Energy Storage

NPPD solar project tied to storage advances with city approval

The City Council for Norfolk, Neb., on April 15 approved an agreement for the state’s largest community solar project with Nebraska Public Power District that will be tied to a battery energy storage system (BESS) demonstration project expected to be in operation by mid-2020.

NPPD, with support from the city of Norfolk, received a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust in the amount of $490,000 over two years for the BESS project, which will be the first of its kind in the state, NPPD noted on April 16. The BESS is 1MW/2MWh, noted Mark Becker, Supervisor, Corporate Media and Media Services, at NPPD.

The April 15 action by Norfolk leaders will bring a community solar project to the community similar to what has been done by NPPD in three other Nebraska communities, NPPD said.

As the project comes closer to completion, NPPD in partnership with the city will host an open house for Norfolk customers to explain its Sunwise Community Solar program, answer questions, work with customers interested in purchasing solar energy and explain the details of the program and assisting with registration.

The planned Norfolk solar project is 8.5 megawatts in generating capacity, eventually making it the largest in Nebraska, NPPD noted. The project will be built on land owned by Norfolk at the city’s well fields.

As part of the Sunwise Community Solar Program, NPPD has a facility in Kearney that has been in operation for nearly a year generating 5.7 MW. Smaller solar arrays in the program are located in Scottsbluff (128 kilowatts) and Venango (98 kilowatts).

This past fall, NPPD with the support of the city of Norfolk, submitted a grant request to the Nebraska Environmental Trust that was approved earlier in April.  Norfolk committed to participate in the funding request as a grant partner and would be providing in-kind support by providing the real estate for the project site, weekly inspections, and guiding public tours.

The battery energy storage system would be charged through generation provided by the solar unit and discharged daily to accomplish several goals.