OPPD strikes deal to bring solar power facility to Fort Calhoun

By Casey L. Sill, Washington County Pilot-Tribune & Enterprise

Mary Fisher, vice president of Energy Production and Nuclear Decommissioning, said it’s something OPPD customers have been wanting for some time. “Our customers have really been asking for a solar option,” she said . . . Community solar facilities are built by a third-party operation and run by the utility company. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, will build this facility. OPPD awarded a 20-year power purchase agreement to a Next Era subsidiary. Once the facility is underway, individual consumers can then buy shares or a “subscription” to the facility. Shareholders would bear the extra cost for the facility, but would also reap the benefits. Read more here.

Photo: Lincoln Electric System’s 5-kilowatt community solar farm,  located on a portion of a 46-acre site near Northwest 75th and Holdrege Streets. See Solar Examples.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Let’s Be Clear: Solar Energy Benefits Everyone, by Sean Gallagher, Solar Energy Industries Association Blog

Gallagher focuses on rooftop solar, but the same benefits apply to community and utility-scale solar, as well, several of which are excerpted, below, from the article:

  • Solar on businesses, government buildings and schools, [or aggregated into a community-solar program] can save utilities and consumers money on other distribution infrastructure costs. For example, expensive utility transformers can get overloaded on hot summer days when people are using more energy to cool their homes. Solar can reduce strain on the system on these days, which extends the life of utility equipment and creates savings for everyone.
  • Additional widely-recognized benefits of solar: avoided fuel hedging costs created by volatile fossil fuels like natural gas, avoided electricity losses from power plants that are located far away from cities, and avoiding the need to build new expensive natural gas plants.