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(Neb)-Chadron Council Approves Next Step Toward Possible Solar Project  Listen

By: John Axtell Posted at: 04/02/2019 05:56 PM
CHADRON - The Chadron City Council has approved a Letter of Intent with Nebraska Public Power District for a Community Solar Project, a solar power array whose electricity would be sold to NPPD if enough of its local customers subscribe.

     A committee appointed by the council last year had more than 100 NPPD customers indicate they'd be interested in participating. The committee also recommended 2 potential sites, both on East Niobrara, one for a 500 kilowatt array and the other 1,150 kilowatt - the largest allowed for the program.

     The Letter of Intent authorizes NPPD to solicit bids on behalf of the city and recommend a developer for the project. If a solar panel array is built and not enough NPPD customers sign on, the city would be responsible for the remaining shares.

      City Manager Greg Yanker emphasized to concerned council members that approving the letter of intent does not commit the city to going through with construction, only getting and reviewing bids.

     He said an escape clause in the agreement with NPPD allows the city to put off a final decision until a firm estimate on the rate customers would pay for the electricity is done and the city can gauge the likelihood of its having to get involved as a power customer.

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City Council member Cheryl Welch, one of the leaders of the local chapter of the climate change activist group Citizens Climate Lobby, was excited to see the city taking the next step forward on the Community Solar Project.
 
     NPPD's Sunwise Community Solar program currently operates arrays in Scottsbluff, Kearney, and Venango with a larger second project moving forward in Scottsbluff and projects in various stages of progress in Norfolk, O'Neill, Ainsworth, Pawnee City, and Loup City as well as Chadron.


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