Columbus, Neb. – Starting Sept. 15, 2017, residential and commercial customers who live in Kearney will have the opportunity to purchase solar shares in the City’s SunWise Community Solar Program. The facility, which will be constructed in Kearney’s Tech oNE Crossing Technology Park, is expected to come online early next year. NPPD has been working with Kearney officials over the past year to develop their respective program, which will be the third of its kind in the state.
“NPPD’s community solar program enables NPPD to partner with its retail communities interested in pursuing their own solar projects,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “Under this program, NPPD works with the community and a selected developer to purchase the output of a solar unit. End-use customers can then participate in the program and pay for shares via their electric bill.”
SoCore Energy, based in Chicago, is the solar developer for Kearney’s project. SoCore will sell electricity to NPPD, and NPPD will resell this energy to Kearney solar subscribers at cost. City Mayor Stan Clouse said 5,499 shares of the project’s 7,099 total community solar shares have already been allocated. Starting Sept. 15, the remaining 1,600 shares will be offered to residential and commercial customers.
Interested Kearney residents may sign up online for solar shares by clicking this link, https://sunwise.nppd.com/, and choosing the Kearney project. They may also call NPPD toll-free at 1-877-275-6773. NPPD will review all solar requests and contact the subscriber with more information including the customer’s program eligibility, cost, number of shares available, etc. before finalizing the purchase agreement. Additional information about the program can be found at http://www.nppd.com/innovation/solar/community-solar.
Solar subscribers can stay in the program for as short as one month or as long as the length of the power purchase agreement of the solar developer, typically 20 years or more.
Solar shares are sold in 150-kilowatt hour increments. For the Kearney project, one share will only cost solar participants 81 cents more on their electric bill each month. The average residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month would be eligible to purchase up to five shares.
“Today, solar energy costs a little more than NPPD’s current energy resources, so depending on the number of solar shares purchased, the participating customer will pay a bit more on their monthly electric bill to start,” explained City Manager Mike Morgan. “Should the cost of NPPD’s traditional resources go up, solar energy could become a cheaper option in the future.”
At 5.76 megawatts, or a total of 22,464 solar panels, the Kearney SunWise project will be the largest solar facility in the state when it comes online early next year. When generating at full capacity, the facility will be capable of serving approximately 5 percent of Kearney’s peak electric load, or approximately 900 homes.