Omaha power utility signs contract for huge solar farm

Solar panels face the sky on Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021, in Burrillville, R.I., at ISM Solar's...
Solar panels face the sky on Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021, in Burrillville, R.I., at ISM Solar's 10-acre solar farm which is the first of its kind in the state. President Joe Biden wants to change the way the U.S. uses energy by expanding renewables, but faces several challenges. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)(Elise Amendola | AP)
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 3:12 AM CDT
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YUTAN, Neb. (AP) - Omaha Public Power District has signed a contract to build the state’s first solar power plant in eastern Nebraska, just south of Yutan.

The utility signed the contract last week to build an 81-megawatt solar farm on 500 acres of farmland in Saunders County, with construction to begin next year, the Omaha World-Herald reported. The contract was signed despite some opposition from some residents in the area, who fear it will become an eyesore and lower property values.

The project would be the largest solar farm in Nebraska and is the first step toward OPPD’s plan to provide 600 megawatts of solar power. The facility, dubbed Platteview Solar, would have the capacity to generate enough electricity to power 14,000 homes, OPPD said. But like other power plants, its actual output would fluctuate.

The project has an estimated lifespan of 30 years, officials said. Once the facility no longer generates electricity, it is to be dismantled and the land returned to farmland.

“We have abundant clean energy resources, and when we invest in energy generated here in Nebraska, we are investing in our own communities,” OPPD board member Eric Williams said.

The solar farm is expected to pay $284,958 in local property taxes annually.

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