Tag Archives: Cliff Mesner

N Solar and Cozad Cut the Ribbon at City’s New Solar Energy Facility

Sol Systems News Release

COZAD, NE – August 17, 2021 –Today, the City of Cozad and N Solar cut the ribbon on a 2.4 MWdc solar energy system that will provide power directly to the city’s electric utility. The system is located at 2nd and Monroe Streets will provide enough electricity to power 400 homes annually.

Although the City contracts its power through Nebraska Public Power District, it can generate up to 2.4 MWdc of its power on its own, opening the possibility for the City to add solar energy to its portfolio. The City’s utility will purchase energy from the array at a fixed-price over a 30-year period providing energy savings and protection from price volatility present in a typical retail electricity contract.

“We are excited to partner with N Solar on our solar energy system and bring even more affordable and clean energy to our customers,” said Nikki Schwanz, Cozad City Administrator. “By working together, we are able to provide clean power to our community in a cost-effective way.”

Incorporating low cost, renewable power into a City’s energy portfolio represents a financially efficient and attractive strategy for Cozad to attract businesses. Cozad’s Development Corporation helped to drive this project forward for the City. According to Jen McKeone with CDC, “We are already seeing industries look at us because we have added a green energy component to our utility mix. This will be a great tool for economic development.”

The project was developed by N Solar, a three-company coalition consisting of Mesner Development, GenPro Energy Solutions, and Sol Systems, that provides energy solutions to municipal utilities and power districts throughout Nebraska.

Sol Systems, a Washington-DC based solar energy developer, financed the system through its joint venture with investment firm Capital Dynamics, who will serve as the long-term owner and operator of the system.

“Cozad will greatly benefit from 30 years of low-cost, clean energy at a price protected against inflation,” said Anna Noucas, Director of Originations at Sol Systems. “The City was a fantastic partner and are part of the growing number of forward-thinking municipalities that and leaders who value solar as a key part of their present and future energy strategy.”

GenPro Energy Solutions, a renewable energy construction firm based in South Dakota, provided construction for the array, which began in November 2020 and reached commercial operation last month. GenPro will also provide maintenance on the system throughout its life.

Molly Brown, Executive Vice President of Energy Development at GenPro Energy Solutions said “After several years of project development and finding the right solution for the City of Cozad, we’re excited to add Cozad to the growing number of municipal utilities who understand both the environmental and economic development benefits of distributed solar generation. Having a solar farm sited within the community it serves can be a source of pride for the Cozad community for years to come.” 


N Solar is a three-company partnership designed to provide every Nebraska community with the opportunity for clean energy integrated with local public power districts and municipal utilities. N Solar comprises Nebraska’s Mesner Development in partnership with GenPro Energy Solutions in site development and construction, and Sol Systems in financing, ownership, and power purchase agreements. To date, this team has developed, constructed and financed over 19 megawatts of solar in Nebraska.


Sol Systems is a leading national solar energy firm with an established reputation for integrity and reliability across its development, infrastructure, and environmental commodity businesses. To date, Sol has developed and/or financed over 1 GW of solar projects valued at more than $1 billion for Fortune 100 companies, municipalities, counties, utilities, universities, and schools and provides services to nearly 17,000 customers across the US. The company was founded in 2008, is based in Washington, D.C., and is led by its founder. Sol Systems works with its team, partners, and clients to create a more sustainable future we can all believe in. For more information, visit https://www.solsystems.com. 


GenPro Energy Solutions is an energy service organization, with a global depth of experience in solar and energy efficient technologies. GenPro partners with businesses, municipalities, utilities, state and national governments on projects that range from energy efficient lighting systems to development of utility-grade solar energy farms. Fully certified solar design team including: NABCEP, SEI and ASES. GenPro currently serves 200+ energy-related dealers in North America. They are listed among Solar Power World Magazine’s “Top 500 Solar Contractors” for the past five consecutive years.


Mesner Development Co. is a real estate development firm specializing in affordable and workforce housing. Its owners, Cliff and Kathy Mesner, are both attorneys practicing in Central City, Nebraska. In addition to housing, the Mesners have helped several communities develop community solar.

Media Contacts:

Sol Systems: Will Patterson, William.patterson@solsystems.com, 240-778-3530

GenPro Energy Solutions: Phelan Scherer, phelan.scherer@genproenergy.com, 605-341-9920

Mesner Development: Cliff Mesner, cliff@mesnerlaw.com

As Nebraska Public Power celebrates 50 years, Scottsbluff solar project goes online

By Jerry Purvis, Scottsbluff Star-Herald

It was Nathan Johnson’s last official day as Scottsbluff city manager as he joined city officials and representatives from Nebraska Public Power District to cut the ribbon on the community’s new solar energy facility. NPPD Account Manager Terry Rajewich welcomed the public to the ceremony at the Landers Soccer Complex north of Scottsbluff.

“Partnerships are what we’re about,” Rajewich said. “NPPD is turning 50 this year and Scottsbluff has been with us for the past 46 years. They were the first to express an interest in purchasing more of its power from solar generation.” Continue reading here.

Thank you to everyone who attended our event last evening at UNO’s Community Engagement Center!

First of all, thank you to our speakers: Anna Noucas, Project Development Manager at Sol Systems, based in Washington DC, and Jeff Berggren, Nebraska Program Manager for GenPro Energy Solutions, headquartered in Piedmont, South Dakota.

They provided excellent presentations on a large number of solar projects completed throughout our state and others in the development or planning stage. As their slides demonstrated, solar energy projects have increased exponentially throughout Nebraska over the past several years. Each of these projects contributes tax revenues to our local communities, benefiting our state’s overall economy, while growing jobs.

The discussion that followed their presentations generated numerous insightful questions from audience members. Thank you to all our attendees, who were mainly from Omaha and Bellevue but also included people from Lincoln, Central City, Elkhorn, Bennington and Council Bluffs.

We also wish to thank two special guests, who contributed their professional expertise to the discussion:

  • David Bracht, former Director of the Nebraska Energy Office, who in August 2018 rejoined the law firm Kutack Rock and whose practices include renewable energy and agribusiness.
  • Cliff Mesner, from Mesner Solar Development in Central City, who has completed utility scale projects in Nebraska, starting with Nebraska’s first-ever community solar project in Central City.

NFS invites all four of them back for a future panel presentation and update on our state’s growing renewable energy development.


Please mark your calendars and plan to join us again in February when our speakers will discuss a Lincoln neighborhood association’s community solar project, a first for Nebraska!

Lincoln’s Capitol Beach Community Solar Project – A Showcase Model for Nebraska
UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Rooms 230/231. February 13, 2019 – 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Terry Wittler & Jeff Buhrman, Capitol Beach LLC
Michael Shonka, Solar Heat & Electric
Click here to view a Google Earth image of the solar project.
A Q&A will follow their presentation. All our events are open to the public. If you belong to a neighborhood association, please share the event with other members.


We will hold another book drawing at our February event. for ten copies of the Solar Electricity Handbook – 2019 Edition, by Michael Boxwell

The Solar Electricity Handbook is a simple, practical guide to using electric solar panels and designing and installing photovoltaic PV systems. Now in its thirteenth edition, the 2019 Edition assumes no previous knowledge of solar electric systems. The book explains how photovoltaic panels work and how they can be used. It provides a step by step guide to successfully design and install a photovoltaic solar system from scratch.

Town supports solar energy

Fremont Tribune Staff


A Fremont’s Department of Utilities’ survey conducted in July and August examining some of the technical aspects of solar energy showed that Fremont residents are highly interested in the prospect of solar energy . . . Paul Gifford, chairman of the Board of Public Works, was pleased with the findings. “The board was very pleased with the survey’s results and appreciates the suggestions and comments received from customers,” he said. “We will continue working on the project and will share more information through bill stuffers as well as hold several community meetings early next year.” Read more.

Photo: Central City’s 200-kilowatt solar farm developed by Cliff Mesner. If developed, the Fremont solar farm would be significantly larger at 1.7 million kilowatt hours per year, providing enough power to supply 140 average homes.

Thank you to last night’s Nebraskans for Solar’s public forum speakers!

Nebraskans for Solar and our co-sponsors Creighton Energy Club and Green Bellevue wish to thank our speakers, Erin Cheese and Cliff Mesner, for their excellent presentations on community solar last evening at UNO’s Community Engagement Center. Many thanks, too, to NFS President Eric Williams for moderating the event and to everyone who attended and participated in our brainstorming session following their talks.

Cliff Mesner, owner of Mesner Solar Development, who led Central City’s efforts to create Nebraska’s first community solar garden, presented an update on that project as well as community solar projects developing in other Nebraska communities, including Scottsbluff, Venango, Holdrege, Lexington and McCook.


erin-cheese2Our main speaker, Erin Cheese, is a Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, graduate of Creighton University’s Energy Technology Program, and former Nebraskans for Solar Board member for two years. Erin presented information about:

  • The National Community Solar Partnership, which works to expand access to community solar throughout the nation, especially in low- and moderate-income households. On July 19, 2016, the White House announced a new goal to enable 1 GW of low- and moderate-income solar by 2020. Nebraskans for Solar is a member of the National Community Solar Partnership.
  • CivicPACE – Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, the CivicPACE Program is working to support solar energy deployment by bringing property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing to tax-exempt organizations, such as nonprofits, affordable housing, faith based institutions, and schools.
  • SolSmart – A national recognition and a no-cost technical assistance program for local governments designed to drive greater solar deployment and help make it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access affordable and renewable solar energy to meet their electricity needs. SolSmart supports the goals of the SunShot Initiative to make it faster, cheaper, and easier to go solar.
  • Solar In Your Community ChallengeErin announced that the SunShot Initiative will soon release information about the challenge. The program will award funds to teams in dozens of communities to develop innovative models to increase solar deployment and cut communities’ energy bills, in particular in low-income communities.  A major goal of this challenge is to reduce market barriers to solar development by spurring the deployment of dozens of projects across the nation, with an emphasis on new and emerging solar markets.


Wanted: Your ideas for new community solar projects or programs in Nebraska!

Please bring your ideas for local community solar development to Nebraskans for Solar’s public forum this Wednesday, October 12th at 7 p.m. in Combined Rooms 201/205/209 at UNO’s Community Engagement Center.

The Department of Energy’s National Community Solar Partnership will be the primary topic of discussion for this first in a series of fall Nebraskans for Solar events. You will learn about the basics and benefits of community solar and how you can help develop a community solar project or program in your local community. You will also learn about another new program supported by DOE’s SunShot Initiative: CivicPACE.

Our main speaker will be Erin Cheese, Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, graduate of Creighton University’s Energy Technology Program, and former Nebraskans for Solar Board member for two years.



cliff-mesner-3Cliff Mesner,  owner of Mesner Solar Development, who led Central City’s efforts to create Nebraska’s first community solar garden, will then join the discussion. He will present several steps for developing community solar projects, available incentives, and benefits; the current status of Central City’s solar garden; and community solar projects developing in other Nebraska communities.

A brainstorming session will follow in which the audience will divide into small groups to discuss the information presented and propose ideas for new community solar projects and programs in our local communities.

This event, which is open to the public, is co-sponsored by Creighton Energy Club and Green Bellevue. We’ve invited additional solar developers and renewable energy advocacy groups and individuals, as well as government leaders and utility company representatives.

In addition to Nebraskans for Solar, Creighton Energy Club, and Green Bellevue, there are many more organizations and agencies educating people of all ages about renewable energy in our state. These groups have also been invited to participate in our public forum, and they include in alphabetical order: Bold Nebraska, Center for Rural Affairs, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Clean Energy Nebraska, Green Omaha Coalition, Nebraska Energy Office,  Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska Green Schools, Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light, Nebraska League of Conservation Voters, Nebraska Sierra Club, Nebraska Solar Schools, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Omaha Together One Community, and Wind for Schools Program.

Please join us! Refreshments will be served. Reserved parking is available in the lot in front of the Community Engagement Center, near the Durham Bell Tower, and adjacent lots.

The National Community Solar Partnership works to expand access to community solar throughout the nation, especially in low- and moderate-income households. On July 19, 2016, the White House announced a new goal to enable 1 GW of low- and moderate-income solar by 2020. Nebraskans for Solar is a member of the National Community Solar Partnership. Included in Erin’s presentation will be information on joining the partnership and the benefits.

CivicPACE: Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, the CivicPACE Program is working to support solar energy deployment by bringing property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing to tax-exempt organizations, such as nonprofits, affordable housing, faith based institutions, and schools.

Nebraska Community Solar Links 

USDA to Host Earth Day Event in Central City – Community Solar Developers to be Honored

Published by The Central City Republican-Nonpareil

Work completed on the 200 kW community solar garden north of Central City, says Central City’s Cliff Mesner, has sparked interest across the state, leading Nebraska USDA Rural Development to invite the public to attend an Earth Day event on April 21, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

The event will be held at the Venture Center located at 1532 17th Ave. (East corner of the US Highway 30 and NE Highway 14 intersection). Link to announcement.

Central City Administrator Chris Anderson (left) and Mesner Development's Cliff Mesner display the 2016 NMPP Project of the Year Award

Central City Administrator Chris Anderson (left) and Mesner Development’s Cliff Mesner

Central City Solar Development. Photo Credit: Cliff Mesner

Central City Community Solar Development (800 solar panels) . Photo Credit: Cliff Mesner

Central City solar garden earns NMPP Energy’s Project of Year Award, The Central City Republican-Nonpareil. NMPP: Nebraska Municipal Power Pool

Thank you to Michael Shonka and everyone who attended his presentation last night!

Co-Sponsors Nebraskans for Solar and the Omaha Sierra Club would like to thank Michael Shonka for his informative and well-received presentation at UNO’s Community Engagement Center on the topic of “Central City’s Solar Farm.” We also thank everyone who braved last night’s bitter temperatures to attend the event and for your thoughtful and well-informed questions.

We regret that Michael’s friend and colleague, Chuck Marken, was unable to join us. On behalf of Nebraskans for Solar, however, Michael has let him know that the invitation to come to Nebraska and present a public forum remains open.

We also wish to thank three special guests: David Bracht, Director of the Nebraska Energy Office; Cliff Mesner, whose company developed the Central City Solar Farm and who contributed to last night’s presentation, answering a number of questions from the audience; and Don Preister, a leading pioneer in renewable energy legislation that laid the groundwork for its development in our state, serving for 16 years as a senator from Bellevue in the Nebraska Legislature.

Save the date!  You are invited to a panel presentation, “Creighton University’s Sustainable Energy Science Program” on Monday, March 23rd. RSVP required. Please see our calendar for additional details.