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OPPD to build solar farm in Saunders County

Posted at 11:19 AM, Apr 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 17:05:47-04

SAUNDERS COUNTY, Neb. (KMTV) – Community Energy Inc. is leasing 500 acres in Saunders County near the intersection of Yutan Road and County Road K to build a solar facility.

OPPD’s power to purpose goal is to have 400 to 600 megawatts of solar energy in the state.

"This is kind of the first one in our series of potential projects that we were able to announce,” said Courtney Kennedy, manager of alternative energy programs at OPPD. “I’ll say behind the scenes we're continuing to evaluate a number of different projects locally around OPPD service territory. We will likely have more coming soon."

Construction will begin in 2022, bringing around 150 to 200 construction jobs to the Yutan and Saunders County area.

"They have talked about sourcing locally for what they can,” Kenendy said. “Once it's online, it will bring two to three full-time jobs to operate and maintain the facility."

One concern residents have is the solar facility will become an eyesore and lower property value.

"Provide trees and fencing where needed. They will meet with any impacted landowners, and work with them on what is a reasonable negotiation to put trees up so that they have a pleasant view,” said Michaela Valentin, manager of government and community relations at OPPD.

If the plan is executed, every year the Yutan School District could receive around $200,000.

"There is a nameplate capacity tax that is called an excise tax, and it is set at a certain dollar amount for each megawatt,” Valentin said. “That money is returned to the county and then it is dispersed to various entities."

The facility alone is said to be able to power roughly 14,000 homes.

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