Tag Archives: solar farms

DOE Funding Opportunity For Agrivoltaics Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced the Foundational Agrivoltaic Research for Megawatt Scale (FARMS) funding opportunity, which will award $8 million in funding for projects that examine how agrivoltaics can scale up to provide new economic opportunities to farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry. Agrivoltaics is defined as agricultural production, such as crop production, livestock grazing, and pollinator habitat that exist underneath solar panels and/or in between rows of solar panels.

Projects will conduct a range of activities, including integrated agriculture-energy impact studies examining how agrivoltaic designs impact both agriculture production and energy production. Some projects will study how agrivoltaics can fit into existing agricultural communities and economies or enable new ones, while others will develop resources that will lower the barriers of entry to agrivoltaics, making it easier for agricultural producers and solar developers to benefit from these opportunities.

SETO’s goal is to reduce barriers to the deployment of utility- and community-scale solar energy necessary to meet the Biden administration’s goals for equitably decarbonizing the electricity sector by 2035. Scaling up the co-location of solar energy and agriculture has the potential to and provide additional benefits to farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry.

DOE expects to make between 4 and 6 awards under FARMS, each ranging from $1-2 million. SETO is interested in projects that partner with farmers who are pursuing climate-smart and sustainable agriculture and are considering agrivoltaics to enhance the economic efficiency and sustainability of small- and medium-size farms. Additionally, SETO is interested in projects that offer economic benefits to underserved communities in agricultural regions.

To facilitate the formation of teams, SETO is providing a Teaming Partner List where interested parties who would like to apply to the FOA, but not as the prime applicant, may express interest to potential partners.

Prior to submitting a full application for this opportunity, a mandatory letter of intent is due on June 1, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET.

SETO will host an informational webinar on May 12, 2022 at 3 p.m. ET to discuss the funding program and the areas of focus. Register for the webinar.

Learn more about this funding opportunity and other open funding opportunities within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

UNL CENTER FOR AGRICULTURAL PROFITIBILITY WEBINAR

Managing Through Drought with USDA Conservation and Assistance Programs
May 12 at Noon CT

Drought conditions persist across much of the country and both livestock and crop producers face losses and continuing challenges for their operations. This webinar will cover USDA emergency assistance programs to help producers cope with losses as well as on-going conservation programs to help producers prepare for and manage through drought.

MORE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

SEI SOLAR TRAINING PROGRAMS

Rundown of Solar Energy International’s upcoming 2022 solar training programs, Solar Builder Magazine

For 30 years, Solar Energy International (SEI) has been dedicated to training the global solar energy workforce. SEI delivers hands-on experience, safety, and technical skills solar training to scale the global workforce at a pace to that significantly impacts climate change — whether that’s equipping utilities with the skills to operate large-scale solar farms, or helping people access clean, reliable energy for the first time. SEI offers online training as well as in-person workshops at its facilities in Paonia, Colorado.

SEI’s Solar Professional Certificate Program (SPCP) is the industry’s most comprehensive training program. With custom program tracks, SPCP prepares professionals with foundational solar skills and technical theory in the solar industry segment of their choice. All SPCP tracks are a combination of hands-on, safety, and technical skills training.

FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY JOB SEEKERS

  • Solar Workforce Development, Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO)
  • Google Search
    Solar Energy Jobs
    Wind Energy Jobs
    An additional search strategy is to check for jobs listings on the websites of solar and wind energy companies that have installed renewable energy projects in Nebraska.

FAST COMPANY’S 2022 WORLD-CHANGING IDEAS AWARDS

Every year, Fast Company’s World-Changing Ideas Awards honor the innovative ways businesses and organizations are tackling the biggest challenges of our time. Amid the seemingly endless stream of disastrous news, these awards provide more than 1,000 reasons to feel some hope. One thousand fifty-three, to be exact. That’s the total number of honorees that our judges chose to recognize from the nearly 3,000 applications we received.

Public hearing set for Monday on 3,200-acre solar farm

By Timothy Rohwer, Fremont Tribune

[A] facility that could be one of the largest in the state has been proposed near Murray. A public hearing on the matter is set for this Monday at 7 p.m. at the Expo Building at the Cass County Fairgrounds. The hearing will consider a conditional use permit for the solar farm request. Boulevard Associates, LLC, is the firm seeking these permits, according to the Cass County Zoning Office. Read more here.

NFS Note: NextEra Energy Resources is the parent company for Boulevard Associates, LLC.


Photo example of pole-mounted solar:

Crops or pollinator-friendly plants can be grown underneath the array, or farm animals can graze and seek shade and shelter there. Pole mounts can also easily incorporate a single-axis or dual-axis sun tracking system, enabling the panels to produce more energy.  

Previously Posted News Channel Nebraska Stories

Solar FAQs

Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar
This is a Department of Energy resource that answers questions farmers, ranchers, and other community members often ask not only about an individual solar project but also a utility-scale development proposed for their area.

Fact Sheet: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

The White House Briefing Room, November 6, 2021

Today, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness. For far too long, Washington policymakers have celebrated “infrastructure week” without ever agreeing to build infrastructure. The President promised to work across the aisle to deliver results and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. After the President put forward his plan to do exactly that and then negotiated a deal with Members of Congress from both parties, this historic legislation is moving to his desk for signature.

This Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads. It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years. Continue reading here.

RELATED READING

Fact Sheet: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Boosts Clean Energy Jobs, Strengthens Resilience, and Advances Environmental Justice, The White House

GREEN SCHOOLS / CAMPUSES

How schools are combatting climate change, from green schoolyards to solar power, by Meredith Deliso, ABC News

Overall, the education sector has an untapped opportunity to help mitigate climate change, from renewable energy practices to teachings, according to the Aspen Institute’s K12 Climate Action initiative, which points to school districts like Arlington’s as a success story in demonstrating climate solutions.

“We envision a future where America’s over 100,000 schools are models for climate action, climate solutions, and sustainability, and the 50 million children and youth in these schools are prepared to succeed in the clean economy and lead a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable society,” the organization wrote in a recent policy report.

In Omaha: Photo of Duchesne Academy’s 10-kilowatt solar array, installed by Interconnection Systems Inc (ISI), which is based in Central City, Nebraska. The energy generated by the system powers multiple classrooms, including the school’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math lab. where students can integrate data from the solar system into coursework.

The solar array is part of the school’s overall sustainability initiative. Duchesne Academy has the inspiring goal to be a net-positive-energy school by 2030. The school’s other sustainability program goals include zero waste by 2030, having a sustainable food system, and sustainability curriculum integration.

Iowa State and Alliant Energy collaborate on solar farm, Iowa State University 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Yes, 40 Percent Solar Energy for the U.S Grid by 2035 is Doable

By Tina Casey, TriplePundit

All in all, the opportunities for rapid decarbonization are falling into place. The only missing piece is political will, and that is an area in which corporate leaders can exercise a powerful influence, if they choose.

The Joe Biden administration made waves earlier this week when it indicated that solar energy could cover 40 percent of the nation’s electric power grid by 2035. It is easy to meet news like that with disbelief, considering the minuscule toehold currently enjoyed by solar energy. However, a significant new factor is now in play.

The catastrophic impacts of climate change hit the U.S. with full force this year, providing corporate leaders with a powerful incentive to lobby for a swift, aggressive transition to clean power. Settling for incremental change is not an option when floods, fires, habitat destruction, and water scarcity destroy communities and disrupt business. Read more here.

Previously Posted

Biden’s proposed tenfold increase in solar power would remake the US electricity system, by Joshua D. Rhodes, Research Associate, University of Texas at Austin. Published by The Conversation.  

Additional Recommended Reading

Solar-storage project would be ‘game-changer’ for Kansas City region

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

The world’s largest renewable energy developer is acquiring property in Kansas for a mega-project that would combine hundreds of megawatts of solar and storage capacity. A spokesperson for NextEra Energy confirmed the company is seeking land near Kansas City for a project that could include up to 500 MW each of solar and storage capacity, making it among the largest such projects in the country . . . NextEra is also pursuing a 423-megawatt solar project in Nebraska. It has acquired land rights and now is waiting to find a buyer and to hear what the Southwest Power Pool would charge for a connection to the grid. That figure is critical in developing renewable projects. Read more here.

Previously Posted  
NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest

Photo by Stuart Seeger / Flickr / Creative Commons

GAGE COUNTY WIND ENERGY RULE

County board approves wind turbine setback, by Monica Brich, Beatrice Daily Sun
The amendment increases setback requirements from nonparticipating residences from 3/8 to one mile. Nonparticipating residents are those who do not have contracts in place with a wind company. The Gage County Planning and Zoning committee previously approved the resolution in a 6-1 vote in August, after a six hour meeting.

U.S. RENEWABLE ENERGY MANUFACTURING

100 Gigawatts of Domestic Manufacturing Capacity by 2030, Solar Energy Industries Association
Today, SEIA is setting a target of 100 GW of domestic renewable energy manufacturing capacity by 2030, with a particular focus on solar, wind, and energy storage technologies. Right now, we are about a quarter of the way there. This goal is consistent with our aspirations of having solar energy account for 20% of all electricity generation by 2030. And it fits with a collective goal by the renewable energy industries—wind, solar and hydropower with storage, to hit 50% of all electricity by the end of the decade. The 100 GW target is designed to increase the United States’ ability to supply not only domestic renewable energy projects but also export markets. 

Download SEIA White Paper: The Solar+ Decade & American Renewable Energy Manufacturing

ENERGY EFFICIENCY 

Efficiency is smart for public power, American Public Power Association
To explore how central efficiency is for public power, we spoke with a few of the utilities that received the American Public Power Association’s Smart Energy Provider designation in 2019, the first year it was awarded, about what energy efficiency means to them. Utilities with this designation show a dedication to best practices and programs in energy efficiency, among other areas.

DECARBONIZING INDUSTRY

There Is No Business as Usual: Decarbonizing Industry Must Start Now, Rocky Mountain Institute
We know that a higher-than-1.5°C pathway will result in severe natural disasters, including flooding, rising sea levels, hurricanes, drought, and lethal temperature exposures. The increasing regularity of these extreme climate events will create drastic stresses on food and water supply, with ripple effects including hunger, market disruption, increased migration, and social unrest. In addition to threatening our environment and physical well-being, these events threaten our economy. In the United States alone the estimated total cost of weather and climate-based disasters between 1980 and 2019 is estimated at $1.75 trillion.

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.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

SOLAR GROUP BUY / SOLARIZE NEWS & RESOURCES

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

NEW REPORTS

COMMUNITY SOLAR RESOURCES

LMI SOLAR RESOURCES

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.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
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

Excerpt
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.