Nebraska public power utility Wahoo Utilities recently provided an update on a solar project in the City of Wahoo, Neb.
“The 2 MW Solar project started from our Board of Public Works' interest, after seeing many throughout the state. The main benefit of this project and partnership was affordable power very closely priced to what we buy our blended power from the Nebraska Public Power District,” said Ryan Hurst, General Manager of Wahoo Utilities. “The 30-year contract on this purchase power agreement was a way to hedge a portion of our power portfolio affordability for the next 30 years.”
When Wahoo Utilities started to develop a solar project that could supply renewable energy, it knew a location close to a substation would be ideal, the utility noted in a Jan. 26 news release.
After the initial selected site fell through, Wahoo Utilities invited development partner GenPro Energy Solutions to speak to area business leaders at a monthly economic development meeting.
It was here that member Denise Lawver stepped up with an offer of adjacent land. The land would be leased to the solar project, and the lease payments would go to a Trust benefiting the Wahoo Public Library, where Lawver is the Director.
The project began development in late 2020 and was approved for construction in July 2022.
A partnership between GenPro Energy Solutions, Sol Systems, Mesner Development, and Wahoo Utilities, it has 6,534 solar panels and a total capacity of 2-MW-ac.
The project and hydroelectric power from the Western Area Power Administration, in combination with the nuclear and other clean energy resources of the NPPD, allow Wahoo Utilities to have a balanced electric generation mix between carbon free and traditional energy resources, the utility said.
“We know this is a new community asset for economic development, as many companies want to have power provided to them from local carbon-free sources. Add in the new Trust benefiting the Library Foundation, it is an absolute win-win,” Hurst said. “All around this is a great partnership and we are excited to work with Sol Systems and GenPro for many years to come.”
A ribbon cutting at the site will be followed by a community gathering at the Wahoo Public Library on February 13.
Ribbon-cutting attendees will include Wahoo Mayor Perry Johnson, Board of Public Works members, and others who played a crucial role in making the project a reality.