Tag Archives: Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

Climate Crisis Catches Power Companies Unprepared

By Brad Plumer and Ivan Penn, New York Times

The phone call to the Eugene Water & Electric Board was startling. A group of homeowners, fearing a storm could knock down nearby power lines and ignite wildfires, was asking the Oregon utility to turn off their electricity. “I about fell out of my chair,” said Rodney Price, the utility’s assistant general manager, of the people who were voluntarily asking to live in the dark in September, during one of the worst fire seasons Oregon had ever seen. It was a sign of growing angst, he said. “We’re seeing more and more widespread impacts of climate change. It’s clear it’s impacting how we do our business.” Across the United States, power companies are scrambling to keep up with a barrage of extreme weather from a rapidly warming climate. Continue reading here.

Photo: Smoke from the Dixie Fire near a Pacific Gas & Electric power station in California this month. Credit: John G. Mabanglo/EPA

States With Climate Action Plans, Center For Climate & Energy Solutions

CLIMATE RISK 

INDIANA

As Indiana coal plants close, advocates say gas power should not replace them, by Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

As it retires a coal-fired power plant, CenterPoint Energy is pushing to build a smaller gas plant than one that was rejected two years ago by Indiana regulators. Consumer and environmental groups still say it’s unnecessary. “After the proposed gas combustion turbines are built, they propose to run them 2% to 10% of the time,” said Sameer Doshi, senior attorney in Earthjustice’s coal program, which is representing Citizens Action Coalition in state and federal proceedings around CenterPoint’s proposal. “Whereas customers would be billed for the entire construction cost of the plant as well as the capital cost of the new pipeline. We intend to show a combination of market purchases, demand response, and increased renewables deployment with storage would be able to fill in the gaps” left by the retiring coal plants. 

COLORADO

Social cost of methane changes the equation for Colorado utility policy, by Allen Best, Energy News Network

Colorado is believed to be the first state in the nation to apply the social cost of methane to a broad range of regulatory decisions. A batch of new laws are expected to dramatically improve the case for building energy conservation. The social cost of methane emissions was set most recently at $1,756 per short ton by the U.S. Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, compared to $68 for carbon dioxide. Both metrics estimate the economic damages of releasing emissions into the atmosphere.

Methane Leaks

COLORADO SOLAR GROUP PURCHASE CAMPAIGN

Local ‘Solarize’ campaign boosts Garfield County solar energy investment, Post Independent
The recent Solarize Garfield County campaign generated $2.8 million in rooftop solar and battery investment, added nearly a megawatt of renewable energy to the grid and helped county residents bank $270,000 in rebates, according to recent figures released by Carbondale-based Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER).

FEATURED AGRIVOLTAICS RESEARCH

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity Sprout, National Renewable Energy Laboratory 

To better understand the benefits of—and barriers to—low-impact solar development, the Innovative Site Preparation and Impact Reductions on the Environment (InSPIRE) project brings together researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory, universities, local governments, environmental and clean energy groups, and industry partners. The project is funded by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

USDA: Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants in Nebraska

PV RECYCLING

Emerging solar panel recycling market ripe with opportunity, but barriers remain, Waste Dive
The U.S. is likely to see significant volumes of end-of-life panels, creating opportunities for safe, sustainable recycling or reuse. Some states are looking at product stewardship to avoid disposal.

SEIA National PV Recycling Program

TESLA NEWS

Tesla Installed 85 Megawatts Of Rooftop Solar Power In 2nd Quarter, But That Doesn’t Actually Show Demand, by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

In some places in the US, the permitting process can take just a few days less than forever. In many other places in the US, it can take weeks or months (as in, several months). There are not many places where it happens in the course of a week. Europe and Australia don’t seem to have a permitting problem anything like this. Permits are quick and easy. The US, for some reason, is slow to adapt. One promising initiative is the new SolarAPP+ initiative. It is helping to streamline the solar permitting process in places around the country. As simple as it sounds, this is one of the most exciting developments in the US solar industry in years.

Additional Recommended ReadingTesla will open its charging network to all EV brands

Senate advances bipartisan infrastructure bill in procedural vote

By Jacob Pramuk, CNBC

The Senate voted Friday to move forward with a bipartisan infrastructure bill, as Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushes to pass it as soon as next week. The vote was delayed briefly as senators reportedly worked out an issue related to broadband. The final text of the legislation has yet to be released. The procedural measure needed only a simple majority to pass. The final tally was 66 votes in favor, and 28 against. Continue reading here.

Related Reading

AMERICAN CLEAN POWER ASSOCIATION REPORT

First Clean Power Annual report shows record U.S. renewables growth and investment
WASHINGTON DC, July 29, 2021 – The American Clean Power Association today released its first Clean Power Annual report, which showed wind, utility solar, and battery storage power capacity in the U.S. topped 170 gigawatts (GW), following a record 26 GW of clean energy projects coming online in 2020.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

USDA REAP FUNDING NOTICES

  • Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audit & Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants (July 26, 2021) Federal Register Notice
  • Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants (July 26, 2021) Federal Register Notice

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 

Lower Battery Costs, High Value of Backup Power Drive Distributed Storage Deployment
Fourth Report in NREL’s Storage Futures Study Uses Distributed Generation Market Demand Model To Estimate Behind-the-Meter Storage Capacity, Identify Drivers of Customer Adoption. Several findings in the study demonstrate that PV and batteries make an economical pairing. Because an average PV-plus-battery storage system is larger than PV-only configurations, battery storage increases the PV capacity and the system’s economic value.

Read the Report: Distributed Solar and Storage Outlook: Methodology and Scenarios.

Upcoming Webinar: NREL’s Storage Futures Study team will host a free public webinar on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, from 10 to 11 am CT. Register here.

BATTERY MATERIALS RECYCLING

Former Tesla CTO’s battery materials recycling company announces US$700 million+ investment, Energy Storage News

Former Tesla battery guru JB Straubel’s materials recycling company Redwood Materials has attracted more than US$700 million in investment. Redwood, which is currently developing processes to produce battery materials that can be resold into the supply chain, has partnerships in place with the likes of Panasonic, Envision AESC and Amazon. The company pledges to recycle any device with a lithium-ion battery including phones, laptops and power tools, although a major focus is being placed on electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Supply Chain Woes Call Attention to Solar Manufacturing Possibilities

SEIA Blog

Recently, Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) introduced the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act alongside Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). This commonsense legislation will provide tax credits for American manufacturers at every stage of the solar manufacturing supply chain, from polysilicon to solar cells to fully assembled solar modules.

In support of Senator Ossoff’s proposal and the effort to reach 100 GW of annual renewable energy manufacturing capacity, SEIA announced a new target of 50 GW of annual domestic production capacity by 2030, a ten-fold increase from where we are today.This ambitious goal aims to dramatically ramp up American solar manufacturing capacity which would cover all key elements of a solar energy system, including polysilicon, ingots and wafers, cells and modules, racking and trackers and inverters. Read more here.

Related Reading

ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE ACT

INFRASTRUCTURE BILL

Climate change is no longer other worldly, and inaction is no longer an option, USA Today Editorial Our View: Heat dome killed hundreds in the Pacific Northwest as global temperatures rise. Biden infrastructure bill is a good start to protect America.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

BACKLOGGED TRANSMISSION QUEUES 

Gridlock in transmission queues spotlights need for FERC action on planning, Utility Dive
Generation interconnects to transmission through queues managed by the seven regional transmission and independent system operators (RTO/ISOs) and utility transmission owners. And capacity in those queues “is growing year-over-year,” according to an analysis by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) of an estimated 85% of U.S. electricity load at the end of 2020.

Related Reading

Hot Solar Summer: Building Back Better with Clean Energy Infrastructure

Solar Energy Industries Association 

America is facing an unprecedented opportunity to enact bold federal policies to decarbonize our electric grid and generate hundreds of thousands of quality clean energy jobs. To achieve this, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is mobilizing a nationwide campaign urging leaders in Washington to act. Hot Solar Summer will help to keep pressure on lawmakers to meet this moment and accelerate an equitable transition to a clean energy economy. Read more here.

Join the Hot Solar Summer campaign and learn how your company or organizations can get involved at www.seia.org/AmericanJobs.

Previously Posted: 100+ Organizations Urge Congress to Act on a 10-year Investment Tax Credit (ITC) extension

SITING SOLAR ON CONTAMINATED LAND

How ‘unusable’ capped landfill can gain a second life as a solar farm,  by Michelle Lewis, Electrek

Putting solar farms on landfill is a great way to generate clean energy on what were previously considered unusable sites, but there are some special factors to consider. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) points out that “it is important to think about PV projects on landfills in terms of an integrated system, not as separate landfill and PV systems.”

When it comes to making solar work on landfill, Gretchen Dolson, renewable energy lead for HDR, an architectural, engineering and consulting firm based in Omaha, Nebraska [via Waste 360], says: Always begin with the end in mind and know it’s never too early to plan and think of alternate uses, regardless of the type of waste facility. Solar is often viable. But it depends on how the landfill was designed to function and how it was closed. (Pixabay Photo)

Links to Resources

  • RE-Powering America’s Land
    RE-Powering America’s Land is an EPA initiative that encourages renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites when such development is aligned with the community’s vision for the site.
  • EPA’s Brownfields Program provides grants and technical assistance to communities, states, tribes and others to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties. To learn about EPA’s broader efforts to put previously contaminated properties back into productive use, read about the Land Revitalization Program.
  • Brownfields and Land Revitalization in Region 7
    EPA Region 7 manages  Brownfields and Land Revitalization Programs in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. On this page you will find information specific to Region 7’s Brownfields and Land Revitalization activities. Visit the national Brownfields Program and Land Revitalization Program websites for more information about these programs’ competitive grants.
  • Brownfields: FAQs, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 

Can Solar Farms Help Save Bees?

By Brianna Barbu, Discover Magazine

Minnesota was the first state to adopt voluntary pollinator-friendly solar farm standards in 2016, with a scorecard laying out benchmarks for biodiversity, native plants and blooming seasons. States across the country followed suit, from Vermont to South Carolina to California. The standards are typically aimed at solar projects that are larger than one acre and tied to the electrical grid. Projects that earn enough points on their state’s scorecard can market themselves as pollinator-friendly.

More and more cities, universities and even companies like Clif Bar and Bank of America want to buy their solar energy from verified pollinator-friendly sources, says Rob Davis, the Director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy, a Minnesota-based clean energy think tank. “it’s increasingly helpful for developers to be able to describe their projects as pollinator friendly, and then base those claims on standards.” Continue Reading Here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

The Infrastructure Bill & Pension Funds – A $3 Trillion Action Item

Contributed by Norman Anderson, Forbes

As the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure initiative moves forward, the talk is of spending rather than of long-term, strategic, 30-40 year investment. It’s a question of focus. The political discussion is also leaving an important tool on the sidelines — at least half of the spend under discussion lies in the traditional domain of private investment — renewable energy, high voltage electricity transmission, broadband, 5G and even social infrastructure are solid private investment opportunities. Pension funds link these two issues. By my conservative calculation, we could easily add $1 trillion – or more – of disciplined capital to long-term infrastructure investment by bringing institutional investors into high priority projects. Read more here.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SEIA NEWS RELEASES

NEBRASKA NEWS

  • Nelnet Renewable Energy and Six Co-Investors Complete $11.9 Million Solar Tax Equity Investment in the Northeast, Nelnet Renewable Energy News Release, PR Newswire
    According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), “The solar investment tax credit is one of the most important federal policy mechanisms to support the growth of solar energy in the United States. Since the tax credit was enacted in 2006, the U.S. solar industry has grown by more than 10,000% – creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and investing billions of dollars in the U.S. economy in the process.” 
  • Aurora hosts ribbon cutting for new electric vehicle charging station, NPPD News Release
    Aurora, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District will partner with the city of Aurora for a ribbon cutting event on Friday, June 25 at 3 p.m. The ribbon cutting kicks off the availability of Aurora’s first ChargePoint DC fast charger charging station, located downtown on the corner of 12th and N Street.

ENERGY SAVING TIPS FROM OUR LARGEST UTILITIES

U.S. Solar Market Eclipses 100 Gigawatts

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release
June 15, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. and HOUSTON, TX — The U.S. solar market surpassed 100 gigawatts (GWdc) of installed electric generating capacity, doubling the size of the industry over the last 3.5 years, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Q2 2021 report, released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie. Solar had a record-setting Q1 2021 and accounted for 58% of all new electric capacity additions in the United States. Renewable energy accounted for nearly 100% of all new electric capacity in Q1. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTORS & DEVELOPERS

Confidence Among Renewable Energy Investors at an All-Time High: Report, Environment+Energy Leader

A new analysis released recently by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) finds that confidence among both renewable energy investors and developers is at an all-time high. The report, “Expectations for Renewable Energy Finance in 2021-2024,” presents the results of a new survey of large financial institutions and renewable energy development companies on their confidence in the sector in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new report also tracks progress on the $1T 2030: American Renewable Investment Goal, an initiative ACORE launched in 2018 to help secure $1 trillion in private sector investment in renewable energy and enabling grid technologies by 2030.

Additional Recommended Reading
ACORE insight: The federal agenda for energy and climate, PV Magazine

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA NEWS

Successful bond sale yields $400 million for university building maintenance projects

The sale – the largest issuance of new bonds in NU history – was the first transaction after the passage of LB384, a plan championed by Sen. John Stinner of Gering to extend through 2062 a state-university partnership on deferred maintenance. The Legislature and Gov. Pete Ricketts’ approval of the bill this session allowed the university to capitalize on current historically low interest rates, resulting in a 2.99 percent rate for funds with an average lifespan of 35 years. Chancellors have developed initial lists of priority projects to be addressed with the new $400 million in bond proceeds. Notably, one-quarter of the proceeds – $100 million – will be used for energy efficiency or other “green” projects, reflecting a system-wide commitment to sustainability.

LB384: Provide for and change provisions related to transfers of funds and funding for university and state college facilities, create and change permitted uses of funds, and create a grant program. 

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

Department of Natural Resources awarded grant for initiative to assess rare earth elements, critical minerals, The Missouri Times

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A partnership between the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the University of Kansas will receive $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to study the feasibility of recovering critical minerals from coal and associated strata in the Cherokee-Forest City Basin, which encompasses Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Osage Nation. The Department of Energy’s Carbon Ore, Rare Earth and Critical Minerals Initiative is a $19 million nationwide effort to assess rare earth elements and critical minerals in fossil fuel-producing areas.

Previously Posted: Statement About Coal & News Release On The Referenced DOE Grant

“Coal may contain as many as 76 of the 92 naturally occurring elements of the periodic table.”
SourceUnited States Geological Survey

DOE Awards $19 Million for Initiatives to Produce Rare Earth Elements and Critical MineralsDepartment of Energy News Release 

“The very same fossil fuel communities that have powered our nation for decades can be at the forefront of the clean energy economy by producing the critical minerals needed to build electric vehicles, wind turbines, and so much more,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm“By building clean energy products here at home, we’re securing the supply chain for the innovative solutions needed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – all while creating good-paying jobs in all parts of America.” 

Production of rare earth elements and critical minerals, which serve as key components to several clean energy applications such as magnets in wind turbines and batteries in electric and conventional vehicles, is a prime example of how DOE is supporting regional economic growth and job creation in regions traditionally home to the fossil fuel industry.

See Also: FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Outlines Key Resources to Invest in Coal and Power Plant Community Economic RevitalizationThe White House Briefing Room

Nebraska’s Solar, Wind, and Energy Storage Development: SEIA/ACP Data & Additional Resources

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranks Nebraska forty-seventh in the country in the number of megawatts of installed solar. The state generates enough solar energy to power about 9,000 homes. Nebraska’s solar industry is made up of 26 solar companies, employing 1,246 workers in manufacturing, installing/developing and “other” types of businesses.
Data Current Through: Q4 2020

SEIA’s Nebraska Solar Fact Sheet 

Additional Resources

  • Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy
    Projects Under Development: Utility Scale
    Bellwood: 174.5 MW
    Burt County: 250 MW
    Clay County: (Up-to) 305 MW
    Lincoln: 230 MW
    Pierce County: 443 MW
    Saunders County: 81 MW. “This is the first step towards OPPD’s plan to provide 600 megawatts of solar power.”
    Community-Scale Projects are also listed under this same subheading.
  • Community-Scale / Utility-Scale Solar, Nebraskans for Solar

The American Clean Power Association (ACP) ranks Nebraska twenty-second in the nation for the number of megawatts (2,550) of wind, solar, and energy storage capacity and eleventh in the percentage (23.76%) share of all electricity produced in our state that comes from those power plants. The state generates enough clean energy to power 703,000 homes.

Additional ACP Statistics

  • Capital invested in wind, solar, and energy storage projects in Nebraska: $4 billion
  • Clean power investments in local Nebraska communities, providing property, state, and local taxes in 2021: $26.7 million
  • Clean power projects provide extra income to farmers, ranchers, and other private landowners. In 2021, these drought-proof land lease payments totaled $4.6 million.

ACP’s Nebraska Clean Energy Fact Sheet, May 2021

Additional Resources

Incentives

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency/Nebraska

SEIA Amps Up Storage Advocacy

SEIA News Release, May 26, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is announcing a new venture to prioritize energy storage across policy advocacy, membership, research and events. The venture, called the Storage Advocacy Network, will be a formal branch of SEIA and serve as a national and state advocacy voice for energy storage.

A May 2021 report from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab showed that of all the energy generation projects in interconnection queues nationwide, solar is accounting for the majority of projects paired with energy storage. 6% of wind and natural gas projects in the queue have storage attached, while 34% of pending solar projects are paired with batteries. Read. more here.

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS 

Connecticut looks to join seven other US states in setting energy storage target
Connecticut’s Senate has passed a bill targeting the deployment of 1,000MW of energy storage by the end of 2030, which when signed into law by the state’s governor will make it the eighth state jurisdiction in the US so far to introduce either a target or mandate for energy storage.

Free software to assess value of energy storage and DERs from Sandia National Laboratories and EPRI. New software that helps businesses and utilities in the US to assess the value of energy storage has been launched by Sandia National Laboratories, while the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has launched its own platform for calculating the value of distributed energy resources (DERs). Both solutions are open-source and are being offered free of charge by the organizations.

UTILITY DIVE

Biden budget, infrastructure plan would create standalone storage tax credit
President Joe Biden’s $1.52 trillion budget request for Fiscal Year 2022 includes a policy making standalone energy storage projects eligible for the federal investment tax credit (ITC), a move that advocates say will unleash new capital for renewable energy. The budget request also included new spending on storage as part of the administration’s goal to decarbonize the energy sector by 2035. 

RENEWABLE ENERGY: The power struggle over tomorrow’s solar workers

By David Ferris, E&E News

If the Biden administration ends up creating solar jobs for hundreds of thousands of Americans, who will train the workers? What might at first seem an inconsequential question has become a Washington power struggle with consequences for President Biden’s energy agenda and job creation across rural America.

On one side are most of the companies that build rooftop solar and big solar farms. They are poised to create hundreds of thousands of jobs but have for the most part shunned union labor. On the other side are labor unions, which have Biden’s promise that tomorrow’s clean energy jobs belong to them. Continue reading here.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Sets 2030 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Target Aimed at Creating Good-Paying Union Jobs and Securing U.S. Leadership on Clean Energy Technologies, The White House Briefing Room

USDA NEWS RELEASE

USDA Announces New Initiative to Quantify Climate Benefits of Conservation Reserve Program

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced an initiative to quantify the climate benefits of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts. This multi-year effort will enable USDA to better target CRP toward climate outcomes and improve existing models and conservation planning tools while supporting USDA’s goal of putting American agriculture and forestry at the center of climate-smart solutions to address climate change.

USDA Conservation Reserve Program

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Opens Pacific Coast to New Jobs and Clean Energy Production with Offshore Wind Development

Today, the White House convened National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, and Under Secretary for Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl to announce an effort to advance areas for offshore wind off the northern and central coasts of California – opening up the Pacific Coast to its first commercial scale offshore clean energy projects. This significant milestone is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal to create thousands of good-paying, union jobs through the deployment of 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030. These initial areas for offshore wind development in the Pacific Ocean could bring up to 4.6 GW of clean energy to the grid, enough to power 1.6 million American homes.

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Invests $1 Billion To Protect Communities, Families, and Businesses Before Disaster Strikes