Tag Archives: SolSmart

Commentary: Virginia Clean Economy Act models a just clean energy transformation

Contributed by Maggie Clark and Rachel Smucker / Solar Energy
Industries Association, Energy News Network 

The Virginia Statehouse in Richmond.

Legislation just passed by the General Assembly, the Virginia Clean Economy Act, represents our best chance this year to ensure reliable and affordable electricity, create jobs and grow our economy, turn back the tide of climate change and put Virginia on a path toward an equitable transition to a clean energy economy.

This legislation would turn Gov. Ralph Northam’s clean energy goals into law, and chart the course for Virginia to get there. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), only about 1% of Virginia’s electricity comes from solar. This ambitious plan would require Virginia to become zero carbon by the middle of this century. The Clean Economy Act takes a major step forward on equity by directly empowering consumers with access to rooftop. It is a bold step, and it is needed now. Read more here.

Photo by Ron Cogswell / Flickr / Creative Commons

RELATED SEIA NEWS RELEASES

MORE ON VIRGINIA’S CLEAN ECONOMY ACT

  • Virginia passes historic commitment to 100 percent clean energy by 2045, Environment America News Release. Susan Rakov, Environment America’s Clean Energy Program chair, released the following statement: “In state after state and city after city, people are demanding a new approach to America’s energy future, and today Virginia’s General Assembly said, ‘We hear you!’ As a result of campaigns across the country, one out of three Americans now live in a city or state that has made a commitment to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. Environment America is proud to have played a part in those campaigns, and we look forward to the next wave. Congratulations to Virginia — it’s a great day to take a big step toward a better world.”
  • Virginia Mandates 100% Clean Power by 2045Greentech Media
    The Clean Economy Act will drive utility Dominion to procure gigawatts of solar, offshore wind and energy storage.

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES

SOLSMART

SolSmart program helps turn around solar permits in one day, Solar Power World
“SolSmart is mainly a solar soft cost reduction program, and it’s important, because about 64% of all solar costs come from soft costs. And these are costs associated with all the non-hardware parts of going solar. So, permitting fees, labor, zoning issues, things like that,” said Zach Greene, program director and SolSmart leader at The Solar Foundation. “By working with these local governments, by educating them, by providing them with consulting-type resources, we’re really able to help them reduce those costs at the local level and to really try to expand a local solar market.”

Previously Posted

100% BIODEGRADABLE & REGENERATIVE TIRES FOR ELECTRIC CARS

Goodyear develops self-regenerating ‘spider-silk’ tires for electric cars, BusinessGreen
Goodyear has unveiled designs for new ultra-durable tires made from biodegradable materials, which it claims can both “self-regenerate” and adapt to changing road conditions, in a move aimed at helping electric car drivers cut down on maintenance costs and waste.

Renewable Energy Prices Hit Record Lows: How Can Utilities Benefit From Unstoppable Solar And Wind?

By Silvio Marcacci, Communications Director at Energy Innovation

Over the last decade, wind energy prices have fallen 70% and solar photovoltaics have fallen 89% on average, according to Lazard’s 2019 report. Utility-scale renewable energy prices are now significantly below those for coal and gas generation, and they’re less than half the cost of nuclear. The latest numbers again confirm that building new clean energy generation is cheaper than running existing coal plants.

In other words, it is now cheaper to save the climate than to destroy it. Capacity installation trends reflect this economic reality, with new wind and solar generation coming online at a breakneck pace. Wind power capacity in the U.S. has more than doubled since 2010 and reached nearly 100 GW in 2018. Read more here.

ØRSTED NEWS

Global 100 Index: Ørsted Is the World’s Most Sustainable Company, Ørsted News Release, CSR Wire
Having completed a fundamental business transformation from fossil fuels to renewables over the past decade, Ørsted urges all countries and companies to reduce their carbon emissions to help limit global warming to 1.5°C. The global leader in offshore wind outperformed more than 7,300 global companies with billion-dollar revenues to rank #1 in Corporate Knights’ 2020 index of the Global 100 most sustainable corporations in the world. Ørsted becomes the first-ever energy company to top the index.

Previously Posted

100% CLEAN ENERGY NEWS – PLUS NEBRASKA DATA

MICROSOFT’S NEW CARBON NEGATIVE PLAN

How Microsoft’s new carbon-negative plan will test the idea of a climate economy, CNBC
Microsoft’s plan to make up for every bit of carbon it has put into the atmosphere since it was founded in 1975 will require a mix of old and new solutions. 100% renewable electricity by 2025, electric vehicles on campuses and alternate sources of business travel are familiar pledges. But soaking up all the carbon in the air already is a new corporate goal and will require novel technology, such as direct air capture. Microsoft is counting on everything from planting massive numbers of trees to soak up carbon and using technologies to capture carbon and sequester it in soil — burying it, essentially — to more exotic technologies.

EV NEWS

Tesla can sell vehicles in Michigan under legal settlement, Associated Press News
Tesla will be able to sell and service its vehicles in the backyard of Detroit’s three automakers under a lawsuit settlement, a person briefed on the matter says. The deal between the state of Michigan and Tesla is likely to be announced Wednesday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because terms of the deal have not been made public.

FEATURED NATIONAL INITIATIVE

SolSmart is a national designation program recognizing cities, counties, and regional organizations that foster the development of mature local solar markets. The program is led by the International City/County Management Association and The Solar Foundation.

To help communities achieve designation, SolSmart provides no-cost technical assistance from a team of national experts who work to evaluate programs and practices that impact solar markets, and identify high-prospect opportunities for improvement. A select number of communities also hosted SolSmart Advisors: fully-funded, experienced staff who work in communities for periods of up to six months. All cities, counties, and regional organizations are eligible to join SolSmart and receive no-cost technical assistance to achieve designation.
Learn more: Why Should You Apply?
Meet the SolSmart team

Lincoln, Nebraska SolSmart Gold Designee
City Receives National Recognition for Promoting Solar Energy, City of Lincoln Mayor’s Office News Release, September 9, 2019

House and Senate Introduce Legislation for 5-Year Extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), Paul Cook (R-CA), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) have introduced companion bills with a five-year 30% extension of Section 48 and Section 25D Solar Investment Tax Credits (ITC). The Renewable Energy Extension Act will call for the extension of the tax credits.

Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, urging lawmakers to pass this critical legislation:

Continue Reading Here.

MAYORS FOR SOLAR ENERGY

 

More than 250 mayors nationwide sign letter calling for increased solar power, Environment America News Release
Municipal leaders from all 50 states support more clean energy from the sun.


MORE NEWS & OPINION

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

SOLSMART NEWS

Southwest Virginia Communities Achieve National Recognition for Advancing Solar Energy Growth, News Release, Appalachian Voices. Eight Southwest Virginia communities have achieved designation under the national SolSmart program for encouraging the growth of local solar energy markets, at a time when several major solar installations on schools, businesses, and community centers are poised to begin across the region. These communities were each awarded a SolSmart designation for taking local action to reduce the time and expense required to install solar energy systems. 

From SolSmart: Solar and Storage Guide

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.

Take local action on climate change

Written by Roy D. Buol, Mayor of Dubuque and a member of
Mayors for Solar Energy, Guest Columnist, The Gazette

The federal government’s Fourth National Climate Assessment should be a major wake-up call for the Midwest. The report details the serious consequences of our addiction to fossil fuels in communities such as Dubuque and throughout the Midwest. Our elected leaders not only need to acknowledge the gravity and urgency of the problem but do everything in their power to solve it . . . Dubuque is working to prevent the worst of these effects by advancing clean, carbon-free renewable energy at the local level. With the adoption of Dubuque’s plan to reduce the community’s greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent below 2003 levels by 2030, the City Council solidified our commitment to mitigating and adapting to climate impacts. Read more here.

Image: Alliant Energy’s Solar Facility in Dubuque
The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) announced April 2018 that the Dubuque Solar project earned the Envision Platinum rating for sustainable infrastructure – the highest Envision award level. This is the first solar project to receive Envision recognition, and second project in Iowa to receive an Envision Platinum rating.

 

Mayors for Solar Members in Nebraska
Mayors join call for more solar power

 

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

Wind Dominates First-Quarter Midwest Power Project Starts, Completions, an Industrial Info News Alert, PR Newswire
Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas) is tracking nearly $6 billion in Power Industry projects that are planned to start or be completed in the U.S. Midwest market region in first-quarter 2019. The Midwest includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Wind power dominates these projects in terms of project value. Iowa, with more than $1.8 billion in planned starts and completions, leads in terms of project value. 

Minnesota Regulators Approve Nobles 2 Wind PPA, North American Windpower
Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE Inc., has received unanimous approval from the
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with
[Omaha-based] Tenaska Inc. for 250 MW of wind-generated electricity.

MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Solar farm approvals on deck; B-N group-buy matches first, Bloomington Pantagraph. McLean County is on track to have 18 solar farms considered for state approval this spring, with small-scale solar development still marching along after another successful group-buy program. StraightUp Solar Photo: A solar farm at Home Nursery, a wholesale nursery in Albers, Illinois.

UTILITIES IN THE NEWS

Xcel Energy: Utility of the Year?
By Robert Rapier, 
Moneyshow.com
Historically, most of Xcel’s wind generation was produced under power-purchase agreements from third parties. But that’s about to change. Xcel has approved 4,780 MW of new wind power by 2021, of which it will own 74%. Xcel plans to invest $1 billion in Colorado over the next few years. It is targeting an increase in renewables to about 55% of its energy mix by 2026 . . . Expect more utilities to follow Xcel’s example. Global pressure to address climate change has been a factor to this point in the rapid adoption of renewables. But now that they are becoming cost-competitive with coal, renewables increasingly look like a smart decision, for both utilities and investors. Flickr Photo

Utilities are accelerating microgrid investments in innovative and strategic ways, GreenBiz
The electric utility sector is at a crossroads between centralized generation and distributed energy
resources (DERs), with 2018 DER deployments exceeding additions for centralized generation.

SOLSMART UPDATE

 

The SolSmart Application has been revised.
Click here to download and review it.

Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement Continues to Break Records in 2018

Rocky Mountain Institute News Release

Corporate renewable energy procurement has set a new single-year record for new capacity of announced wind and solar deals in 2018, the Business Renewables Center (BRC), a membership program at Rocky Mountain Institute, reported in its updated corporate-backed renewable energy procurement deal tracker.

“The record number of companies successfully pursuing renewable energy this year sends a clear signal that environmental sustainability is a serious priority for business leaders across the economy,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute. “These companies aren’t going to wait for public policy on climate issues to catch up—they are taking the initiative to
accelerate toward a prosperous, low carbon economy.” Read more here.

RMI REPORT
RMI offers playbook to support non-wires projects, American Public Power Association

IN NEBRASKA / THE MIDWEST

One for the Books: The Biggest Corporate Renewable Deals of 2018,
Energy Manager Today. Facebook: The BRC found that the social media giant signed 20 renewable contracts totaling 1,894.5 MW in 2018, which tops all the corporate deals the BRC tracked in 2016 put together. Those deals included a power purchase agreement with Enel Green Power North America in March for energy from Enel’s planned 320 MW
Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Nebraska.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Wind and Solar Are Revitalizing Rural America, by Grant Smith, Senior Energy Policy Advisor, Environmental Working Group
The St Louis Post-Dispatch reports that solar companies are streaming into Illinois and partnering with farmers to lease some of their land for solar projects. But this is not happening only in Illinois. Across the nation, wind and solar investments are revitalizing rural economies, providing a boost to the ups and downs of farm income.

INTERVIEW

Not for lack of ideas: an interview with NREL’s Dr, Peter Green, PV Magazine
In this interview pv magazine talks with the chief research officer at the United States’ foremost clean energy laboratory about the work that NREL has been doing, and what to expect for the
future of electricity and transportation.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN E-BOOK


Climate Change: Planet Under Pressure
, by Scientific American Editors  $5.99

From increasingly severe storms to collapsing coral reefs to the displacement of Syrian citizens, in this eBook we examine the effects of Earth’s changing climate on weather systems, ecosystems and human habitability and what this means for our future.

Mayors join call for more solar power

Special to the Norfolk Daily News

 

 

 

 

More than 200 mayors representing cities in every U.S. state have signed on to Environment America Research & Policy Center’s “Mayors for Solar Energy” letter, embracing a collective vision for solar-powered communities. Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning is one of two representing Nebraska, along with Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler . . . The number of signatures on the Mayors for Solar Energy letter has more than tripled since December 2017, and Environment America Research and Policy Center expects that number will continue to grow. Learn more here.

Environment America News Release: From sea to shining sea, mayors call for solar
Mayors For Solar Energy

Environment America Resources

Additional Opportunity Highlighted by Environment America
Apply for SolSmart designation and get technical assistance in improving your solar permitting process.

 


Lincoln, Nebraska is a
SolSmart Designee.

 

 

 


Lincoln Environmental Action Plan 2017 – 2018 (PDF)

 

 


Previously Posted NPPD News Release:
NPPD, Norfolk seeking grant for battery energy storage project. Funding for battery energy storage system (BESS) demonstration project is being sought by the Nebraska Public Power District and the City of Norfolk that would be tied to a proposed community solar project planned for that community in 2019.

New Announcements: Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference & SolSmart

2018 Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Schedule Announced

October 16-17, 2018 | Marriott Cornhusker Hotel | Lincoln, NE

Visit the Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference website to view the 2018 schedule featuring Rob Chapman of the Electric Power Research Institute, an update from Nebraska state senators, and much more.

SolSmart Announcing the Third Annual City & County
Challenge for Solar Energy

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities (NLC) have launched two Challenge Campaigns for local governments to showcase their support for solar energy. This year’s prizes include a “techno-economic analysis” for solar installations on up to five sites, which can help communities better understand the costs and benefits of proposed solar projects.

The Challenges run until Friday, September 14, 2018. Only communities that have not yet submitted a SolSmart Application are eligible for the Challenges. Existing SolSmart designees may not participate. But even if your community is not eligible, we encourage you to spread the word to your neighbors. Visit the NACo and NLC blog posts for more information and entry requirements.

SolSmart Case Study

Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, a coalition of Chicago-area communities, advised 15 municipalities and counties and successfully led them to earning SolSmart Bronze, Silver, and Gold designations. MMC took a collaborative approach, setting up bi-weekly conference calls with all 15 communities, which generated unique ideas and easily facilitated the exchange of resources and information. Thanks to SolSmart, MMC and the communities that participated were able to develop effective strategies to make it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar, tailor-made to each community.

Read More about Metropolitan Mayors Caucus experience.

How the SolSmart Solar Energy Program Helps Communities Go Solar

By Tina Casey, Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit

Until recent years, businesses seeking on site solar energy had to negotiate a thicket of regulatory glitches and permit issues for solar installations. Practically every solar buyer had to reinvent the wheel, leading to increased costs at the least, and insurmountable obstacles at the worst. Fortunately, those days are fading into memory as the solar market matures. In the latest sign that it’s getting easier to go solar, 200 US cities and counties — accounting for a population of almost 60 million people — have signed on to the SolSmart solar engagement program. Read more here.

SolSmart Website
SolSmart Designees
Lincoln, Nebraska is a SolSmart Designee, with the goal of achieving the highest level: Gold. See: Lincoln Environmental Action Plan (PDF)

These May 16 SolSmart webinars discuss the application process.

  • Webinar for Community-Based Application: 2pm Central TimeRegister here.
  • Webinar for the Organization-Based RFP: 3pm Central TimeRegister here.

200 Communities Are Now SolSmart Designees!

Today, with the designation of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, SolSmart marked the 200th community nationwide to achieve designation as SolSmart Gold, Silver, or Bronze!  These 200 designees are in 35 states and the District of Columbia and represent over 59 million Americans.

The application process is now open for the third round of SolSmart Advisors. SolSmart Advisors provide no-cost, hands-on technical assistance in communities that are selected through this competitive application process. Each Advisor works in a community or region full-time for approximately six months.

SolSmart is accepting applications for both 1) Communities interested in hosting an Advisor, or 2) Organizations interested in serving as Advisors. Learn more here.

Attend SolSmart webinars on May 16, 2018 to find out more about the process.

  • Webinar for Community-Based Application: 2pm Central Time. Register here.
  • Webinar for the Organization-Based RFP: 3pm Central Time. Register here.

Examples of actions SolSmart communities have taken to make solar
more affordable and accessible for homes and businesses:

  • Cutting permitting costs and saving money for customers. For example, West Palm Beach, Florida started a “walk-through” permit process that takes as little as 15 minutes.
  • Engaging with community members to encourage solar development. For example, a SolSmart Advisor helped the cities of Goshen and South Bend, Indiana launch Solarize campaigns, which allow residents to come together to install solar at a discounted cost.
  • Reducing zoning obstacles to solar. For example, Brownsville, Texas adopted a zoning ordinance that will help facilitate the growth of new solar projects.
  • Streamlining inspection processes. For example, Pima County, Arizona launched a “remote inspections” process to provide same-day approval on solar and other projects.
  • Encouraging local job growth. Solar energy employs more than 250,000 Americans.
    A SolSmart designation positions a city or county to bring these jobs to the local community.
  • Other actions SolSmart communities have taken include installing solar on government buildings, developing “solar-ready” construction guidelines, integrating solar PV with energy storage, hosting community-wide solar workshops, and training local government staff.

Visit SolSmart.org for more information.