By Ethan Hewett, KMAland.com
(Murray) — Plans have been revealed for one of the largest solar farms in the state in southeast Nebraska. That’s according to Cass County Zoning Administrator Michael Jensen, who says Boulevard Associates has revealed plans for a proposed 320-megawatt and 3,200-acre solar farm just north of Murray. Jensen says the Cass County farm would be one of the largest in the state in both land coverage and production. Read more here.
NFS Note: NextEra Energy Resources is the parent company for Boulevard Associates, LLC.
FEATURED ORGANIZATION & WEBSITE
The AgriSolar Clearinghouse is an information-sharing, relationship-building, public communications hub for all things agrisolar. The AgriSolar community will:
- Connect farmers, developers, researchers, and the public
- Provide practical technical assistance
- Develop best practices and innovative solutions to barriers
- Evaluate innovative financing options
- Promote sustainable agrisolar opportunities
MORE RESOURCES OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
- Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar, Department of Energy
- The Center for Pollinators in Energy provides information about co-locating solar and crop production and pollinator-friendly standards and practices for solar sites.
- Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy
Utility-Scale Projects Under Development
- Bellwood: 174.5 MW
- Burt County: 250 MW
- Clay County: Up-to 305 MW
- Lincoln: 250 MW
- McCool Junction: 310 MW
- Murray: 320 MW
- Pierce County: 443 MW
- Saunders County: 81 MW
FEATURED PROJECT – PLATTEVIEW SOLAR IN SAUNDERS COUNTY NEAR YUTAN
About the Project, Community Energy
In April 2021, Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and Community Energy (CE) announced a Power Purchase Agreement for Platteview Solar, an 81 megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar photovoltaic installation with a proposed location just south of Hwy 92 near Yutan in eastern Saunders County.
The project site consists of approximately 500 total leased acres, spanning several clusters of land with a flat, gently rolling topography. This announcement supports OPPD’s Power with Purpose initiative. The official project announcement is on OPPD’s The Wire. OPPD is the lone customer for Platteview Solar’s energy, providing long-term stability and support.
Among the questions, the following is one that often comes up in discussions about utility-scale solar projects:
Doesn’t solar take good agricultural ground out of production?
Community Energy: Not in a meaningful way. Saunders County is 486,400 acres of ground. The Platteview Solar project impacts approximately 500 acres.
Farm ground used for solar projects does not necessarily mean the end of agricultural use on the land. It will be different than traditional crops, but a robust pollinator program can benefit not only the project properties, but cropland, orchards, residential gardens, trees and other landscaping within 30 miles of the project site.
Additionally, the traditional agricultural nature of the property is not permanently lost. The benefits of restorative vegetation on nitrogen and CO2 depleted land improves agricultural land for the future. Solar projects are a long term, but temporary, use of agricultural land that allows landowners to diversify their assets, creating financial stability and allowing agricultural land to remain in families for future generations.
LAND LEASE RESOURCE
Considerations for Leasing Land for Solar Development,
by F. John Hay, Extension Educator for Bioenergy,
University of Nebraska Lincoln
Links to More Extension Resources
- Utility Scale Wind
- Small Wind
- Wind Measurement (MET) Towers
- Solar PV Systems
- Solar PV Economic Analysis
- Utility Scale Solar
- Solar Water Pumping
- Solar Electric on the Farm
FUN HOBBY FOR ALL AGES
This Extension program is open to Nebraska homeowners, schools, businesses, parks, homeowner associations, farmers, acreage owners and community gardens.
The Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification application form with complete requirements and lists of pollinator-friendly plants is available here.