Tag Archives: utility-scale solar development in Nebraska

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

Nebraska Communities Embrace Solar

By Ariana Brocious, NET News

In the last year, solar power has taken off across Nebraska. Communities around the state have invested in small projects to help diversify their electricity sources and offer renewable energy alternatives to residents.

On the east side of the city of Fremont, a 10-acre parcel has sprouted thousands of metal posts, which will soon hold solar panels. Once fully built, Fremont’s new community solar farm will offer a sharp contrast to the nearby coal plant, which provides enough power to supply the whole city, according to Fremont City Administrator Brian Newton. But the coal plant is aging. So when Newton came to Fremont a couple years ago, city officials started looking at ways to diversify the power supply. They bought 40 megawatts of power from a wind farm south of Hastings. Then Newton used a federal grant to explore building a community solar project. “What we found out was, as a municipality, we could finance and do it cheaper than what we could buy it from a power purchase agreement or any other arrangement,” Newton said. The next step was a community survey to gauge interest from customers. Click here to continue reading. 

Photo by Ariana Brocious, NET News: Fremont’s new community solar farm will be adjacent to its existing coal-fired power plant. The posts are in but the solar panels haven’t yet been installed.

Your Invitation to a Public Forum on Community Solar

To learn more about different types of community solar development in Nebraska and the benefits to our cities and towns, join Nebraskans for Solar and co-sponsoring organizations on Thursday, December 14 at 7 pm at UNO’s Community Engagement Center.

Nebraskans for Solar Board Member Leo Arens will moderate a presentation and discussion on “Community Solar” by a panel of local Solar Champions:

  • Clifford Mesner, Mesner Development, Central City
  • Brian Newton, Utility General Manager, Fremont
  • Jeff Buhrman and Terry Wittler, Capitol Beach Neighborhood Solar LLC,  Lincoln
  • Jeff Berggren, GenPro Energy Solutions, Lexington
  • Michael Shonka, Solar Heat & Electric, Omaha
  • Nebraska Public Power District Spokesperson, Columbus

Co-sponsored by Green Bellevue and Sierra Club. All our events are open to the public. Please join us and contribute to the discussion! Refreshments provided. Click here for parking information.

Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy