Tag Archives: solar powered farms in Nebraska

Solar Solutions: Iowa hog farmer cuts power bill by double digits

Fort Dodge Messenger
Editor: Darcy Dougherty-Maulsby

The drop in [Dwight] Dial’s power bill has been dramatic since his solar equipment started powering his home and farm in mid-July. While his May-June 2018 electrical bill was $762 and the June-July bill was $580, the bill dropped to $263 after the solar system had run for 17 days in mid- to late-July. His August-September bill plunged to $77.

While the cost of Dial’s solar project totaled $85,000, he paid only a fraction of this, thanks to current tax incentives, grants and other resources. He received a 30 percent federal tax credit, along with a 15 percent state tax credit, for installing his solar energy system. He also worked with a local grant writer to apply for a federal grant, which he received. “That helped pick up another 13 percent of the system’s total cost,” Dial said. “With all the incentives, it was like paying $27 for something that normally costs $100.” Read more here.

Photo: Family Farm in Minden
Project: 21-kilowatt solar system in Minden, Nebraska installed by GC Resolve. This array provides most of the farm’s energy needs. The project was partly funded by a USDA Rural Energy for America (REAP) grant, which covered 25% of its cost. Additional financing was obtained through the Nebraska Energy Office’s low-interest loan program for solar installations.
Installer: Graham Christensen, GC Resolve
See Solar Examples to view more solar-powered Nebraska farms.

Ways Nebraska Food Producers, Rural & Urban, Can Significantly Cut the
Costs of Solar & Small Wind Projects

FEDERAL INCENTIVES

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% through 2018 and 2019. Small wind: 100 kilowatts or less. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants
NOTE: Qualified applicants include urban as well as rural food producers.
REAP grants provide up to 25% of the total project costs, and a grant and loan combination up to 75%. Eligible projects include renewable energy systems and the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements.

See Also

LINCOLN ELECTRIC SYSTEM’S SOLAR INCENTIVE
LES offers customers a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dual axis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.
    Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

Resources for Nebraska farmers on how to “go solar” and profit from it

Hammond Farm Photo by Matt Ryerson, Lincoln Journal Star.

Hammond Farm.  Photo by Matt Ryerson, Lincoln Journal Star.

Renewable energy is a hot topic nowadays among farmers here in Nebraska and states all across the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and other national and local organizations provide numerous resources for farmers on how to harness the power of the sun and profit from it.

These include information on various uses of solar energy technologies in farm operations, ongoing research, programs and policies. The costs of installing solar have greatly declined in recent years and continue to drop. Publications written even a short time ago don’t reflect this good news and, instead, create the impression that solar is more costly than it actually is.  The best sources of up-to-date information on costs are free estimates from local solar installers listed in our online directory and others.

Resources may also not include information about solar incentives and rebates, which significantly reduce the costs even more. Again, local solar professionals can provide this information, as well as the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) : Nebraska incentives, grants and loans for renewables and energy efficiency- 46 programs. (DSIRE)

The following are only a select number of the many available resources on using solar on farms and homes. Please email any additional resources you’d like to add to this list to: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com

Solar Energy Use in U.S. Agriculture (PDF)
This April 2011 report from the USDA provides an “overview of solar energy use by farmers and ranchers in the U.S. that identifies trends and future potential.”
http://www.usda.gov/oce/reports/energy/Web_SolarEnergy_combined.pdf

Determining the Optimum Solar Water Pumping System for Domestic Use, Livestock Watering or Irrigation (PDF)
USDA. Conservation and Production Research Laboratory
This publication helps farmers and landowners select a stand-alone solar photovoltaic system for water pumping. Steps include deciding whether a wind or solar water pumping system would be best, determining the type of PV module, how controller can affect the decision, selecting pump type, and analyzing the monthly water demand requirement.
http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/46008/PDF

Farm Energy Alternatives
ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
Includes a section on solar energy with success stories, links, and select publications.
https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/farm_energy/index.php
Solar Greenhouses https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/viewhtml.php?id=59

Florida Solar Energy Center
University of Central Florida
Publications and other information sources on solar energy education, effect on the environment and building, photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies.
http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/

Spring Deadline for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants
Nebraskans for Solar
http://www.nebraskansforsolar.org/event/spring-deadline-for-rural-energy-for-america-program-reap-grants/?instance_id=652

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants
US Department of Energy – Nebraska
Jeff Carpenter, Energy Coordinator, Rural Development – 100 Centennial Mall North, Room 308 Federal Building, Lincoln, Nebraska 68508. Telephone: 402-437-5554
Email: jeff.carpenter@ne.usda.gov  Website: www.rd.usda.gov/ne 

Farm Energy Success Stories
Farm Energy.Org
http://farmenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/FarmEnergySuccessStories2014-FINALweb.pdf

Up with the Sun: Solar Energy and Agriculture
Union of Concerned Scientists
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/smart-energy-solutions/increase-renewables/up-with-the-sun-solar-energy.html#.VlMrtWSrQUt

Solar Energy Basics
National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)
http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_solar.html

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Lincoln Journal Star: Farms flexing solar power

Houston Chronicle: Solar power gaining popularity among Nebraska farmers