Monday, May 23, 2022


Pennsylvania tries to land a regional hydrogen hub, a new study confirms college grads are twice as likely to get good jobs, and a U.S. military plane flies 35 tons of baby formula from Germany to Indianapolis.


Operation Fly Formula's first shipment arrives, worries of global food shortages grow, President Biden is concerned about a monkeypox outbreak, and a poll says Americans support the Title 42 border policy.


From off-Broadway to West Virginia: the stories of the deadly Upper Big Branch mine explosion, baby formula is on its way back to grocery shelves, and federal funds will combat consolidation in meatpacking.

Growth in Solar Capacity Projected to Fuel Rural Economies


Monday, March 16, 2020   

LYONS, Neb. -- The growth of the solar industry has brought a wave of new projects to Nebraska, including a community solar farm in Scottsbluff that's expected to save the city more than $2 million in energy costs over 25 years.

With more projects on the horizon, Lu Nelsen, policy program associate for the advocacy group Center for Rural Affairs, says solar is poised to boost rural economies.

Nelsen says advances in technology and manufacturing have made solar more affordable for homes, communities and for big utility companies.

"In the past decade, we've seen those prices drop about more than 70%," he points out. "And at the end of 2019 we actually saw the price levels for solar hit an all-time low."

Nationally, the solar industry grew by 15% between October 2018 and October 2019. In Nebraska, solar increased by 21%.

Nelsen says Nebraska also has significant room for continued growth. Power generated by the sun currently supplies less than 1% of the state's electricity use, ranking Nebraska 47th among states and territories.

In Nebraska, utility companies are required to credit customers with solar panels on homes when they put any extra electricity onto the power grid, which reduces monthly bills.

And Nelsen expects the state's nameplate tax on power generated by larger solar operations to become an increasingly important asset for rural counties.

"That money goes right back to local counties and it can be a large revenue generator for many counties," he states. "And that revenue helps a lot of rural counties support essential services like schools, police, emergency services and even roads."

Nebraska's nameplate tax is currently about $3,500 per megawatt generated by a large solar facility. The industry has already created more than 1,300 jobs in the state, in manufacturing, installation, development, and other services, and Nelsen expects that number to continue to rise.

Disclosure: Center for Rural Affairs contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Environment, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Rural/Farming. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Around 17% of bachelor's degrees awarded to Black students nationwide come from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and research shows HBCUs boost economic mobility and generational wealth.(Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

One of North Carolina's oldest Historically Black Colleges and Universities is finding new ways to help students stay enrolled and graduate. Recent …

Social Issues

A new survey finds 8 in 10 Kentucky parents say afterschool programs could help their child combat social and mental-health struggles by reducing unpr…


A technology that once existed only in science fiction soon could emerge as a viable solution to climate change. The city of Flagstaff has added …


Minnesota has more than 10,000 brownfield sites, which are abandoned or idled properties in need of contamination removal. State officials will soon …

Georgetown researchers found that Black American women are the most likely to have to turn to student loans for college, and hold the most student loan debt, compared with their peers. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

By age 35, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher are about twice as likely as workers with just a high school diploma to have a good job - one …


The mayor of Huntington, where more than 200 homes were recently damaged by severe flooding, said now is the state's "one chance" to prevent other …

Social Issues

Alzheimer's disease is one of the leading causes of death in North Dakota, prompting state officials to launch an online dashboard, where the public …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021