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Norfolk solar energy farm construction makes progress, Nebraska

Construction of the 8.5 megawatt Norfolk solar farm is well underway in Norfolk, Nebraska. The project was announced last year as a participant in the SunWise Community Solar initiative by Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD). Community solar is a means for members of the community to buy solar energy without having to install rooftop panels on their houses or businesses. Solar customers can purchase varying amounts of solar energy based on their annual power use. The installation of a 1MW battery energy storage system (BESS) that will be charged through generation provided by the solar unit and can be discharged daily to accomplish several goals such as voltage support, demand management, frequency regulation, and smoothing and shifting variable renewable energy generation will be an added aspect of the project for NPPD.

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The device will store roughly the amount of power that a modest home would need in two months. Nebraska Public Power District signed a 30-year contract with Sol Customer Solutions, a joint venture of Sol Systems and Arevon Energy, Inc. The asset will be managed by Arevon, while the array will be operated and maintained by Sol Systems. Sol Systems, in collaboration with partners GenPro Energy Solutions and Mesner Development, signed a leasing agreement with the City of Norfolk for the site on which the solar panels will be erected. Over 25,000 solar panels will eventually be installed at the well field site to generate power from the sun.

“We’re excited to offer this power option to citizens. Solar costs have declined significantly in the last decade, making this energy accessible at a very competitive rate. This project will work together with a battery storage system that will help us efficiently manage distribution. It will be the largest of its kind in the state,” said Mayor Josh Moenning. The solar farm is also the state’s largest solar project to date. The project incorporates an on-site pollinator habitat to support the local ecosystem and local pollinator populations. Commercial operations are expected to begin in the spring of next year.

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