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Saunders County approves solar farm construction near Yutan

May 24, 2021 GMT

WAHOO, Neb. (AP) — A county board in eastern Nebraska has approved plans by Omaha Public Power District to build the state’s first solar power plant.

The Saunders County Board voted unanimously last week to approve a conditional use permit for the solar farm, despite some local opposition to the project and a vote by the county’s local planning commission against it, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

OPPD revealed in April that it had signed a contract to build the huge bank of solar panels on 500 acres south of Yutan. The project would be the largest solar farm in Nebraska and is the first step toward the utility’s plan to provide 600 megawatts of solar power. The 81-megawatt facility, dubbed Platteview Solar, will have the capacity to generate enough electricity to power 14,000 homes.

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Construction is scheduled to start in spring 2022, and the facility is expected to start generating electricity in spring 2023.

Utility officials have said the project has an estimated lifespan of 30 years. Once the facility no longer generates electricity, it will be dismantled and the land returned to farmland, officials said.