Solar power farms gain momentum in Fremont

Published: Sep. 16, 2019 at 6:19 PM CDT
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More than 300 households and counting have made the switch to the solar power system in Fremont, Nebraska.

Two years ago, Tom Christensen of Christensen Lumber was among the first to sign up for the city’s solar panel system.

“It stirred my interest so it seemed like a real progressive thing for the city to do,” said Christensen.

Since the summer of 2017, hundreds have joined the movement and Lottie Mitchell, the City of Fremont Executive Assistant of Communications and Grants was not expecting such a large turnout.

“At first we were a little overwhelmed with the response but it does make sense. It gives people options, it allows you to lock in your electricity rate, there are so many benefits that it’s not surprising that people wanted to sign up,” said Mitchell.

Interest has been so high that the city built a second solar farm outside of town. There are now about 8,000 panels at the two farms.

Sue Reyzlik has long been interested in solar power for her home, but she didn’t want the panels on her roof. She bought several panels that will provide about 80 percent of her electric use.

Homeowners can buy panels for $180 each or rent its use.

“I opted for the shares so I pay a slightly higher premium for solar energy but knowing that I’m using renewable energy and green energy is one of the main reasons for opting into the program,” said Reyzlik.

Fremont is nowhere near-total reliance on renewable energy. Coal remains the main source of power for the city, but at least now, homeowners have the option.

Many are choosing green.