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Cozad to benefit from solar panels to bring clean, affordable energy to community

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COZAD — The city of Cozad and N Solar have cut the ribbon on a 2.4-megawatt solar energy system that could power 400 homes annually.

The installation by N Solar will provide power directly to the city’s electric utility and is at Second and Monroe streets.

“By working together, we are able to provide clean power to our community in a cost-effective way,” said Nikki Schwanz, Cozad city administrator. “We are excited to partner with N Solar on our solar energy system and bring even more affordable and clean energy to our customers.”

Although Cozad contracts its power through Nebraska Public Power District, it can generate up to 2.4 megawatts of its power on its own, opening the possibility for the city to add solar energy to its portfolio.

The city’s utility will purchase energy from the array at a fixed-price during a 30-year period providing energy savings and protection from price volatility present in a typical retail electricity contract, according to a city of Cozad press release.

Incorporating low-cost, renewable power into a city’s energy portfolio represents a financially efficient and attractive strategy for Cozad to attract businesses, according to the press release.

“We are already seeing industries look at us because we have added a green energy component to our utility mix. This will be a great tool for economic development,” said Jen McKeone with Cozad’s Development Corp.

N Solar is a three-company coalition consisting of Mesner Development, GenPro Energy Solutions and Sol Systems, that provides energy solutions to municipal utilities and power districts throughout Nebraska.

Sol Systems, a Washington, D.C.,-based solar energy developer, financed the system through its joint venture with investment firm Capital Dynamics, which will be the long-term owner and operator of the system.

“Cozad will greatly benefit from 30 years of low-cost, clean energy at a price protected against inflation,” said Anna Noucas, director of originations at Sol Systems.

GenPro Energy Solutions, a renewable energy construction firm based in South Dakota, provided construction for the array, which began in November 2020 and reached commercial operation last month.

Mesner Development Co. is a real estate development firm specializing in affordable and workforce housing. Its owners, Cliff and Kathy Mesner, are both attorneys practicing in Central City. In addition to housing, the Mesners have helped several cities develop community solar.

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