Tag Archives: rooftop solar

Coal-rich Indiana is going solar. It’s not easy

By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News

“Solar is like a private CRP [Conservation Reserve Program]. Instead of the government
paying farmers, we pay the farmers.” – Nick Cohen, CEO of Global Energy

The coal mines dotting Indiana’s southwest corner are quickly giving way to a new source of energy that will help power Hoosier State factories and farms in the decades to come — the sun. Solar projects totaling 22,000 megawatts of capacity —- 50% greater than the sum of Indiana’s coal fleet — are seeking to plug into the two wholesale power grids that cover parts of the state, PJM Interconnection and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator.

The boom is part of a broader trend playing out across the Midwest and the United States as solar costs continue to fall. But coal-reliant Indiana has emerged as an unlikely solar hot spot, with more new capacity seeking interconnection than California last year, according to a recent analysis by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In fact, only Texas and Arizona saw more gigawatts of solar capacity added to interconnection queues. Read more here.

Additional information on land use and utility-scale solar is available here: 

SOLAR ENERGY INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION

 

 

 


Siting, Permitting & Land Use for Utility-Scale Solar
There is tremendous solar power generation potential in the United States. In five minutes, enough sunlight shines on the continental U.S. to satisfy our electricity demand for an entire month. Research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that the entire U.S. could be powered by utility-scale solar occupying just 0.6% of the nation’s land mass.

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT – U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Solar Energy: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
The BLM manages millions of acres of public lands with excellent solar energy potential. Climate concerns, state renewable energy portfolio standards, investment tax credits, technological advances, and decreasing costs of equipment are drivers of interest to site utility-scale solar energy development on public lands. As a result, we expect that private companies will continue to have an interest in developing this resource on public lands. In fact, we have been approving solar projects since 2010.

ThSolar Energy Environmental Mapper is an online mapping tool that allows users to overlay solar energy potential on BLM-administered lands with other natural, social, and cultural resource data. BLM staff and stakeholders can use the tool to identify areas with high solar energy potential and low resource conflict that may be appropriate for solar energy development.

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY 

 

 


Six Pathways to a Clean and Green Renewable Energy Buildout

Renewable energy infrastructure requires a lot of landespecially onshore wind and large-scale solar installations, which we will need to meet our ambitious climate goals. Siting renewable energy in areas that support wildlife habitat not only harms nature but also increases the potential for project conflicts that could slow the buildout—a prospect we cannot afford. Building renewables on natural lands can also undermine climate progress by converting forests and other areas that store carbon and serve as natural climate solutions.

Fortunately, there is plenty of previously developed land that can be used to meet our clean energy needsat least 17 times the amount of land needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals. But accelerating the buildout on these lands requires taking pro-active measures now.

Clean & Green: Pathways for Promoting Renewable Energy, a new report from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), is a call to action that highlights six ways for governments, corporations and lenders to promote a clean and green renewable energy buildout.

Previously Posted

Initial solar contract inked for OPPD’s Power with Purpose

The Wire, OPPD Blog

The future is growing brighter as OPPD takes its first steps to acquire up to 600 megawatts of utility-scale solar generation. OPPD recently signed a contract with Community Energy, Inc. for an 81-megawatt solar array spread across approximately 500 leased acres south of Yutan, Neb., in eastern Saunders County. When complete, this facility will be capable of powering around 14,000 average homes. The facility’s name: Platteview Solar.

[Power with Purpose-Solar, available here], features background information, Frequently Asked Questions and a forum where anyone can ask a specific question not addressed in the FAQ. OPPD is striving to be a net-zero carbon utility by 2050, and the commitment to renewable energy heralded by this announcement is one important step on that pathway to decarbonization. Read more here.

ROOFTOP SOLAR

Inside Clean Energy: The Coast-to-Coast Battle Over Rooftop Solar, by Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

Last year, all but four states—Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota—took some kind of action on rooftop solar policy, according to the most recent “50 States of Solar” report from the NC Clean Energy Technology Center. (Autumn Proudlove, senior policy program director at the center, was one of the people I spoke with about what’s happening in states right now). There are big differences in the states’ approaches, but what they share is an awareness that regulations need to change to be ready for a market in which rooftop solar is much more common.

Yet, regulators only control part of the financial equation. The costs of solar panels continue to decrease. And customers are increasingly buying solar along with battery storage, which means people are storing excess electricity for their own use rather than sending it back to the grid, reducing the importance of net metering policy.

Previously Posted

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN NEWS

A student-led competition held as part of the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues is helping expand sustainability planning at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Offered as part of the forum’s 2020-21 focus on environmental issues, the E.N. Thompson Forum Sustainability Idea Award challenged Recognized Student Organizations to plan, develop or execute a “green” project that aligns with the university’s new sustainability and resilience master plan. The contest featured four themes: transportation, energy, waste management, and sustainability and COVID-19. “It was incredible to see a broad spectrum of student groups — more than 12 — participating and outlining a variety of interesting topics,” said Prabhakar Shrestha, sustainability coordinator for the university and a judge for the competition.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln: “Big Red Sat-1” is an education mission with a primary goal of engaging and developing future aerospace engineers by contributing to the development of critical technologies to improve solar power generation. The technology demonstration secondary focus is to take proven perovskite panel technology at technical readiness level (TRL)-5 to TRL-6 by testing the panels in space using flight heritage information and systems to maximize potential success. Testing should provide answers on handling and the life of perovskites, as well as comparative day/night performance with silicon in a space environment.

OTHER MIDWEST STATES IN THE NEWS

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) has announced the 10 teams selected to advance to the final stage of the $3 million American-Made Solar Prize Round 4. The finalists were selected from 20 teams that presented their solar innovations to a panel of expert judges at a demonstration day hosted by Carnegie Mellon University’s Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

Two Midwest teams are among the finalists:

Cool Tech Solar (North Oaks, MN): A nano-textured heatsink material for the back of a solar panel to increase the surface area, helping dissipate heat and lowering the panel’s peak operating temperature.

Rocking Solar (Monroe, OH): A solar panel tracker system that tracks the sun using a rocking motion, reducing the weight of a photovoltaic system and the number of roof penetrations required for installation.

Read the SETO newsletters for updates on the next demo day, and learn more about thAmerican-Made Solar Prize.

VOLKSWAGEN DIESEL EMISSION MITIGATION PROGRAM

Inside Clean Energy: The Energy Storage Boom Has Arrived

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

Just five years ago, a 20 megawatt battery storage project was considered big. Now a 300 megawatt project, the largest in the world, has gone online in California, and even bigger battery projects are coming in 2021. Battery storage has entered a new phase of rapid growth, brought on by falling prices for lithium-ion batteries and rising demand for electricity sources that can fill in the gaps in a grid that is increasingly fueled by wind and solar. High demand is leading to a boom in investment in battery companies, and fevered speculation about new kinds of batteries. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Expanding Local Solar And Storage Could Save Ratepayers Nearly A Half A Trillion Dollars

Local Solar For All Coalition News Release, PR Newswire

Developing 247 GW of local rooftop and community solar and 160 GW of local energy storage is the most cost-effective way for the United States to transition to a clean energy system by 2050, while saving consumers up to $473 billion on electricity. This is enough local solar to power over 25% of all U.S. homes. These are among the core findings of a new report, “Why Local Solar for All Costs Less: A New Roadmap for the Lowest Cost Grid,” issued by Vote Solar, the Coalition for Community Solar Access and Sunrun.

Using a state-of-the art grid planning tool developed by Vibrant Clean Energy, the analysis goes beyond the limitations of traditional grid planning by leveraging big data and advanced analytics to produce a more complete and inclusive picture of the direct costs and benefits of resources on the grid. Read more here.

More information and access to the full report can be found here.

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Study Affirms Solar Can Lead Transition to Clean Electric Grid
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following is a comment by Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, on the study by Vibrant Clean Energy called Local Solar For All Costs Less: A New Roadmap for the Lowest Cost Grid:

‘Game-Changer’ FERC Order Opens Up Wholesale Grid Markets to Distributed Energy Resources

By Jeff St. John, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) passed Order 2222, which is intended to allow small distributed energy resources, like rooftop solar and behind-the-meter batteries, to participate in energy, capacity, and ancillary services markets operated by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs).

RTOs and ISOs oversee the transmission grids serving electricity to two-thirds of the country. Much of the impact of the order will depend on how market rules are designed to incorporate distributed resources, which are predicted to reach 380 gigawatts of installed capacity across the country’s grid by 2025. RTOs and ISOs will have 270 days to file implementation compliance plans after Order 2222 goes into effect in 60 days. Read more here.

MORE ON ORDER 2222

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SOLSMART

Since 2016, SolSmart has provided in-depth technical assistance to hundreds of local governments nationwide and has awarded over 370 cities, towns, counties, and regional organizations with SolSmart designations for their solar achievements. If you are interested in becoming a SolSmart community, click one of these links: 

Request A Consultation
Apply For Designation 

U.S. AIRPORTS ADOPTING SOLAR

CU Denver Researcher Analyzes the Use of Solar Energy at U.S. Airports, CU Denver News
By studying 488 public airports in the United States, University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs researcher Serena Kim, PhD, found that 20% of them have adopted solar photovoltaic (PV), commonly known as solar panels, over the last decade. Solar photovoltaic (PV) is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. 

NET-ZERO GLOBAL ECONOMY

Net Zero by 2050 Is Achievable, Affordable, and Will Improve Lives, Rocky Mountain Institute
A net-zero global economy is technically and economically possible by the middle of this century. The technologies and business solutions needed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero are already available or close to being brought to market. That is the encouraging conclusion of the latest report, Making Mission Possible, by the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC).

What The Post-Pandemic World Needs Is A Solar Energy Revolution

By Enrique Dans, Senior Contributor, Forbes

One technology above all has exceeded all expectations over recent years: solar energy. Near-exponential growth has lowered manufacturing costs and efficiency of the solar cells to the point that building a solar energy generation plant is now significantly cheaper than its fossil fuel equivalent, or even maintaining an existing unit — and most importantly, leave a negligible carbon footprint

Today, virtually everything that most people think they know about solar energy, about the days when only subsidies made solar installations profitable and some generated power with diesel engines at night, is completely obsolete and outdated. The solar energy landscape has changed so much in terms of costs and performance that it requires completely new analyses. Read more here.

ON-FARM SOLAR 

Indiana farmers see benefits in on-farm solar power for grain storage systems, contributed by Emergent Solar Energy, PV Magazine. “Every morning a potential energy source rises over the horizon to the east of my farm,” said Will Harlow, owner of the farm. “It seemed a waste to not harness this daily free energy source, erasing some of what I take from the grid. The solar components’ being made in the United States was also important to me. I hope if any positive comes from this pandemic, it is that we must do what we can to get production of all kinds returning to America.”

Links to resources for solar-powering farm operations & farmhouses: 

 

 

 


Nebraskans for Solar

Department of Energy: Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NET METERING

FERC Might Rewrite Solar Net Metering. Here’s What That Could Mean, by Ben Huffman and Marc Palmer, Greentech Media

On April 14, the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) petitioned FERC to assert jurisdiction over any on-site, behind-the-meter generation that injects energy onto the grid. If FERC asserts such jurisdiction in the manner requested by NERA, individual states could lose control over their solar net-metering policies — with myriad implications for the U.S. distributed solar market. FERC is currently accepting comments and intervenors from individuals and organizations. The period to comment or intervene ends June 15, 2020.

Ben Huffman is a partner with law firm Sheppard Mullin’s energy, infrastructure and project finance team. Marc Palmer is managing director of New Resource Solutions, a clean energy project facilitator.

 UC’S ESG INVESTMENT POLICY 

UC’s investment portfolios fossil free; clean energy investments top $1 billion, University of California Press Room

To date, UC’s new energy investments have developed and accelerated 9.2 gigawatts (GWs) of wind and solar capacity across all the platforms in which it has invested. Directly attributable to UC Investments’ share of the platforms is 1.47 GWs of wind and solar energy capacity in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and India. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 1 gigawatt of power is comparable to the energy produced by 3.125 million photovoltaic panels or 412 utility-scale wind turbines.

Report examines battery storage, renewable premiums

By Peter Maloney, American Pubic Power Association

Pairing wind and solar power with battery storage can result in cost savings and fetch premiums in wholesale power markets, but those premiums could potentially be higher for generation and storage facilities that are not co-located, according to a recent report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The paper, “Motivations and options for deploying hybrid generator-plus-battery projects within the bulk power system,” examined utility scale hybrid generator-plus-battery applications that use variable renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power sited in wholesale power markets. Read more here.

TRI-STATE

Western Slope utility serving Delta, Montrose settles on $136.5 million fee to break up with Tri-State, by Mark Jaffe, The Colorado Sun. The Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) has since 2016 been sparring over renewable energy with Tri-State, a wholesale power production company serving 43 member electric cooperatives in Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

ROOFTOP SOLAR

Why 30 Million Solar Rooftops Should Be In the Next Relief Bill, by John Farrell, Institute for Local Self-Reliance. As the federal government looks to a second (or even third) stimulus bill, Congress should consider a huge opportunity to pay Americans that pays back: solar rooftops. By investing $450 billion in rooftop solar, the federal government could slash energy bills for Americans, cut air pollution, and create over 3.7 million jobs. The government could also get paid back.  

COMMUNITY SOLAR

OFFSHORE WIND

Iberdrola Plans to Take Top Spot in US Offshore Wind (and Keep It), Greentech Media
Spanish utility group Iberdrola wants to be the biggest player in the U.S. offshore wind market, but it will need to go through early market front-runner [Denmark’s] Ørsted to get there.

Commentary: Virginia Clean Economy Act models a just clean energy transformation

Contributed by Maggie Clark and Rachel Smucker / Solar Energy
Industries Association, Energy News Network 

The Virginia Statehouse in Richmond.

Legislation just passed by the General Assembly, the Virginia Clean Economy Act, represents our best chance this year to ensure reliable and affordable electricity, create jobs and grow our economy, turn back the tide of climate change and put Virginia on a path toward an equitable transition to a clean energy economy.

This legislation would turn Gov. Ralph Northam’s clean energy goals into law, and chart the course for Virginia to get there. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), only about 1% of Virginia’s electricity comes from solar. This ambitious plan would require Virginia to become zero carbon by the middle of this century. The Clean Economy Act takes a major step forward on equity by directly empowering consumers with access to rooftop. It is a bold step, and it is needed now. Read more here.

Photo by Ron Cogswell / Flickr / Creative Commons

RELATED SEIA NEWS RELEASES

MORE ON VIRGINIA’S CLEAN ECONOMY ACT

  • Virginia passes historic commitment to 100 percent clean energy by 2045, Environment America News Release. Susan Rakov, Environment America’s Clean Energy Program chair, released the following statement: “In state after state and city after city, people are demanding a new approach to America’s energy future, and today Virginia’s General Assembly said, ‘We hear you!’ As a result of campaigns across the country, one out of three Americans now live in a city or state that has made a commitment to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. Environment America is proud to have played a part in those campaigns, and we look forward to the next wave. Congratulations to Virginia — it’s a great day to take a big step toward a better world.”
  • Virginia Mandates 100% Clean Power by 2045Greentech Media
    The Clean Economy Act will drive utility Dominion to procure gigawatts of solar, offshore wind and energy storage.

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES

SOLSMART

SolSmart program helps turn around solar permits in one day, Solar Power World
“SolSmart is mainly a solar soft cost reduction program, and it’s important, because about 64% of all solar costs come from soft costs. And these are costs associated with all the non-hardware parts of going solar. So, permitting fees, labor, zoning issues, things like that,” said Zach Greene, program director and SolSmart leader at The Solar Foundation. “By working with these local governments, by educating them, by providing them with consulting-type resources, we’re really able to help them reduce those costs at the local level and to really try to expand a local solar market.”

Previously Posted

100% BIODEGRADABLE & REGENERATIVE TIRES FOR ELECTRIC CARS

Goodyear develops self-regenerating ‘spider-silk’ tires for electric cars, BusinessGreen
Goodyear has unveiled designs for new ultra-durable tires made from biodegradable materials, which it claims can both “self-regenerate” and adapt to changing road conditions, in a move aimed at helping electric car drivers cut down on maintenance costs and waste.

Court OKs controversial power line despite Missouri landowners’ objections

By Kurt Erickson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In a ruling issued Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District rejected claims that the Public Service Commission had erred in giving a green light in March to the construction of the Grain Belt Express Transmission line. The 19-page ruling is the latest victory for backers of the project, which aims to bring Kansas wind energy east to Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
Read more here.

Website: Grain Belt Express Transmission Line

ADDITIONAL MIDWEST NEWS & OPINION

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

NATIONAL NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE

WORKFORCE DIVERSITY

The business case for gender equality in solarPV Magazine
The writer, Lara Anton, is responsible for the client management of Samuel Knight International’s renewable energy portfolio.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

8 schools that went solar in 2019, by Kelsey Misbrenner, Solar Power World
Solar installations powering K-12 schools are on the rise. Creative financing through PPAs and grants help make these nonprofit installations a possibility, and the benefits are vast: Schools save money on electricity, and students get firsthand experience with solar energy.

Earth to Congress: You Can Deliver a Climate Win Today

By Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA President & CEO, Greentech Media

As politicians eye 2020 elections, they’re missing a glaring opportunity to deliver a win on climate for all Americans. While a major climate bill seems unlikely in advance of the 2020 election, Congress doesn’t need to wait to take action on our energy future. We already have proven, successful policies on the books that can help.

Earlier this summer, more than 900 solar companies sent a letter to Congress calling for an extension of the 30 percent solar investment tax credit (ITC). Without politically viable options on the table to address climate change, the ITC is the strongest policy we have to create clean energy jobs, invest billions into our economy, and power our country with carbon-free and reliable solar energy. We know the ITC works — it’s a proven bipartisan tax policy that helped create the solar industry we know today. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FEATURED NEBRASKA SOLAR EXAMPLE

Henry Doorly Zoo Solar Canopy 

Morrissey Engineering worked to develop and engineer this project, and SWT Energy was the prime installer.

Located at the Africa Exhibit Skyfari lift landing, this project used bifacial panels that are glass on top and bottom and can actually convert a portion of bottom-side light reflected off surrounding surfaces into additional power. The panels have a 300-watt rating without the boost from the underside, and there are 80 in total.

REGIONAL NEWS

Tarkio Tech’s opening set for January, KMAland
Officials say Tarkio Tech will help fill the much-needed vacancies in regional industries, and provide critical technical and educational opportunities to rural students in northwest Missouri, southwest Iowa, southeast Nebraska and northeast Kansas. Back in March, Interim President John Davis told KMA News the school hopes to grow relationships with area contractors.

JOBS

Sustainable Business’ Jobs Listings