A New York company is preparing to build a 230-megawatt solar power farm east of Nebraska’s capital city of Lincoln, making it the biggest solar installation in the state.
Ranger Power, which is based in Brooklyn, New York, said it has arranged leases with the owners of more than 1,000 acres near a Lincoln Electric System substation and intends to seek a local permit for the solar farm.
The project development manager, Colin Snow, said Ranger has talked to three major Nebraska utilities — Lincoln Electric, Omaha Public Power District and Nebraska Public Power District — about buying the power but has not sealed any deals. The company wants to build the entire $230 million project in one phase, but that could be difficult if it does not get enough power purchase commitments
Ranger Power has done more than 20 solar projects in eight Midwestern states. Snow said the Lincoln site was attractive because of the substation nearby and the proximity to the state’s “major load stations” of Lincoln and Omaha.
C.J. Walsh, the company’s vice president of development, said “there’s a great opportunity to sell power in Nebraska.” That’s because utilities are always looking to diversify their power sources, and solar power can act as a stable hedge against other power sources that have more volatile prices, he said.
The company hopes to start construction within two years, and the work would take six to 12 months.
The project would create more than 300 temporary construction jobs but only about a half-dozen permanent jobs, said Pat Haverty, vice president of the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development.