Tag Archives: OPPD’s Community Solar

Are utilities co-opting community solar? Critics question term’s use

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

In Omaha, critics say the public utility’s community solar offering doesn’t share enough benefits with participants.

Last month, Omaha’s public utility unveiled details for a program that will help customers buy solar power without having to install their own panels. Omaha Public Power District’s community solar program follows a year of stakeholder meetings, but some critics say it’s a stretch to call it “community solar” because participants won’t share enough of the financial benefits. “It’s not really community solar,” said Don Preister, a customer who recently put solar panels on his home. Click here to read more.

Photo: PressReleaseFinder / Creative Commons

ABOUT KAREN UHLENHUTH
Karen spent most of her career reporting for The Kansas City Star, focusing at various times on local and regional news, and features. More recently, she was employed as a researcher and writer for a bioethics center at a children’s hospital in Kansas City.

MORE BY KAREN

OPPD community solar project could allow for 100 percent renewables, in theory

By Cole Epley, Omaha World-Herald

By the end of 2020, OPPD expects more than 50 percent of its retail electricity sales to come from renewable sources, most of that from wind turbines . . . The math is pretty simple. “When you pair the district’s supply-side suite of energy generators with someone who wants to go up to 50 percent participation in a community solar program, they would at that point achieve 100 percent renewable energy designation on an annual basis,” Brad Underwood, OPPD’s director of corporate planning and analysis, told the utility’s board of directors on Tuesday . . . Of course, the variability of wind- and solar-powered generators means that the 100 percent designation would be theoretical. Read the entire article here.

Photo: Kearney, Nebraska Community Solar
“OPPD management doesn’t expect to award a contract for actual construction of the district’s first community solar project until perhaps April or May.” – Cole Epley

MORE ON NEBRASKA COMMUNITY SOLAR & AN UPCOMING WEBINAR

In his article, Cole Epley references Fremont’s Community Solar. Last December the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) completed a case study: Inside the City of Fremont, Nebraska’s Community Solar Program, which can be downloaded here. 

Based on multiple interviews with citizens of Fremont, Nebraska, this case study describes how program design and a latent demand for solar power led to selling out the 1.5 MW solar farm in seven weeks. This case study also includes insight into the commercial and industrial demand in small town Nebraska.

Save the Date! On April 5, 2018 from 1 to 2 pm, SEPA will present a webinar called, “Avoiding the Growing Pains of Community Solar.” The speakers will include Brian Newton, City of Fremont Administrator and Fremont Department of Utilities Manager.