Category Archives: Community-Scale / Utility-Scale Solar

Renewable energy customers in Hastings are showing interest in solar panel shares

By Danielle Davis, KSNB Local 4 

The Community Solar Farm in West Hastings is seeing customers gravitate to solar panel shares. The community solar farm has 6,000 solar panels and more than a thousand have already been bought. This form of renewable energy reduces air pollution, makes us less dependent on imported fuels and can create more jobs in our hometown. “With the solar panel you are paying for that upfront and then we are paying you for the power it generates,” said Derek Zeisler, Director of Marketing and Energy Supply, Hastings Utilities. Watch the video here.

Additional Recommended Reading & Viewing

More Community Solar Resources 

The Coalition for Community Solar Access is a national Coalition of businesses and non-profits working to expand customer choice and access to solar for all American households and businesses through community solar.

“Our mission is to empower every American energy consumer with the option to choose local, clean, and affordable community solar. We work with customers, utilities, local stakeholders, and policymakers to develop and implement policies and best practices that ensure community solar programs provide a win, win, win for all, starting with the customer.”

CCSA & Other Resources

OPPD Board Clears The Way For State’s Largest Solar Presence, With Natural Gas Backup

OPPD News Release

Today, the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors voted to add between 400 and 600 megawatts of utility-scale solar capacity to OPPD’s energy portfolio. It will be the largest solar presence in the state of Nebraska and one of the largest in the region. The project, proposed by senior management at last month’s board meeting, also includes natural gas backup for the solar generation, to support accreditation and resiliency requirements, as well as the modernization of some of OPPD’s other natural gas assets. As the grid continues to evolve, OPPD may also look at adding voltage-support devices, which help maintain a consistent quality of electricity. The new natural gas assets are anticipated to run only when needed in order to serve OPPD’s peaking and grid support needs. Continue reading here.

The Wire News Story

OPPD takes next step towards adding state’s largest utility-scale solar presence, by Jason Kuiper

More Nebraska News

Bluestem offers tour of Fairmont wind farm, Aurora News Register 

Nebraska has bright renewable energy future, leaders say

By Matt Olberding, Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska is continuing to grow its renewable energy footprint, particularly when it comes to wind and solar. “There’s a lot of upside potential in our state because we have tremendous wind and solar resources,” John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, told attendees at the 2019 Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference and Exhibition. Hundreds of business executives, community leaders, landowners and others are attending the two-day event at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln. Continue reading here.

OPPD looking to build largest solar farm in Nebraska, still need public’s input

By DeLaun Dillard, KETV

The Omaha Public Power District wants to invest in a brighter and cleaner future, and the company’s CEO says solar energy is the best way to make that happen. “We want to make sure that decisions we make around the future generation, we maintain our current reliability and resiliency,” said OPPD CEO Tim Burke. “That’s important for us as a company but it’s really important for our community. OPPD is looking to build a solar farm with between 400 and 600 megawatts. Read the rest of the post or watch the video here.

OPPD’s board of directors wants public input before they make a final decision on November 14th. Comments will be accepted through the end of the day, Friday, November 8th here.

Photo Credit: American Public Power Association

Contracts for Hemingford Solar Project Signed

By Kay Bakkehaug, The Ledger, Scottsbluff Star Herald

A total of seven contracts for the Hemingford Solar Project were signed by Village of Hemingford Chairman John Annen last Thursday, October 3. GenPro first reached out to Annen and the Village Board not quite three years ago. Solar power wasn’t necessarily on their radar at the time so the initial email was passed off to Village Clerk Barb Straub. Just over a year ago plans really began taking place when GenPro held a town hall meeting in Hemingford to discuss the benefits of solar energy. Over the past year contracts were worked and reworked to ensure that the Village of Hemingford was getting the best deal and history was made on October 3, 2019 when the solar project plans were signed. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: GenPro Energy Solutions

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Southern Public Power approves wind farm, while some residents object, NTV
Southern Power leaders say their agreement with Bluestem Energy for four wind turbines south of Aurora goes back five years. The project was agreed to, but development was delayed. Southern officials said this amendment will increase the capacity, at a better rate.“So that will be to the benefit of all our customers. This will be made available to any commercial industrial customers in Hamilton County for those that want a renewable energy,” said CEO Neal Niedfeldt. The customers Niedfeldt has in mind are ethanol plants that can reduce their carbon footprint, and improve their margins.

Wind will speed Holy Cross Energy to 70% renewable goal, Mountain Town News
Customers of Aspen Electric, the city utility, can be excused for yawning. After all, the city was able to hit 100% renewable energy in 2015, one of the first few utilities in the nation able to make that claim. It did so by bulking up on wind power from the Great Plains, specifically the panhandle of Nebraska, but also hydroelectric power from the big dams of the West, a bit of local and regional hydroelectric, plus a tiny amount of landfill gas. The gas is burned to generate electricity.

Here comes the sun: Farmers consider solar leasing

By Sarah Donkin, Farm and Dairy

As farmers consider whether to lease their farmland for solar development, there are some concerns. Many of these leases are long-term, which means taking farmland out of production for a long time. While some developers allow farmers to graze sheep or build pollinator habitats around solar projects, this is not always the case, since different developers will include different terms in their leases. Farmers who want to continue using their land for another agricultural purpose instead of taking it out of commission entirely should be sure to negotiate that in the leases. Hall said some leases can last up to 40 years, taking an entire generation away from the land. Read more here.

Farmland Owner’s Guide to Solar Leasing, National Agricultural Law Research Publication

Hastings’ future is bright

By Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

The sun was shining on the city of Hastings Thursday afternoon for a ribbon cutting at the new community solar project. Hastings Utilities Manager Kevin Johnson joked about the fact the original plan was to hold the ribbon cutting with the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, which turned out to be cold and rainy, and HU employees wanted to take credit for Thursday’s favorable weather. The project’s 6,012 panels hummed softly as they converted sunlight. Continue reading here.

Hastings Community Solar Farm, City of Hastings

Local Events Part of National Solar Tour – The Largest Annual Grassroots Renewable Energy Event in the U.S.

This annual nationwide tour provides numerous opportunities for you to visit with Nebraskans who have invested in solar energy and with Hastings Utilities representatives at the city’s new solar farm, to gain information about how solar works, its benefits, and what local resources are available.

These open houses and tours are free, and people of all ages are invited to attend. Whether you are a solar owner, completely new to solar, or somewhere in between – these events are for you. Click links to learn more about each one and to RSVP:

Council OKs solar project that would be state’s largest

By Matt Olberding, Lincoln Journal Star

The Lincoln City Council on Monday paved the way for a solar farm east of Lincoln that would be the largest in the state. Council members voted 6-0 to grant a special permit to Ranger Power, a New York-based company that wants to build a 230-megawatt solar farm on roughly 1,100 acres in an area bounded by 128th Street, 148th Street and O Street and Havelock Avenue. Ranger Power officials said they chose the area east of Lincoln because it is close to the state’s two largest cities and also because it has existing infrastructure — in the form of a nearby transformer owned by Lincoln Electric System. Read more here.

Image: A rendering shows a series of solar panels planned as part of a project east of Lincoln.