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Solar Gardens Growing in Minnesota

February 24, 2017
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Seven new community solar gardens, totaling 32 megawatts, are now generating power from the Minnesota sun. The solar gardens are part of a larger project that will total approximately 96 megawatts throughout the Twin Cities metro area and greater Minnesota. Xcel Energy, BHE Renewables and Geronimo Energy are working together to bring the project online, giving Xcel Energy customers more solar energy options.

The solar gardens are an alternative to private solar panels; residents, business owners, nonprofits and municipalities may purchase subscriptions to a solar garden without having to install solar panels on their own roof or property. Subscribers receive credit on their bills for the power their panels produce.

"The solar garden sites are moving forward because of the many people and organizations that have strongly supported them," said Richard Weech, senior vice president and chief financial officer, BHE Renewables. "We believe subscriber-based programs will be an important component of the clean energy future for Minnesota and will have a positive impact on the state's economy and environmental footprint."

The seven new gardens will produce between three to five megawatts of electricity for use by all Xcel Energy customers. Geronimo Energy developed the gardens listed below, which are now owned and operated by BHE Renewables:

Ursa Community Solar Gardens, LLC - 5 MW
1650 190th St. W., Farmington, MN 55024

Rosemount Community Solar Gardens, LLC - 5 MW
2505 160th St E, Rosemount, MN 55068

Northfield Community Solar Gardens, LLC - 5 MW
2300 North Ave, Northfield, MN 55057

Sunrise Community Solar Gardens, LLC - 5 MW
36320 Kost Trail, North Branch. MN 55056

Chisago Community Solar Gardens, LCC - 4 MW
1152 Furuby Rd, Taylor Falls, MN 55084

Paynesville Community Solar Gardens, LLC - 5 MW
18982 293rd Ave, Paynesville, MN 56362

Orion Community Solar Gardens, LLC - 3 MW
14008 Fruit Farm Rd., St. Joseph, MN 56374

Xcel Energy currently has 57 megawatts of community solar gardens online at 17 project sites as part of its Solar*Rewards Community program.

Using the Solar*Rewards program, Xcel Energy customers purchase a subscription to a solar garden in exchange for a credit on their monthly bill. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the program in early 2014 to improve access to renewable energy for businesses and residences in Minnesota.

Xcel Energy's plan is to have nearly 10 percent of its electricity generated from solar by 2030. The company will also have 262 megawatts of large scale solar on line by the end of 2017.

Source: Xcel Energy

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