Tag Archives: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Nebraska bills would allow more community solar, tap lottery for funding

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

A pair of bills now before the Nebraska legislature would provide a new potential funding source for community solar projects, and mandate that utilities allow community solar projects initiated by their customers.
LB 610 would explicitly allow the Nebraska Environmental Trust to consider issuing grants to community solar projects. The trust’s funds, coming from a portion of the state’s lottery proceeds, amount to roughly $16 million yearly . . . The other community solar bill, known as the Shared Community Solar Act, essentially legalizes community solar projects and requires utilities to allow them.

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Nebraska making efficiency push for state-owned buildings

State Government Buildings To Be Benchmarked By 2020


New bioenergy approach could mean cleaner water, plus a big payday for farmers

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

[Shashi Menon, a managing partner at EcoEngineers] and his economic-analyst partners at Goss & Associates attempted to calculate the financial and other benefits that could result from a synergistic approach to both producing high-quality biogas from municipal, industrial and agricultural waste and using marginal land to grow an energy crop such as miscanthus. It could be processed along with other organic waste in anaerobic digesters . . . They roughly concluded that a $17.6 million investment in a digester to process municipal and industrial waste would, over 20 years, yield about $158 million in benefits. Read more.

Photo by Andrea Kirby / Creative Commons


Sunny disposition: Falling prices fuel solar boom

By Thomas Content, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 


Solar power appears to be on the verge of something big. Records are being set at the national and local levels when it comes to adding solar panels, and new technology announcements have folks turning their heads about turning to the sun to power their homes. Buoyed by a 63% drop in prices over just the past five years, solar installations are being built at an eye-popping pace. Consider these milestones announced over just the past two weeks: Continue reading.

Photo: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Industry study: Microgrids to become ‘fundamental building block’

Written by David J. Unger, Midwest Energy News


Despite the heightened profile, microgrids – islandable networks of generation and distribution – remain a small part of the U.S. energy system, making up a fraction of a percent of the nation’s total power generating capacity. That is poised to change, according to a report released earlier this month by the National Electrical Manufacturing Association (NEMA), an industry group representing electrical, medical imaging, and radiation therapy manufacturers . . . The push to deploy more renewables – particularly as more states set aggressive renewable portfolio standards – will drive microgrid deployment, according to the NEMA report. And as the price of renewables and storage continues to drop, the business case for building microgrids will only improve. Click to read more.

Photo by Sandia National Laboratories of the Mesa Del Sol microgrids

‘Tectonic shifts’ reshape energy landscape, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The falling price of renewable energy, efforts to address climate change and the proliferation of Big Data are key trends upending the way the power grid has operated for the last 100 years. Those trends were highlighted by speakers from industry and academia Monday at an international electrical engineering conference, the Energy Conversion Congress, that’s taking place this week in Milwaukee.

Customers Will Have Say In Future Energy Options For Grand Rapids, Hibbing Daily Tribune
Local residents and businesses may soon have the option of purchasing electricity produced by a community solar garden and/or a forest-derived biomass facility. Between Sept. 23 – Oct. 25, the Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commission will be mailing surveys to its electric customers explaining possible renewable energy services. The responses received will help the GRPUC gauge the level of customer interest in pursuing solar or biofuel opportunities. 

The Clean Revolution Is On, The Climate Group Blog
Today the clean energy revolution is upon us. This rapid transition is being driven by a wave of innovation that is creating jobs, increasing profitability and making our communities healthier. In less than a decade, the prices of solar and wind power have fallen 80% and 50%, respectively, to the point that they compete with fossil fuels in many parts of the country. In places like Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, onshore wind power can now be bought for less than 3 cents per kilowatt-hour — some of the cheapest power in the land.

SEIA launches national solar PV recycling program, Utility Dive
“Our goal is make the entire solar industry landfill-free,” said Tom Kimbis, SEIA’s interim president, to PVSolarReport. This sentiment to reach “zero waste to landfill” is growing in popularity across many other industries, including retail and food and beverage, due to its economic implications and consumers’ growing desire for sustainable products.

A new interactive web tool, Renewables.ninja allows you to run simulations of hourly power output from wind and solar PV power plants by clicking anywhere on the map or using the location search box, choosing your technology from the side menu, and hitting “Run”. You can also download ready-made datasets on Renewables.ninja’s downloads page. The app is in beta, and your feedback is welcome.

League of Women Voters starts co-op program to expand solar energy – with price break, too

By Mary Ellen Klas, Miami Herald

League of Women Voters

TALLAHASSEE – Saying they face a “David and Goliath” fight against Florida’s utility giants in trying to bring rooftop solar energy collection to the Sunshine State, the League of Women Voters on Thursday announced the creation of a new organization that will form “solar co-ops” around the state to obtain bulk discounts for community-based solar installations. The group, FL SUN, is a non-profit established to solicit competitive bids from local installers and provide individualized proposals for groups of homeowners that reflect the group discounts.
Read more here:

Photo: Martin Cabrera and Joseph Molina of Cutler Bay Solar Solutions install solar panels at a home in South Miami-Dade in 2015. Credit: Al Diaz, Miami Herald

Buying in bulk: Group effort helps bring down solar costs, by Thomas Content, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Illinois group-buy program aims to boost renewable energy

By David Proeber, The Pantagraph

A large solar system helps power a house on Ironwood Golf Course in north Normal.

A large solar system helps power a house on Ironwood Golf Course in north Normal.

Group-buy programs like Solar Bloomington-Normal allow local residents and businesses to pool their resources and install individual solar energy systems at lower bulk rates. StraightUp Solar estimates the average Twin City homeowner could save 20 percent in upfront costs through Solar Bloomington-Normal.

While the initial investment is still expensive — an example from StraightUp Solar estimated the cost of a 5-kilowatt home system at $15,950 after the group-buy discount — customers can receive not only free energy, but tax credits and incentives that reduce the long-term cost of the system. After those credits, the same home system falls to an estimated $5,250.  Read more.

How much does a PV system currently cost in Nebraska?
Cheaper by the Dozen: Solar Group Purchase Programs, American Solar Energy Society
Group solar purchases helping Midwest cities cut carbon emissions, Midwest Energy News
Milwaukee’s solar group-buying program is expanding, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Solar Bulk Purchases, Community Power Network

Madison Gas & Electric plans ‘community solar’ pilot project in Middleton

By Thomas Content, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

An example of a community solar project: Convergence Energy Solar Farm in Walworth County, Wisconsin.

An example of a community solar project: Convergence Energy Solar Farm in Walworth County, Wisconsin.

Continuing a string of announcements this year regarding “community solar” projects in Wisconsin, a Madison utility has rolled out its plans for a community solar pilot initiative in the city of Middleton . . . Under the utility’s proposal, a typical utility customer who buys a 1 kilowatt share of the project would pay a onetime fee of $189 and then pay $155.50 per year, with that rate fixed for 25 years.

Read the entire article here.