- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - What state officials say will be Nebraska’s largest solar energy project is expected to begin tracking the sun and delivering some of its power by June 20.

The Enerparc project will be able to output about 3.6 megawatts, enough to power around 900 Lincoln homes. It sits on a 46-acre parcel on the west side of the capital city, according to the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1WuKv26 ).

Lincoln Electric System has a 20-year contract to buy the power, with a five-year extension option.

Officials have said the solar farm won’t be the district’s most cost-effective program, but it has community support.

“The reason we have a solar project is because people asked for it,” said Marilyn McNabb, who left the utility’s board in January.

Many of the people put up money to advance the project, which the developer has said is costing about $8.9 million.

More than 1,200 district customers volunteered to pay a little extra for electricity to support solar efforts. They’re contributing nearly $6,300 a month through the SunShares program. More than $100,000 had been contributed by the end of April.

SunShares gives residents and businesses unable to mount their own solar panels a chance to help reduce Lincoln’s carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels.

The district has declined to say how much it will pay for the electricity or how the rate will compare to the cost of fossil fuel-produced electricity or other renewable sources such as wind.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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