Dunayskaya Solar Park

YORK – York is ready to go green.

A proposed solar site to generate electrical power in York will show the city is utilizing renewable energy and it will provide consumers an option for going green if they so choose.

It also indicates the city cares about sustainability through conservation and other programs that protect the environment and its resources.

Craig Vincent, Nebraska Public Power District Account Manager, explained to the York City Council this past week that NPPD has been doing community solar projects for the last two years.

He said NPPD works with a developer and the city to put in utility scale solar sites – NPPD goes out for proposals, asks for bids, then NPPD and the awarded bidder enter an agreement for NPPD to buy the power generated at that solar site. Meanwhile, the city and the developer enter an agreement for the usage of the land where the solar site is located.

“Our intent is to provide the city and customers access to renewable solar power,” Vincent said.

“NPPD does all the heavy lifting, the city provides the land,” Vincent said.

Such a project will require between 15 and 20 acres – and Vincent said the city already owns several locations, several parcels of that size (as the site would be located on land that is already city-owned).

“That’s the extent of the city’s financial involvement,” Vincent told the council. “There is no financial risk for the city at all. NPPD enters an agreement with the developer – one big advantage is that there is no up front investment by customers.”

NPPD has already done projects such as this in other communities in the state, including in Kearney and Scottsbluff.

“The projects have been well received because it allows people to get involved in renewable generation without a cost to the city,” Vincent said further. “While the user won’t see a huge savings, the benefit is the city can say we’re in with global greener energy.”

He also noted there are manufacturers in the York community that participate in corporate environmental programs. Subscribing to this type of local renewable energy source could be attractive to those companies as a way to help them meet their corporate benchmarks.

The council was asked to approve a letter of intent toward this project.

“The purpose of the letter of intent is not binding, the city can exit at will,” Vincent said. “But it’s a symbolic measure – it indicates the council is in favor of moving forward.”

“We have the space and we have the land, this is a no brainer,” said Councilman Ron Mogul.

The other council members agreed and the letter of intent was approved.

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