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Distributed Energy Resources

Nebraska’s Grand Island Utilities Department Provides Update on 12.5-MW Solar Facility

Construction is set to start this month on a 12.5-megawatt solar generation facility in Grand Island, Nebraska, the City of Grand Island Utilities Department reported on Nov. 14.

The public power utility is working with Nelnet Renewable Energy on the project.

In February 2023, GIUD released a request for proposals to source bids for the establishment of the largest solar generation facility in Nebraska.

Nelnet Renewable Energy was selected as the engineering, procurement, and construction partner recommended for city council and mayoral approval.

On June 27, 2023, Ryan Schmitz, Director of Utilities at GIUD, presented the project before the City Council. Schmitz highlighted the project's potential impacts and the enduring benefits it holds for the city's residents.

Jess Baker, Nelnet Renewable Energy director of special projects, and Travis Kepler, engineering manager, were also present during the meeting and engaged in a Q&A session with council members.

The presentation resulted in a unanimous council vote in favor of greenlighting the project for immediate implementation.

Collaboration between the Nelnet Renewable Energy team and GIUD was instrumental in the selection of the ideal site and optimal scale for the solar installation, GIUD said.

Located next to an existing community solar facility and a strategically positioned substation, the 43.73-acre parcel chosen by the team offers a direct pathway for seamless interconnection, the public power utility noted.

“Thanks to the initiative shown by Mr. Schmitz and Assistant Utilities Director Lynn Mayhew to develop a solar facility of this size, Grand Island utility customers will benefit from renewable energy generated right here by GIUD,” said Grand Island Mayor Roger Steele.

“In addition, the partnership between Nelnet and Grand Island will enable us to bring back the tax dollars that our taxpayers send to Washington DC and pay for the construction of this pioneering project with federal funds,” Steele said.