First of its kind solar farm to save people money

TEKAMAH, Neb. - Farmers in northeast Nebraska are taking on a new crop: the sun.

Burt county community members celebrated a new five acre solar farm with a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning. 

"They should be proud that they were the first utility in the state to do this," said Jon Crane, President and CEO of Bluestem Energy Solutions.

The systems are able to store energy and use it during peak hours, while supporting the area's power grid.

"It'll be able to save money as a result of that," said Crane.

But, will it lower electric bills for residents?

"Not immediately, no," said Crane. "But this is a long-term solution because the prices will be fixed."

And as time goes on and winter hits the state, the panels will still be active. 

"It'll be producing power from the light," said Crane. "It'll reflect off the ground as it is now, but with snow on the ground it'll actually produce more power."

Though it's the first of it's kind in the state, it will not be the last. Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning says it's a guide for the state.

"This is really a model for the rest of the state and in Norfolk, we're excited about getting our own project going soon," said Moenning.

Moenning says in a few months there will be a solar array like this one right outside of Norfolk on west Highway 275. 

The farms are a way to give back to the community.

"It's truly local generation," said Moenning. "This distributive generation project is going directly into the energy system here."

It looks like solar farms across the state may continue to grow.

"It's not a fad," said Crane. "It's not a political agenda. This really is the future."

The project by Burt County Public Power District and Bluestem Energy Solutions aims to generate payments to land owners and provide funds for the local schools through the extra tax on nonrenewable.