Solar Energy

Minnesota’s solar garden program takes off in 2017

Denver-based SunShare switched on projects in Montrose and Waverly, Minn., pictured, in the past two weeks. Both serve residential customers (credit: SunShare).

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — “Minnesota’s Community Solar Garden program, once mired in delays, has grown sixfold in 2017, adding enough electricity to power about 32,000 homes.

The state-mandated solar garden program, which covers Xcel Energy’s Minnesota territory, has 58 projects online, up from about 10 a year ago.

Those solar gardens together can produce up to 211 megawatts of electricity, according to Xcel, up from just 35 megawatts at the end of 2016. (A megawatt is 1 million watts.)

‘This has been a really successful year,’ said David Shaffer, an attorney for the Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association, a trade group. ‘The design and construction team for Xcel has been working nonstop.’

Minneapolis-based Xcel, Minnesota’s largest utility, administers the Community Solar Garden program, which was created by the state Legislature in 2013. It’s aimed at residents, businesses and governments that want solar energy without setting up their own rooftop solar arrays.”

— Mike Hughlett, Minneapolis Star Tribune

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