Tag Archives: Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

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:

Spurred By State Incentives, Solar Panel Farms Are Coming To Illinois

By Jim Meadows, Illinois Public Media

“The price of solar installations has come down about 70 percent over the course of the past several years,” said Andrew Barbeau, with the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, a group formed by backers of the Future Energy Jobs Act. Speaking at a news conference marking the 2nd anniversary of FEJA’s passage, Barbeau said “the deployment of solar and wind power in Illinois is only getting cheaper right now. Recent studies have shown that the fall in lifetime costs of these projects are now beating existing coal and gas plants that are already out there and deployed.” Read more here.

Photo: Solar panels at the University of Illinois solar farm along Windsor Avenue.
Credit: Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

MORE MIDWEST CLEAN ENERGY NEWS

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

GOOGLE’S GROWING INVESTMENTS IN RENEWABLES

OPPD fee hikes hurt low-income, low energy users and conservationists, OWH analysis confirms

By Aaron Sanderford, Omaha World-Herald
OPPD Infographic 

Conservationist Craig Moody, who joined the OPPD board after the vote on fee and rate changes, says he is concerned that OPPD is encouraging people to use more power instead of less, which he says is wrong. He said he would like OPPD to explore a tiered fee structure, one similar to what the Lincoln Electric System uses. Lincoln charges different fixed fees for customers based on how much power they use.

[Commenting on OPPD’s monthly fixed fee, which starting this month amounts to $360 per year, newly-elected board member Eric Williams stated]: “I think that all five of the new board members were pretty open during our campaigns that the high fixed fee structure is something that’s hurting a lot of people. We would like to take another look at it.” One option, he said, may be revisiting OPPD’s Strategic Directive 2 on rates this spring, to see whether the goal of being affordable is being met. Read the entire article here.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED INFORMATION

OPPD’S  justification for the fixed fee increase is included in the following article by Aaron Sanderford: OPPD board approves $1.18 billion budget
 [Monthly fixed fees] will increase to $30 a month in 2019, up from $10.25 in 2015. Utility officials have said the shift is needed as appliances and devices become more efficient and as more people start generating power at home, including by using solar panels.

In his latest article, Aaron Sanderford states that the fixed fee harms the poor and elders as well as conservationists, including “those who generate their own power.” The annual fixed fee, now $360, does create a barrier for rooftop solar development, as the amount itself, on top of the cost of a solar system, will put the option out of range for many household budgets. As OPPD also states, it increases the payback period for a solar system:

OPPD’s Rate Restructuring FAQs posted on the utility’s website:
FAQ #9:  I am considering installing solar panels and/or wind generation at my home. How would this affect me?
Answer: Because the fixed portion of the bill is increasing, customers who wish to install solar or wind to meet part of their energy needs would see an increase in the payback period associated with recovering their investment.

Those who have installed solar know that the PV systems on their rooftops benefit not only their own households and their neighbors’, but also OPPD in a number of widely-recognized ways. Six benefits of rooftop solar are excerpted HERE from the following source: Let’s Be Clear: Solar Energy Benefits Everyone, Solar Energy Industries Association

Many utilities across the nation have no fixed monthly fees, or they have rolled them back or are in the process of doing so:

Are regulators starting to rethink fixed charges?, Utility Dive
[In 2017], regulators only approved 6 out of 84 proposals for higher customer charges, suggesting regulators might be looking for “something better,” Proudlove told Utility Dive. Autumn Proudlove is senior manager of policy research at the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC).

Solar on schools advances with open source contracting

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine

With every new solar-on-schools contract more people learn how it’s done, share what they know, and make it easier for neighboring school districts to follow the same path. U.S. schools could host up to 30 gigawatts of solar. Read the entire article here.

Image Credit: Arlington Public Schools: Rooftop solar on an Arlington, Virginia school.

ALSO IN THE NEWS
A 13-year-old won $25,000 for a solar-panel invention that can locate the sun at any time, Business Insider

Georgia Hutchinson, from Woodside, California, took the top prize at the Broadcom Masters nationwide STEM competition for middle-school students. She is working on patenting her invention.
Photo Credit: Society for Science and the Public

SOLAR SCHOOLS RESOURCES

Generation 180

  • Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, written by The Solar Foundation, Generation 180 and Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Let’s Go Solar:
    School Toolkit
    Champion Toolkit
  • National Resources
  • State Resources Include Nebraska Solar Schools

OPPD board approves $1.18 billion budget

By Aaron Sanderford, Omaha World-Herald

[Monthly fixed fees] will increase to $30 a month in 2019, up from $10.25 in 2015. Utility officials have said the shift is needed as appliances and devices become more efficient and as more people start generating power at home, including by using solar panels. Read the entire article here.

Note: According to OPPD, a total of only about 100 customers have installed solar energy systems, to date. In a recent Omaha World-Herald article, OPPD management stated that it “had not yet determined how much more, if any, customers are paying for electricity because of the renewable energy the utility has already added to the mix . . . People should not draw a direct correlation between renewables and rising rates, said Javier Fernandez, the district’s chief financial officer.”

Those who take measures to make their homes more energy efficient or who install solar energy systems benefit not only their own households but also their neighbors’ and their local utility in a number of ways. Six benefits of rooftop solar are excerpted below from the following source: Let’s Be Clear: Solar Energy Benefits Everyone, Solar Energy Industries Association

Widely-recognized benefits of rooftop solar:

  • Rooftop solar reduces the need for utilities to build new transmission and distribution infrastructure.
  • In the long run, “fixed costs” are not truly “fixed”. The need for them ultimately depends on demand for electricity, and rooftop solar reduces that demand.
  • Expensive utility transformers can get overloaded on hot summer days when people are using more energy to cool their homes. Rooftop solar can reduce strain on the system on these days, which extends the life of expensive utility equipment and creates savings for everyone.
  • Avoided fuel hedging costs created by volatile fossil fuels like natural gas is another widely-recognized benefit of rooftop solar.
  • Avoided electricity losses from power plants that are located far away from cities is another benefit rooftop solar provides.
  • Solar and other renewables reduce the state’s reliance on expensive “peaker” generation plants that would drive prices higher if they had to run.

PUBLISHED BY THE OMAHA WORLD-HERALD

  • The fixed cost on your OPPD bill will now be $30 a month, up from $10.25 in 2015
    Outgoing board member Tom Barrett, who represents northeast Omaha, asked OPPD management whether they had done the research to verify their prediction that most customers would pay the same or less under the new rate structure. Management officials said they had not yet done so. 
  • OPPD’s board set to take an environmental tilt. What will it mean for electricity costs? 
    The costs of OPPD going further, faster on renewables and carbon are not yet clear. OPPD officials have said they had not yet determined how much more, if any, customers are paying for electricity because of the renewable energy the utility has already added to the mix . . . People should not draw a direct correlation between renewables and rising rates, said Javier Fernandez, the district’s chief financial officer.

Solar Tariffs Hold Back Q3 Installations, Scramble Project Timelines As Procurement Pipeline Booms

SEIA News Release

BOSTON, Mass. and WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Section 201 solar tariffs took a toll on utility-scale solar installations in the third quarter according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report for Q3 from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Wood Mackenzie Power & the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The residential market, meanwhile, continued to stabilize after a down 2017. Overall, the analysts expect 2018 growth to be flat.

For the first time since 2015, quarterly additions of utility-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) fell below 1 gigawatt (GW), highlighting the impact of the tariffs and the uncertainty surrounding them in late 2017 and early 2018. As a result, the U.S. solar market was down 15 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of the year, but the report notes that a strong project pipeline lies ahead. Continue reading here.

MORE U.S. RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS & AN OP-ED

GLOBAL NEWS

Expect 680 GW Of New Wind Energy In Next Decade, North American Wind Power

A new report from research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie predicts more than 680 GW of new wind power capacity to come online globally over the next decade.


ENERGY STORAGE

U.S. energy storage project pipeline hits 32.9 GW this year, Solar Power World. The pipeline for energy storage projects in the United States doubled this year, ballooning to 32.9 GW, according to the latest U.S. Energy Storage Monitor from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Energy Storage Association (ESA). While not all of the projects will come to fruition, this is a clear signpost that developers are bullish on energy storage. The report’s free executive summary is available here.

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS & A PODCAST

PROJECT AGGREGATION

NREL highlights DER aggregation project challenges, American Public Power Association. A new study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory identifies challenges and makes recommendations for utilities implementing distributed energy resource (DER) aggregation programs. For the study, Expanding PV Value: Lessons Learned from Utility-led Distributed Energy Resource Aggregation in the United States, NREL analyzed DER aggregation programs at five utilities.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

In Minneapolis-St. Paul, the days of diesel buses may be numbered, Midwest Energy News. Metro Transit officials have have committed to add as many as 125 electric buses over the next four years, after which they may stop buying diesel buses altogether. The multi-year strategy comes two months after clean energy advocates successfully pressured the agency to suspend the purchases of new diesel and hybrid buses so that it could study the potential for electrification.

MICROGRIDS

Homeland Security Calls for Microgrid-Driven Community Enclaves

A new Homeland Security report calls for creation of microgrid-driven community enclaves as part of a larger safety strategy should the United States experience a catastrophic power failure. Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage finds the nation outmatched by an outage lasting weeks or months.


LOCAL NEWS

NPPD eyes hydrogen as conversion fuel at coal-fired unit, American Public Power Association. NPPD plans to change Sheldon Unit 2 near Hallam, Nebraska, from coal to hydrogen between 2021 and 2023, according to John Swanson, NPPD’s generation strategies manager. The hydrogen will flow through a pipeline from a facility Monolith Materials is building across the road from the generating unit. to manufacture carbon black, which is used in tires, cell phones, computers, wiring, etc. The process to make carbon black produces hydrogen as a by-product.

SEIA Statement on the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), on today’s release of the 2018 Farm Bill conference report:

“We’re pleased to see continued bipartisan support for the Rural Energy for America Program, which enables the spread of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements throughout America’s heartland. This USDA program finances projects in every state, helping entrepreneurs in rural communities reduce their energy costs.

Solar power is an affordable, clean, job-producing solution that America’s farmers and small businesses can greatly benefit from. We urge Congress to pass this important legislation before the end of the year.”  – SEIA News Release

USDA Rural Energy for America Program
Nebraska USDA Rural Development

SEIA Hosts Day of Understanding to Address Bias and Advance Diversity and Inclusion

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) joins more than 150 organizations for the “Day of Understanding” hosted by CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion to address bias and increase understanding in the workplace and beyond. “Improving the diversity of the solar industry is one of my top priorities and I know to succeed I must start with my own organization,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. For more information on the Day of Understanding and how you can get involved by signing the “I Act On” pledge, go to www.ceoaction.com. Read the entire news release here.

Related

This Is Why I’m Pledging To Make The Solar Industry More Diverse

By Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA President and CEO
Published by Huffington Post

RESOURCES

Final hurdle cleared in California’s solar mandate for new homes

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

In the words of Kelly Knutsen, it’s officially official. Today the California Building Standards Commission unanimously voted to confirm a change to the state’s building code which will require that all newly built low-rise (three stories or less) residential units in the state either incorporate rooftop solar or hold a community solar contract, starting in 2020.

“These highly energy efficient and solar-powered homes will save families money on their energy bills from the moment they walk through their front door,” stated Knutsen, the director of technology advancement for the California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA). Knutsen also notes that this will include a solar plus storage option. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Lincoln, Nebraska-based GRNE Solar, “The Sun Haven.”

 

News Release: California Solar Building Requirement Crosses Finish Line, Solar Energy Industries Association

 

DERs coming whether or not markets are ready: experts

By Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association

Distributed energy resources are coming, even though the regulatory and legal structures in wholesale power markets are still evolving, experts said at an American Public Power Association conference in Charleston, S.C., earlier this week. “This is not just a matter of policy; it is a matter of consumer choice,” Jeff Dennis, general counsel for regulatory affairs at Advanced Energy Economy, said on Oct. 8 at the Association’s Legal and Regulatory Conference. “DERs are coming whether or not wholesale markets provide them the market opportunity, “but we think it is important to provide that market opportunity,” Dennis said. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

New Poll Shows Solar Is the Favored Form of Electricity Nationwide, SEIA News Release
76 percent of voters and 87 percent of opinion leaders think their utility should deploy more solar power.