Tag Archives: Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration (SUNDA)

A utility in coal country doubles down on renewables

By Jessica Kutz, High Country News

‘You can politicize it all you want, but in the end economics is really what drives it.’

Bill Patterson, the board president for the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA), a rural utility in a conservative pocket of Western Colorado, thinks the shift to renewable energy just makes plain economic sense. And DMEA members agree. Last week they voted in favor of giving the electric co-op the option to sell stocks in order to raise enough money to buy itself out of its contract with the wholesale provider Tri-State Generation & Transmission due to a desire to produce more renewable energy, locally. Continue reading here.

Tri-State Members’ Service Territories Include Nebraska

This story is a part of the ongoing Back 40 series, where HCN reporters look at national trends and their impacts close to home.

Thinkstock Photo

NRECA’S SOLAR DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES FOR COOPERATIVES & OTHER COMMUNITIES 

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s innovative SUNDA Project helps rural electric cooperatives and others to develop a utility-scale solar project. SUNDA stands for “Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration.”

The SUNDA team, with the help of the pilot project’s participating 17 rural electric cooperatives, utilized lessons learned from their deployment of 30 megawatts of photovoltaic (PV) solar to develop tools and resources that help other cooperatives to deploy solar in their own communities.

The tools are organized based on the solar project phase, from initial conceptualization to design and implementation. They are available online, providing valuable resources for cooperatives and other communities and organizations interested in developing a utility-scale solar project. Click the links, below, to learn more:

All the resources are available here: SUNDA Project

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
NRECA and Industry Groups: EVs Are Viable Tool to Meet Fuel Standards, by Cathy Cash
At least 150 NRECA member co-ops provide off-peak charging rates for EV users. Dozens of electric co-ops across the country have programs that implement charging infrastructure in their service territory.

UPCOMING WEBINAR
Cooperative Leadership Network Webinar:
What Co-op Leaders Need To Know About Community Solar, October 30, 2018, 2 to 3 pm

New Research Shows a Solar Revolution in Rural America

News Release, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

ARLINGTON, Va. –The rapid acceleration of solar development by America’s electric cooperatives is transforming the energy landscape in rural America. According to a new report, electric co-ops today own or purchase more than nine times as much solar energy as they did in 2013.

In 2013, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) received a grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to help electric cooperatives remove barriers to solar development. Through the ensuing Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration (SUNDA) project, NRECA worked with 17 electric cooperatives to develop models and resources for co-ops interested in developing solar energy. Continue here.

Download Report: A Solar Revolution in Rural America
SUNDA Project

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • NRECA’s Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) Award
    In May, SEPA announced their 2018 Power Players Awards. The awards “honor utilities, their partners, and individual thought leaders providing the vision, models and momentum for the electric power industry’s smart transition to a clean, modern energy future.” The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) was one of three recipients of the Innovative Partner of the Year Award in recognition of the SUNDA Project. 
  • NRECA and Industry Groups: EVs Are Viable Tool to Meet Fuel Standards, by Cathy Cash
    At least 150 NRECA member co-ops provide off-peak charging rates for EV users. Dozens of electric co-ops across the country have programs that implement charging infrastructure in their service territory.

Thinkstock Photo

Kalona Featured – Largest solar farm in state expanding

The Kalona News

kalonaThe project was able to generate more than a million kilowatt hours each year when it debuted two years ago. Now, the 2,900 solar panels at Farmers Electric Cooperative (FEC) will become more numerous with the installation of another 2,880 solar panels, taking the solar array size to nearly two megawatts. Read more.

Solar panels at Farmers Electric Cooperative will number nearly 6,000 when crews from Iowa Wind and Solar complete the job early next week. Drone photo by Joseph C. Ace / Iowa Wind and Solar.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Electric Co-ops’ Solar Projects Growing in Size and Scope, Press Release, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). “The SUNDA tools enable any and all of the nation’s 900 electric co-ops to make an informed decision for their consumer-members and, for those co-ops intending to deploy solar, reduce the risks and maximize the benefits.” Cooperatives have expanded the collective solar footprint, and individual projects are getting bigger; the average SUNDA community solar project is now 1.5 megawatts.
SUNDA: Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration Project. Learn more about SUNDA, available resources and tools, and participating co-ops by clicking on this highlighted link.

According to the NRECA, there are currently 323 cooperatives in 38 states that utilize solar as a fuel source. There are 6 in Nebraska, more than in many other states, the data at this link show.

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/