Tag Archives: solar farms

Fertile Ground for Community Solar Gardens

By Kennedy Maize, Power Magazine

Community solar is on a roll. Bringing solar photovoltaic power to consumers who, for a variety of reasons, can’t put solar panels on their roofs—apartment dwellers don’t own roofs, many roofs aren’t oriented to catch the sun’s rays, or the roofs are obscured by natural and manmade obstacles—is gaining momentum and attracting investment.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports that 1,387-MW of community solar have been installed through 2018. SEIA says, “Shared renewable energy arrangements allow several energy customers to share the benefits of one local renewable energy power plant. The shared renewables project pools investments from multiple members of a community and provides power and/or financial benefits in return.” The terms community solar, solar gardens, and solar farms are interchangeable. Continue reading here.

News stories about Nebraska Community-Scale Solar projects and developers.

SoCore Energy Photo: Kearney’s 5.7-megawatt solar farm on 53 acres of the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing. It is currently the largest community-scale solar installation in Nebraska until Norfolk’s 8.5-MW array, coupled with a demonstration battery project, is built.

Also in the News
Council to consider letter of intent for solar project, York News-Times
The council will hear more information about the project during their regular meeting, Aug. 1, in the council chambers. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m., and as always, is open to the public.

Madison County establishes regulations for solar farms

Written by Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News

On Tuesday, the county board conducted a public hearing and approved a set of solar regulations that were first considered and approved by the Madison County Joint Planning Commission in recent months . . . Heather McWhorter, the planning and zoning administrator for Madison and Pierce counties, provided the county board with an update on how Madison County researched its regulations. Read more here.

Image Credit: World Atlas

Previously Posted


NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Farms finding advantage in going solar

By Kathleen Clark, My Journal Courier

It’s a site becoming more common throughout Illinois: solar panels. Some are on roofs, others on pedestals in open areas. These large panels are helping their owners be thrifty on their power bills as the state strives to become more dependent on renewable energy. Not only can they be found in residential areas, but also on commercial buildings and businesses.
Read more here.

Photo: The Hammond Farm, by Matt Ryerson, Lincoln Journal Star

See “Solar Examples” for photos and descriptions of the following Nebraska farms and ranches that are powered by solar energy:

Beller Farm Near Lindsay, Blakeman Ranch in Custer County, Brummond Farm, Deblauw Family Farm in Hartington, Family Farm Just Outside the Village of Craig, Family Farm in Minden, Greisen Farms in Platte Center, Hammond Farm, Jenkins Ranch Near Callaway, Knopik Farm Near Belgrade, Kruger Farm South of Lake Minitare, Kush Farm in Monroe, Liebig Farms in Platte Center, Meristem Organic Farm and Nursery in Papillion, Pandorf Land & Cattle Company Ranch Northwest of Callaway, Powell Farm and  Richards Farm, both near Oakland.



Solarize Metro East builds on past successes with more solar energy, The Telegraph

Resources for Organizing a Solar Group Buy or Solarize Program in Your Community




Largest Minnesota solar array wins approval from utility regulators

Source: Minnesota Public Utilities Commmission / Ray Grumney, Star Tribune

Source: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

By David Shaffer, Star Tribune

It is by far the biggest in a wave of large, ground-mounted solar arrays that energy companies are planning to build across Minnesota in the next few years . . . The Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, is projecting a 30-fold increase in the state’s solar generating capacity by the end of 2017. Hundreds of large shared-solar projects are planned in rural areas and on the urban fringe, including Wright, Dakota and Washington counties, mostly to serve customers of Xcel, the state’s largest power company. Read the entire story here.

Wizards of Waverly Place Big Bet On Solar Power, by Mike Mullen, City Pages.Com
The city located around 40 miles west of Minneapolis expects to get 100 percent of its energy from the solar garden . . . Waverly signed a 25-year contract to get its municipal energy needs met by the solar project, and [Mayor] Holmes estimates it will save about $400,000 over that time. Other consumers in town took to the idea, too: The garden “plots” quickly sold out, with 80 percent of the subscriptions snatched up by individuals, and the remainder going to the city and commercial businesses.

Community Solar’ Catching In Wisconsin,
by Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio
Many renters and homeowners in the state don’t live in houses where it’s easy to add solar panels. But according to the group RENEW Wisconsin, last year five Wisconsin utilities added centrally located solar farms and let community members subscribe to the electricity.

Biggest solar array east of Rockies set for Pueblo

The $200 million, 120 megawatt project will be installed on approximately 900 acres at two sites. Photo by Chris McLean, The Pueblo Chieftain

The $200 million, 120-megawatt project will be installed on approximately 900 acres at two sites. Photo by Chris McLean, The Pueblo Chieftain

By Jeff Tucker, The Pueblo Chieftan & The Greeley Tribune

Joshua Epel, chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, noted that solar power in Colorado, where there’s an abundance of sunshine, is a safe bet and the project represents a commitment to diversity in Colorado’s sources of power. “It’s a hedge against increases in gas prices and it’s a hedge against the volatility of fossil fuels,” he said . . . The project will employ about 370 construction workers on site and, at the low end, generate $600,000 annually in property tax revenues . . . State Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, also noted that SunEdison and Xcel will partner with Pueblo City Schools (D60) to bolster the STEM curriculum at Central High School by allowing students to examine the technology and exposing them to the fields that are applied there, such as electrical engineering.

Read the whole story here.

Electric Co-ops Have Experienced Tremendous Growth in Renewable Energy in the Past Five Years

Tiny Farmers Electric Cooperative’s big solar farm in Kalona, Iowa. Photo by FEC.

Tiny Farmers Electric Cooperative’s big solar farm in Kalona, Iowa. Photo by FEC.

According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association:
Today, more than 90 percent of the nation’s 900-plus rural electric co-ops provide electricity generated using renewable energy sources. Much of the nation’s renewable resources can be found in rural America. These include: wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydropower.

Data as of April 2015:

  • Nationwide, co-ops own and purchase nearly 6.4 GW of renewable capacity — in addition to roughly 10 GW of preference power contracts with federal hydroelectric facilities.
  • Co-ops own nearly 1.2 GW of renewable energy generation and have long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for nearly 5.2 GW.
  • Including federal hydropower, co-ops own or purchase over 10 percent of U.S. renewable capacity.
  • Currently, 95 percent of NRECA’s distribution members (795 out of 838) offer renewable energy options to 40 million Americans.
  • The IRS has approved $900 million in CREB allocations for cooperative renewable energy development.

To learn more, click here.

NRECA’s Interactive Map,  “Cooperatives and Renewable Resources,” shows there are six electric cooperatives in our state with solar as a part of their customer-owned power programs.

Cooperatives in Nebraska with Solar
1. Chimney Rock PPD (Bayard) www.crppd.com
2. Midwest ECC (Grant) www.midwestecc.com
3. Northwest RPPD (Hay Springs) www.nrppd.com
4. Panhandle REMA (Alliance) www.prema.coop
5. Roosevelt PPD (Scottsbluff) www.rooseveltppd.com
6. Wheat Belt PPD (Sidney) www.wheatbelt.com

SUNDA: NRECA’s Innovative Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration Project

The Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration project, or SUNDA, is developing a “PV system package” consisting of engineering designs; business models, financing and insurance options; and optimized procurement that will drastically reduce soft-costs, including:

  • Engineering design costs 25%
  • Consolidated procurement costs by 10%
  • Insurance costs by 25%

The overall goal of the project is to reach a target of $1.60/Wp installed cost.

Executive Summary: There are over 900 electric cooperatives (co-ops), which serve more than 42 million Americans in 47 states while operating 2.4 million line-miles covering more than 70% of the nation’s land. Many co-ops are interested in solar PV, but only a few have deployed utility-scale (1 MW or more) systems because of insufficient: standardized designs; cost-benefit analysis tools; assistance with finance, procurement, and permitting; and training and best practices for operations and maintenance.

The objective of the SUNDA project is to create a set of tools that will enhance the ability of co-ops to design, finance, deploy and operate utility-scale solar PV systems at their facilities. To achieve this objective, NRECA is working with a select set of co-ops to develop, test and refine a standard “PV system package”, which will include standardized engineering designs and support products (purchasing, insurance, and training). This package will ultimately be available for use by all co-ops.

For more information about SUNDA, visit: http://www.nreca.coop/what-we-do/bts/renewable-distributed-energy/sunda-project/

Watch the video, “Electric Cooperative Purpose and History” and other NRECA videos here: http://www.nreca.coop/news/videos/