The Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) is planning to expand its solar power footprint.
The cities of Superior and Fremont, and Allen Consolidated Schools, are the latest Alliance members seeking help paying for solar panels.
The Nebraska Environmental Trust’s grant committee is recommending funding for those Nebraska Flyway Community Solar Projects.
Anne McCollister, NCEA director, says the grant covers a small portion of the total cost, but has a big environmental impact.
“Everyone likes clean air, so that’s a given,” McCollister tells Nebraska Radio Network. “It’s just the economics now make it so possible, but it represents sort of a modernizing of a community’s energy.”
She says those three solar projects will eliminate 56,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 25 years.
The grant request totals nearly $730,000 over two years. The City of Gothenburg is also part of the grant funding to the group, so it can expand its existing solar project.
“We’re simply modernizing, because the new sources to power energy are becoming price effective,” McCollister explains.
Larry Brittenham, Superior’s utility manager, says there will be immediate savings when energy production begins.
“When we bring our power in [now], we pay all that freight on the electricity that we buy off the market, but the solar panels are here,” he tells Nebraska Radio Network. “There’s no frieght, so we save money overall by putting in a solar farm.”
Part of Superior’s solar array will be built on the old landfill site.
The Nebraska Environmental Trust is expected to finalize its grant funding in April.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:38]