Solar Panel Developer Applies For Federal, Not State, Approval

A major energy firm is seeking federal rather than state approval of its 5-megawatt solar panel energy plant it plans to install close to Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that energy industry developer Coronal Development Services, LLC, based in Virginia and New York, is withdrawing its application from the Nebraska Power Review Board, instead hoping its application will be received and approved quicker by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Under the federal Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, energy companies are allowed to obtain “self-certifications” from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Doing so will enable Coronal to go forward with the project under federal, not state, supervision, which it hopes will speed up the process.

If approved, Coronal will build the first commercial solar energy installation in the state. There are currently more than 2,200 businesses in the United States that offer solar panel installation services.

Nelson Teague, an attorney withe Coronal, hopes a federal approval will enable construction to commence with a tentative completion deadline by the end of this year.

“Coronal Development Services, LLC has completed the self-certification process with many of our projects and are very familiar with it,” Teague said.

According to him, the process for federal approval is relatively basic. Coronal subsidiary company Holdrege Solar Center, LLC will certify the project as one that falls under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s jurisdiction. As an alternative energy facility, the project is potentially subject to federal regulations and special rates. If approved, the company can build the project without needing the approval of the Nebraska Power Review Board.

Tim Texel, the board’s executive director, is not surprised by Coronal’s decision. He claims it is “quite common” for alternative energy companies to apply for self-certification. All the Nebraska Power Review Board wants, he said, is a notification that the company is applying to the federal government.

However, the board will review the developer’s decision to withdraw on May 22nd.

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