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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


LinkedIn putting solar power to work

November 1, 2022 | Jason Kuiper | energy efficiency, energy savings, renewables, solar
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LinkedIn’s 121,550-square-foot, 560-kilowatt-hour canopy solar array was installed in July 2022. Photo by Danielle Beebe-Iske

Anytime a customer makes the switch to solar power, OPPD officials recognize that as a great step, no matter how big or small the investment.

In the case of LinkedIn, the investment in solar power is one of the largest in the state. The company’s 121,550-square-foot, 560-kilowatt canopy solar array was installed in July 2022. Morrissey Engineering designed the carport solar array system in LinkedIn’s parking lot.

LinkedIn officials said they are committed to being carbon negative by 2030, meaning they are “driving energy efficiency, accessing clean energy now, and in addition, will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than we emit across our full value chain by 2050.”

The company expects the solar investment to lower operational carbon emissions by an estimated 400 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Officials also expect the array to reduce energy costs by about 30% annually and to increase energy resilience overall. They estimate the array to supply approximately 15% of the energy used at the site.

Interest in solar power growing

OPPD officials said that as more customers follow LinkedIn’s lead, the environment will benefit and the demand on the grid will decrease. That will be especially helpful on the days when energy demand is highest. The hottest days of the summer, when air conditioners are working overtime, are typically the highest-demand days.

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LinkedIn officials expect the solar array to reduce energy costs by about 30% annually. Photo by Danielle Beebe-Iske

Interest in solar power has taken off in recent years as adding solar panels has become easier and more affordable.

The number of solar applications received by OPPD this year has nearly doubled, from about 600 in 2021 to about 1,000 this year, said Kirk Estee, manager of Alternative Energy Solutions at OPPD. The utility has added staff to handle the growing interest in solar power. OPPD now has 10 meter techs who perform solar testing and validation.

Anyone interested in solar should educate themselves on solar power before purchasing a system, Estee said. Customers should familiarize themselves with the different kinds of panels available and what the installation process entails.

“OPPD has tools to help customers make the right choice when it comes to adding their own generation,” Estee said.

He cited OPPD’s list of participating trade allies and  OPPD’s solar calculator as valuable tools that can be easily found on OPPD’s website.

Decarbonizing their electricity supply

“Decarbonizing our electricity supply is a key component to achieving our carbon neutrality, and we aim to source 100% renewable energy across our global portfolio in this decade,” said Peggy Brannigan, Director of Environmental Sustainability at LinkedIn.

Laura Strode, the OPPD account executive who works with LinkedIn, said LinkedIn’s investment can serve as inspiration for other companies that are looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

“Clearly not every company is able to go to the lengths LinkedIn has gone to,” she said. “But there are many ways to become more energy efficient. And OPPD is always ready to help customers do just that.”


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About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

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