish to thank three special guests: David Bracht, Director of the Nebraska Energy Office; Cliff Mesner, whose company developed the Central City Solar Farm and who contributed to last night’s presentation, answering a number of questions from the audience; and Don Preister, a leading pioneer in renewable energy legislation that laid the groundwork for its development in our state, serving for 16 years as a senator from Bellevue in the Nebraska Legislature.

Save the date!  You are invited to a panel presentation, “Creighton University’s Sustainable Energy Science Program” on Monday, March 23rd. RSVP required. Please see our calendar for additional details.

Nationally Recognized Solar Expert & Author Will Be Special Guest At February 12th Event

Sponsors: Nebraskans for Solar & Omaha Sierra Club 

Everyone who attends Michael Shonka’s presentation on Nebraska’s first solar farm on Thursday, February 12th will receive an added bonus—an early Valentine’s Day gift!

Michael has invited his friend and colleague from New Mexico, Chuck Marken, a nationally recognized solar expert and author, as his co-presenter. (Please see his bio, below). They will each speak for about 45 minutes, with Chuck providing a national perspective on solar farms and other topics. Time will be allotted for questions from the audience.

Chuck Marken is an instructor for Solar Energy International and a licensed electrical, plumbing and HVAC-R contractor in New Mexico. He started installing solar water heating systems in 1979 and PV systems in 1983. Chuck is also a technical editor for Home Power and SolarPro magazines and has authored more than 50 articles on solar topics. He has hands-on experience selling, installing and servicing hundreds of solar energy systems of all types – including off-grid and grid-connected PV systems, hot water and swimming pool solar systems.

After founding and owning AAA Solar for more than 25 years, he sold the company in 2010. He has, through contracts with Sandia National Laboratories supported the US Department of Energy, served as an expert for the Solar Instructor Training Network and Solar America Cities program. He has also taught classes and workshops for numerous other educational and not-for-profit organizations in the US and is the co-author of the current NABCEP Solar Heating Installer Resource Guide.

Questions? Suggestions? Please email NFS Events Organizer, Helen Deffenbacher at nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com.

Central City Solar Farm – A New Step for Nebraska in Energy Innovation

NEBRASKANS FOR SOLAR’S FEBRUARY FORUM

Speaker: Michael Shonka, Renewable Energy Advocate & Spokesperson, Instructor & Business Owner – Solar Heat & Electric
When: February 12, 2015 – 7 to 9 p.m.
Where: UNO’s Community Engagement Center, 64th & Dodge, Room 201

Michael recently completed Nebraska’s first solar farm, a 100-panel system installed in an industrial park next to an existing solar system owned by Mesner Development Company of Central City. Residents and businesses of Central City, which has a population of 2,900, will be able to purchase shares of the energy generated by the system in the future. Other names for solar farms include: “shared renewables,” “community solar” and “solar gardens.”

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In this presentation, Michael will discuss the Central City Solar Farm project in detail and will outline the required steps for other interested Nebraska communities to develop solar farms. He will also discuss some of his other just-completed or future solar projects in our state, including rooftop solar. Time will be allotted for Q&As.

Michael Shonka, owner of Solar Heat and Electric, has been designing, installing, and maintaining solar and wind energy systems since 1983. In collaboration with colleagues in the renewable energy industry and many other renewable energy advocates in our state, he promotes adoption of renewable energy by the general public and government, and is involved on updating city code and legislation to facilitate greater renewable energy development in Nebraska. He has helped to pass a state tax credit for renewable energy and to implement the new net metering law. He is also involved with teaching of solar, wind, sustainability and energy conservation classes statewide.

The workshop is free & open to the public, so please share this announcement with others. Refreshments provided. We will also have information tables available for green groups & renewable energy / energy efficiency businesses to share your materials with attendees. If you ordered a copy of the 2015 Solar Electricity Handbook, by Michael Boxwell, these will be handed out before the workshop. 

Free parking is available in the reserved lot to the north of the Community Engagement Center, near the Durham Bell Tower, plus all adjacent lots. Let the lot attendant know you’re there for the Nebraskans for Solar workshop in Room 201. Questions? Suggestions? Please email nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com

An energy revolution: Stringent emission rules are changing the way energy is delivered, favoring renewables, natural gas over coal

by Russell Hubbard, Omaha World-Herald

Warm rooms in winter, cool ones in summer, humming factories and well-lit offices.

In a nation such as the United States, it is easy to take such workaday energy matters for granted.

But the way it is done is all changing. The energy generation system that underlies the wealthiest nation in world history is undergoing the biggest transformation since the dawn of the steam age.

“We are at a historical point of change,” said Michael Shonka, vice president of the Nebraska Solar Energy Society. “People generally aren’t aware of history happening until it is over, and then they say, ‘Wait, that was a revolution.'”

To continue reading, click this link.

Central City plans to build state’s first community solar farm

by Algis J. Laukaitis, Lincoln Journal Star

Central City officials announced Thursday that they plan to build Nebraska’s first community solar energy project.

The 100-panel system will be constructed alongside an existing system that is owned by Mesner Development Co. of Central City in an industrial park next to Nebraska 14, north of the city.

“We are always looking for ways to save our citizens money, and developing this solar system is one way to do that,” Central City administrator Chris Anderson said in a news release. “It will allow us to lock in a stable price for electricity for the foreseeable future.”

To continue reading, click here.