Here comes the sun

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Omaha Public Power District’s plans for a community solar project are moving forward.

At the OPPD Board of Director’s June 7 meeting, the board received an update on the project, including size and location.

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.

When the community solar program is finalized, OPPD customers will have the opportunity to purchase shares of the solar energy produced. The utility will be developing the marketing campaign for these solar shares in the coming months. Stakeholder outreach will be part of this process.

OPPD received 105 proposals for community solar from 10 developers. The utility narrowed that field to a short list of 33 proposals from seven developers. The NextEra proposal stood out due to the company’s experience, reputation, flexibility and environmental sensitivity.

“We’re pleased to have been selected by OPPD for this important project,” said Matt Handel, vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources. “We look forward to working with OPPD to bring the benefits of clean, renewable solar power to its customers.”

The OPPD facility will be built east of Fort Calhoun in Washington County. It will cover approximately 35 acres. Per contract terms, the facility will go into operation by June 30, 2019.

“Fort Calhoun is excited to be a part of the first OPPD community solar project,” said Fort Calhoun Mayor Mitch Robinson. “We feel this is the start of a great partnership with OPPD and NextEra, to bring more green energy to the community and the surrounding area.”

Jodi Baker

About Jodi Baker

Jodi Baker writes stories and shoots videos for The Wire. Jodi was a television news reporter before she came to work for OPPD as a media specialist in 2013. She's married with two children (a boy and a girl) and an allergy-ridden little Cairn Terrier.

2 thoughts on “Here comes the sun”

  1. Glad to hear that this new facility will be near the town of Fort Calhoun. The communities of Fort Calhoun & Blair have suffered since OPPD shutdown a nuclear plant 17 years pre-maturely in 2016. Even this token gesture to give a little back to the community no doubt is appreciated. Even though solar in Nebraska makes no sense whatsoever. Nebraska is 44th out of 50 states in solar energy potential. This unreliable solar plant will be less than 16% efficient…that means its nameplate rating of 5 MWs will never be achieved…customers will be able to only count on less than a MW from it on average. To produce the power that came from the now defunct 24/7, 500 MW Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, over 30 square miles of real estate would be needed for a 500 MW solar plant. Some progress!

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