Members of the city council recently gave approval to what could turn into the state’s the state’s largest community solar project with NPPD. Three such projects already exist elsewhere in Nebraska. The project also will be tied to a battery energy storage system demonstration project expected to be in operation by mid-2020.
“As technologies have advanced and costs have decreased, rural Nebraska is now in position to produce energy as efficiently as it does food,” said Mayor Josh Moenning. “We are excited to initiate Nebraska’s largest solar project, tied to the state’s first battery energy storage system, while helping lower energy bills and provide renewable options to interested citizens and businesses.” Read more here.
See Solar Examples for additional photos and descriptions of community-scale solar projects in Nebraska.
Read additional editorials, news releases and stories about Nebraska’s Community-Scale Solar projects, completed or under development.
Photo Credit: SoCore Energy Project: Kearney’s solar farm consists of approximately 23,000 panels on 53 acres located in the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. The array is currently Nebraska’s largest solar project, generating 5.8 megawatts of electricity, or about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand. Developer: SoCore Energy Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program
Request Community Solar In Your Community:
If you are an NPPD customer who lives in another town or city and would like to request community solar for your community, click here to submit the SunWise Community Solar Interest Form.
Derek Zeisler, director of marketing and energy supply for Hastings Utilities, gave an update on the power project during the Hastings Utility Board meeting Thursday. Members of the Hastings Utility Board voted recommend approval during their February meeting of a $2.38 million bid from GenPro Energy Solutions for a 1.5 megawatt AC solar project with the purchase option. The project has a completion date of Sept. 2, 2019 . . . Zeisler said Thursday this first phase of the solar project will include more than 6,000 panels within three arrays, most likely off of Highland Road just west of the Hastings Municipal Airport. There is plenty of room there to
expand with future phases. Hastings Utilities is moving forward with three pricing options. Read more here.
Photo: Fremont’s first of two 1.55-megawatt solar farms.
Credit: Troy Schaben, Assistant City Administrator, Fremont Department of Utilities
Approval was given Monday at the Norfolk City Council meeting regarding the state’s largest community solar project with NPPD. The project will be tied to a battery energy storage system (BESS) demonstration project expected to be in operation by mid-2020. NPPD, with support from the City of Norfolk, received a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust in the amount of $490,000 over two years for the battery energy project, which will be the first of its kind in the state . . . “As technologies have advanced and costs have decreased, rural Nebraska is now in position to produce energy as efficiently as it does food,” said Mayor Josh Moenning.
SoCore Energy Photo: Kearney’s 5.7-megawatt solar farm on 53 acres of the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. The solar farm generates about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand.
Chadron qualifies for a 1.15 megawatt community solar project, and all Nebraska Public Power District customers within city limits would be eligible to purchase shares to have up to 100 percent of their electrical usage generated by solar power. The city would be required to purchase any unsold shares. Read more here.
Photo: First Fremont Solar Farm, 1.55-megawatts. The city completed a second solar farm of the same size in September 2018 to accommodate strong customer demand.
Credit: Troy Schaben, Assistant City Administrator, Fremont Department of Utilities
NPPD’s SunWise Program
NPPD customers can request community solar for their town or city by submitting the SunWise Community Interest Formhere,
By subscribing to one or more shares, OPPD customers will get to share, among the other participants, in the opportunity to help produce clean energy today in support of a cleaner energy future! Read about other benefits and watch a brief video featuring Green Bellevue President Don Preister presenting his views on this new programhere.
By Katie Siegner, Scott Wentzell and Whitney Mann, Minnesota Post
Installed solar capacity in Minnesota crossed the 1-gigawatt threshold last fall, and is set to grow sixfold by 2030 to meet the state’s 10 percent solar energy goal. The management of the land below the panels — most commonly seeded with turf grass — offers an important opportunity to provide multiple environmental and agricultural benefits in addition to carbon free energy generation. Last fall, our team of graduate students at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies conducted a cost-benefit analysis of solar development on farmland in Minnesota, and the results were illuminating. By developing projects as pollinator-friendly — the practice of planting deep-rooted grasses and wildflowers throughout a project site — solar developers have the potential to provide habitat for threatened pollinator species, restore important prairie ecosystems, and boost the crop yields of nearby fields. Read more here.
Note about OPPD’s Community-Scale Solar Farm now under construction by NextEra: Courtney Kennedy, OPPD Alternative Energy Program Manager, announced at Nebraskans for Solar’s March 13th public forum on OPPD’s Solar Farm, located on an acreage in Fort Calhoun, that it will be pollinator-friendly, with native plants, as well.
OPPD customers can now buy a piece of solar energy. Beginning April 1, customers can enroll in the utility’s community solar program on oppd.com. The program allows participants to use clean, locally generated energy without the expense of installation and maintenance costs of solar panels on their roof. Customers who currently rent their homes are also eligible. In June, 2018, OPPD awarded a 20-year power purchase agreement to a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. The agreement is to build a 5-megawatt solar facility in Fort Calhoun, Neb. Learn more here.
Researchers at Argonne National Lab in Illinois and the National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado think that a rapidly growing energy sector may be a key opportunity. Not only could pollinator habitat mitigate possible solar-field damage, like soil erosion and the loss of plant species, but could actively help fortify the soil and environment.
Rob Davis with Minnesota-based nonprofit Fresh Energy, which advocates for things like renewable energy, said putting pollinator habitat under solar panels could also be a boon for rural areas. He said the combination gives landowners another form of steady income and helps pollinate crops around the area. Read more here.
Sol Systems CEO Yuri Horwitz shares a view from the front lines of the solar sector. Greentech Media
America overwhelmingly supports renewable energy. As of January 2019, 73 percent of Americans support the further development of renewable energy, according to The Pew Research Center, which is one of the largest pluralities in history. The United States has the largest electricity load in the world, and these same Americans are electricity customers who support both policy initiatives for renewable energy and who will create the demand for renewables in the next decade. In 2018, we noted that Americans overwhelmingly support our industry, but we did not anticipate how rapidly this would translate into renewable support at the state level. Read more here.
Solar Array: Sol Systems and GenPro Energy Solutions partnered with the City of Lexington to develop, finance, and construct this 3.9 MW solar farm. The array produces enough energy to power 700 homes each year. Through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Lexington locked in 25 years of price certainty against volatile wholesale electricity rates.
Recently Posted NPPD to plug in more solar energy, Scottsbluff Star Herald A new source of electricity will soon be available to Scottsbluff residents and businesses when a 4.6 megawatt solar project comes online by the end of the year. Construction on the solar array should begin during the summer of 2019 at the southeast edge of the Landers Soccer Complex north of Scottsbluff. The array will include more than 14,000 solar panels that will track the sun throughout the day. NPPD has entered into a 25-year purchase agreement with solar finance and development firm Sol Systems for a fixed solar electricity rate of 5.19 cents per kilowatt hour.