The Omaha Public Power District is studying how far it can push toward generating the region’s electricity without the carbon emissions that scientists say contribute to a changing climate. The study’s findings could hold significance for the future of OPPD’s coal-fired plants, including its north Omaha power plant, which burns coal and natural gas, and its plant in Nebraska City, its largest that burns coal. It might also influence which types of power plants OPPD builds in the future, whether for addressing the power grid’s needs at peak usage times or for additional capacity, board members say. Read more here.
Solar + Storage: A Guide for Local Governments is the latest in-depth resource from the SolSmart program. This issue brief outlines the benefits and uses of solar and storage, how to analyze the feasibility and economics of storage within a community, and much more. Community interest in solar energy coupled with storage is increasing, as storage technology rapidly becomes more cost effective and its benefits are more broadly recognized.
The guide outlines: 1) The benefits of solar and energy storage for the electric grid and local governments; 2) Uses of solar and energy storage by local governments; 3) How to understand the feasibility and economics of storage within a community; 4) Key elements to include in requests for proposals (RFPs) involving energy storage; and 5) Resources for communities interested in implementing solar and energy storage. Read it here.
Rooftop solar arrays can be a valuable asset for businesses seeking clean power, and new financing tools make it easier than ever to avoid up-front costs. However, the process of buying a rooftop solar array can still be intimidating. It is not unusual for solar customers to lose interest after their project gets bogged down by long processing times for permits, inspections and grid connections. That’s about to change, if the new “SolarApp” program goes according to plan. Continue reading here.
About Tina Casey
Tina writes frequently for TriplePundit and other websites, with a focus on military, government and corporate sustainability, clean tech research and emerging energy technologies. She is a former Deputy Director of Public Affairs of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and author of books and articles on recycling and other conservation themes. She is currently Deputy Director of Public Information for the County of Union, New Jersey.
“These changes in our structure emphasize the massive overhaul the electricity system is undergoing,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “Adding board seats for storage companies and manufacturers and creating policy committees to advance solar plus storage and community solar will help us build toward the Solar+ Decade and achieve our ambitious goals.” Read more here.
Solar incentives in Illinois’ 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act helped Josh Lutton grow his Chicago solar company to 30 employees in the span of just a few years. Now, Lutton is hoping for even more growth with the rollout of one of the law’s marquee programs aimed at making solar accessible to more people. Illinois Solar for All is designed to serve people traditionally left out of the solar market: low-income households, including rural homeowners and renters in urban apartment buildings; people of color; and residents of environmental justice communities most impacted by pollution from fossil fuels . . . The Clean Energy Jobs Act and another bill that would expand solar incentives in Illinois, Path to 100, are before the Illinois Legislature, which closes its session at the end of the month. Read more here.
HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES
FPL opens the floodgates on a tidal wave of solar, PV Magazine Florida Power and Light is ramping up construction on its “30 by 30” plan, announcing the beginning of 10 projects across the Sunshine State, each one clocking in at 74.5 MW, for a grand total of 745 MW of solar. Florida is far from alone. With the huge projects that we are seeing approved in previously under-developed markets such as Ohio and Indiana, even bigger projects in Texas, and the boom in projects applying for interconnection in queues across the nation, the solar tsunami that we talked about at the beginning of this year is becoming a fact on the ground.
Nearly 200 MW of solar coming to Indiana at under $1/watt, PV Magazine According to the MISO interconnection queue, there are 5.7 GW of projects this big and larger planned for Indiana by the end of October 2023. If you’re thinking to yourself that that’s absolutely astronomical predicted development, you should know that figure excludes any project on the queue under 199 MW. Now when all proposed interconnection projects are considered, that number jumps to nearly 8.6 GW, for a state that, once again, has 331 MW to its name so far.
Wisconsin regulators reject effort to block state’s first large-scale solar farm, La Crosse Tribune Both solar farms would be larger than any currently built east of the Rocky Mountains and will result in a five-fold increase in Wisconsin’s solar energy capacity. The utilities said they need to replace aging fossil fuel generators and that the $389.7 million investment will save customers $181 million compared to other alternatives.
sonnenCommunity comes to the Midwest, PV Magazine The new net energy positive development in Marengo, Illinois maximizes energy efficiency and meets Passivhaus standards, as well as offering power in the event of a blackout.
Report: States missing opportunities to electrify transportation with VW money, by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and the Environment America Research & Policy Center created a scorecard to grade states on how they are allocating money from the settlement. Most states earned D or F grades for allowing money to be spent on diesel and other fossil fuel vehicles. The program’s second phase could offer bigger, if fewer, grants to pay for electric vehicle purchases.
Members of the city council recently gave approval to what could turn into the state’s the state’s largest community solar project with NPPD. Three such projects already exist elsewhere in Nebraska. The project also will be tied to a battery energy storage system demonstration project expected to be in operation by mid-2020.
“As technologies have advanced and costs have decreased, rural Nebraska is now in position to produce energy as efficiently as it does food,” said Mayor Josh Moenning. “We are excited to initiate Nebraska’s largest solar project, tied to the state’s first battery energy storage system, while helping lower energy bills and provide renewable options to interested citizens and businesses.” Read more here.
See Solar Examples for additional photos and descriptions of community-scale solar projects in Nebraska.
Read additional editorials, news releases and stories about Nebraska’s Community-Scale Solar projects, completed or under development.
Photo Credit: SoCore Energy Project: Kearney’s solar farm consists of approximately 23,000 panels on 53 acres located in the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. The array is currently Nebraska’s largest solar project, generating 5.8 megawatts of electricity, or about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand. Developer: SoCore Energy Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program
Request Community Solar In Your Community:
If you are an NPPD customer who lives in another town or city and would like to request community solar for your community, click here to submit the SunWise Community Solar Interest Form.
Renewable energy jobs are booming across America, creating stable and high-wage employment for blue-collar workers in some of the country’s most fossil fuel-heavy states, just as the coal industry is poised for another downturn.
California Solar Bill of Rights Promises a Panel for Every Roof, The Bay City Beacon Introduced on February 13 by State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-SF), SB 288, the Solar Bill of Rights, would “enable greater deployment of customer-sited distributed energy resources (DER) by recognizing that all Californians have the right to generate and store their own renewable electricity without undue interference from their local electric utility.”
Sunrun: 2, paperwork: 0, PV Magazine USA A federal ruling granting waivers to generator filings for distributed PV systems could open the door for Sunrun and other companies to sell power from rooftop solar into wholesale power markets.
Marking the largest commitment to solar energy in Maryland and one of the most significant pledges to greenhouse gas reduction in higher education, Johns Hopkins University has entered into a long-term agreement to supply its campuses with more than 250,000 megawatt hours of solar power per year.
Earth Matters: Climate change challenges from every corner of the globe, CBS News On April 22, 1970, CBS News marked the first ever Earth Day with a special report anchored by Walter Cronkite. “The gravity of the message of Earth Day still came through: act or die,” Cronkite said at the time. CBS News correspondents reported on protests, clean-up efforts, and calls to action from all over the country. It was the start of the modern environmental movement. Now 49 years later, we are covering the environmental issues of the day — this time from every corner of the globe.
Renogy’s Solar Panels Bring Low Cost, Portable Solar To The Masses, Clean Technica. Renogy has built some impressive portable solar panels that allow consumers to recharge their devices and their portable USB batteries using the power of the sun. It’s a beautiful combination that had me excited when the company reached out to me about a review of its 5 watt and 10 watt portable solar panels.
Dr. Bing Chen, Ph.D., UNL Professor of electrical and computer engineering, is “developing the area’s first sustainable small house.”
It is a project the former chair of the computer and electronics department feels will be a disruptive technology. Chen said it will change the way he and other baby boomers find alternative housing solutions during their golden years.
Dr. Chen is partnering with OPPD and other groups on the Small Sustainable House.
Construction will begin this summer on UNO’s main campus. With so many baby boomers
ready to enter their next phase, Chen said, good affordable housing is a growing need all over the country. Read more here.
Prototype Image: Chen said the home is well-insulated and can be heated with just 16 candles. The home will have 32 PV solar collectors on the roof to generate electricity and have a whole-house battery storage system.
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.”
At the end of 2015, there was just north of 25 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV installed in the United States. Now, after back-to-back years of double-digit gigawatt growth (15 GW in 2016 and 10.6 GW in 2017), the solar industry has more than doubled its total installed capacity to 53.3 GW through the end of 2017. The release of the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2017 Year in Review finds that the solar industry is doing pretty well, even after a year of obstacles, from the trade case to a number of state policy actions. Read more here.