Category Archives: Community Solar

NPPD News Release: Kearney SunWise community solar shares on sale starting Sept. 15, 2017

Project slated to come online in February 2018

Columbus, Neb. – Starting Sept. 15, 2017, residential and commercial customers who live in Kearney will have the opportunity to purchase solar shares in the City’s SunWise Community Solar Program. The facility, which will be constructed in Kearney’s Tech oNE Crossing Technology Park, is expected to come online early next year. NPPD has been working with Kearney officials over the past year to develop their respective program, which will be the third of its kind in the state.

“NPPD’s community solar program enables NPPD to partner with its retail communities interested in pursuing their own solar projects,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “Under this program, NPPD works with the community and a selected developer to purchase the output of a solar unit. End-use customers can then participate in the program and pay for shares via their electric bill.”

Read the entire news release.

Photo Credit: Nebraska TV (NTV)

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

What is SunWise?

SunWise is a community solar program available in participating Nebraska Public Power District retail communities. Eligible customers have the opportunity to use solar energy to partially power their homes and businesses without the need to invest in a rooftop or home-based system.

Participating Communities

  • Venango – fully subscribed
  • Scottsbluff – fully subscribed
  • Kearney – shares available starting September 15, 2017

Panelists explain how solar energy benefits Kearney

By Tarrah Gibbons, NTV News


Nebraska Public Power District has been working more than a year with the city to develop its third Sun Wise community solar project in the state. They will be also working to market 7,099 community solar shares. Read more or watch the newscast here.

Photo: Panelists explain how solar energy benefits Kearney at a public presentation hosted by the Nebraska Wildlife Federation. When completed, the 5.8-megawatt farm will be the largest solar project in Nebraska. Credit: NTV News

The panelists included: Dave Richardson, Kearney Clean Energy Group; Graham Christensen, GC Revolt; John Crabtree, Nebraska Sierra Club; Cliff Mesner, Mesner Solar Development.
Moderator: Melissa Freelend, Nebraska Public Power District

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
UNK will purchase more than half of the electricity from Nebraska’s largest solar farm in Kearney

What is SunWise?

SunWise is a community solar program available in participating Nebraska Public Power District retail communities. Eligible customers have the opportunity to use solar energy to partially power their homes and businesses without the need to invest in a rooftop or home-based system.

Participating Communities

  • Venango – fully subscribed
  • Scottsbluff – fully subscribed
  • Kearney – shares available starting September 15, 2017

NPPD’s SunWise Program

Fremonters encouraged to get on waiting list for second solar farm

Tammy Real-McKeighan, News Editor, Fremont Tribune

The first solar farm is sold out, but local residents are encouraged to go to Fremont Department of Utilities and get their names on a waiting list for the second solar farm. So far, 22 people are on that waiting list. The size of the next farm would be determined by the participants on the list, said Lottie Mitchell, executive assistant to the Fremont City Administrator. Read more here.

Photo: Fremont’s community solar farm might look similar to the one in Central City. The farm is nearing the construction phase and is set to go online in January. Credit: Central City, Nebraska

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

City of Fremont Works for a Second Solar Farm After the First Sells Out

By Kari Lawrence, US92, Nebraska News Channel

FREMONT – Due to the first solar farm in Fremont selling out, and the overwhelming response from the community, the City of Fremont is planning a second farm. The City of Fremont is working toward a grant to help fund the making of the second solar farm in Fremont. The grant would come from The Nebraska Environmental Trust, which Executive Assistant of Communications and Grants, Lottie Mitchell says made the most sense. Read more here.

To learn more about Fremont’s First Solar Farm, click the following links:

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Fremont Business Park, Greater Fremont Development Council

  • 80 acres municipally-owned, shovel ready; Olsson Associates master planned site
  • 10MW power available with ability to grow with customer
  • Power rates in the 4.5 to 4.9 cent range per kWh – Municipally-owned utilities
  • Fixed rate period up to 5 yrs. available per Nebraska State law and dependent on size and scope of project
  • Municipality has two sources for power backup; NPPD & OPPD through automatic interconnect agreements

Earlier Articles Showing the Solar Farm’s Progression

UNK will purchase more than half of the electricity from Nebraska’s largest solar farm in Kearney

By Cole Epley, Omaha World-Herald

Operators of the state’s largest solar farm have yet to publicly market shares of the community solar project being built at Kearney’s technology park. But six months before Chicago-based SoCore Energy completes the project in Kearney, organizers have already landed a high-profile taker that will purchase more than half of the electricity generated by the $11 million project. The University of Nebraska at Kearney expects to get about 12 gigawatts of electricity a year from the 5.8-megawatt solar farm through its purchase of about 3,600 “shares” in the project. Continue reading.

Photo: Jon Watts, left, UNK’s vice chancellor for business and finance, with Kearney Mayor Stan Clouse. The solar farm is being built in Kearney. Credit: UNK Communications

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

5 Ways OPPD Is Making the Greater Omaha Community More Solar Friendly for Customer Owners

The first four steps that OPPD has stated it is undertaking to provide customer-owners with the information and tools they need to “go solar” are posted on our Home Page. These will make the solar installation process more streamlined and cost-effective for installers, code inspectors, and customers.  Additionally, OPPD is moving forward on community solar development. (See August 5th update, below).

OPPD is to be commended for taking each one of these steps for all customer owners who want to install a solar system on their homes and/or businesses or who wish to participate in a community solar program.

      • OPPD plans to offer solar installers and code inspectors training on the interconnection process and is currently reviewing three major items prior to that effort. They are:
      • OPPD Distributed Generation (DG) Manual: This document provides the guidance and specifications that inter-connected systems, such as solar arrays, are required to meet prior to going “on-line.”
      • The ConnectDER: Effective July 1, 2017, the ConnectDER has been accepted by OPPD for use on certain Distributive Energy Resources (DER), including solar installations. The device has the potential of creating a “fast track” for residential (net metering) solar applications.  The ConnectDER offers various advantages, including added protection of house circuit breakers and the Distributed Energy Resources installation, itself. Any questions should be directed to Wyndle Young 402-636-3552 or email at wlyoung@oppd.com
        ConnectDER Video
         
      • OPPD Website: Renovation of the Distributed Generation portion of OPPD’s website.
      • OPPD has met with representatives from 12 different groups, including Nebraskans for Solar, to discuss concepts for community solar projects, and has issued a Non-Sealed Bid Request for Community Solar Proposals (August 5th Update):

Photo: Solar farm on a former landfill. Credit: Energy Center

Council approves solar energy system for Capitol Beach site

By Nancy Hicks, Lincoln Journal Star

The group of homeowners interested in developing the 100-kilowatt solar energy system on land owned by the Capitol Beach Neighborhood Association had a letter from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission recommending it put the solar panels farther to the north to avoid affecting saltwort growing in the wetland area. The group has agreed to do that, said Terry Wittler, a Lincoln attorney and one of three Capitol Beach homeowners, who created Beach Solar LLC, which is developing the solar energy system. Read the entire story here.

Photo Credit: Lincoln Journal Star

RELATED READING
Capitol Beach would have first community solar energy project
The group, which has incorporated as Beach Solar LLC, hopes to have up to 20 Capitol Beach homeowners invest in the solar system, according to Terry Wittler, one of the homeowners involved in the development.

Update: Fremont Council talks Municipal Code, Costco and Community Solar Farm

By Sam Pimper, Fremont Tribune

First National Bank Fremont is providing financing for the Community Solar Farm, and all shares of the farm have officially been sold, City Administrator Brian Newton said during Tuesday’s meeting. Newton said that he is working on acquiring an additional 1,500 panels because the demand has been so great from [the Fremont Department of Utilities] customers. Ten to 15 people are signing up for slots in the farm daily, he added. “The plan is to take it from around 1 megawatt, which is 3,382 panels, to near 5,000 panels, which is about 1 1/2 megawatts,” he said. “So that is really good news.” Read the entire news story here.

Photo: 300-kilowatt photovoltaic system installed by J-Tech Solar on top of the former Meadow Gold Dairy House at Seventh and M Streets in Lincoln’s historic Haymarket. The business complex is now owned by Telesis, Inc. With 940 solar panels, the array is one of the largest privately-owned solar projects in Nebraska. Credit: Nicholas Bergin / Lincoln Journal Star

Fremont’s Solar Farm – A Model for Other Nebraska Towns and Cities Considering a Community Solar Program

The Fremont Solar Farm, now under construction on a 10-acre tract of land south of Jack Sutton Drive, will consist of 3,900 solar panels when completed. The solar farm will be operational by the end of 2017. Fremont Department of Utilities customers have the opportunity to purchase solar shares up to 80% of their kilowatt hours of usage. In a recent Fremont Tribune interview, City Administrator Brian Newton said 40% of the shares have already been sold. GenPro Energy Solutions, based out of Piedmont, South Dakota, with a business location in Lexington, Nebraska, is installing the solar farm.

To learn more, click the following links:

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Fremont’s Community Solar Farm in final approval stage

By Sam Pimper, Fremont Tribune

The farm itself will encompass approximately 5 of the 10-acre plot being developed. The Community Solar farm would consist of approximately 3,900 panels, and anybody who is a customer of the Fremont Department of Utilities would have the opportunity to purchase solar shares that would cover up to 80 percent of their used Kilowatt-hours. Currently, more than 40-percent of the farm has been sold, with nearly 50 percent of signups happening within two weeks. Read more here.

Photo: Dodge County Courthouse. Credit: Chris Bristol

ALSO IN TODAY’S NEWS