- Associated Press - Sunday, December 13, 2015

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (AP) - The plans for a community solar power project that would provide enough electricity for nearly two dozen homes are moving forward in Scottsbluff.

The Scottsbluff Star-Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1TJtJHr ) the City Council preliminarily approved the Nebraska Public Power District’s plan for the project. But before the project will be built, NPPD wants to sign up at least 20 customers for the power. If more customers sign up, the size of the project could be enlarged.

Scottsbluff was chosen because it’s a hub for the utility in western Nebraska and has plenty of land available.

NPPD’s Tim Arlt said the city also has good prospects for solar power because it is on the western end of the state.

“For the sun, the farther west you go it is pretty solid,” Arlt said. “It’s attractive from a solar perspective. It’s the best in the state.”

Several other communities have expressed interest in solar power. Arlt said the lessons from this project will help NPPD determine whether this is something that should be done elsewhere in the state.

NPPD estimates that electricity costs would start around 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour and increase over time to 11.99 cents per kilowatt hour in year 20, but those are only estimates.

The cost of the electricity the project would provide won’t be clear until after it gets further along. NPPD plans to request proposals from solar power companies to build the solar power array and sell the electricity to the utility.

Officials also are still working out how long customers would have to commit to solar power to make the project feasible.


Information from: Star-Herald, https://www.starherald.com

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