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Solar Energy Increasing in Minnesota

Solar Energy Increasing in Minnesota Click to Enlarge Photo: KNSI News

Jan 11, 2017 at 8:50 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/KNSI) - Minnesota's solar energy capacity made great strides in the last year and state officials don't expect the pace of growth to slow down.

In 1996, enough solar energy was generated to power 16 homes in Minnesota. By 2015, 35 megawatts of capacity was generated, or enough to power more than 39,000 homes. And last year, that capacity grew to 250 megawatts.

Chisago County has more solar capacity that any other county in the state.

Minnesota's largest solar energy facility, the new North Star project, is located in Chisago County.

There, solar panels produce up to 100 megawatts, power purchased by Xcel Energy.

In the St. Cloud area solar power is becoming more common.

St. John's University in Collegeville started a solar farm in 2009 and is looking to expand it.

In St. Cloud a company is looking at building a solar garden on 10-acres of Assumption Cemetery near Roosevelt Road.

In October of 2015, the St. Cloud City Council approved rezoning a 37-acre tract of land northeast of the wastewater treatment for a 5 megawatt solar garden and in July the city decided to put solar panels on the water treatment plant on Fifth Avenue North, near Hester Park, the police station and two fire stations.

In the fall the ground was broken on a future solar garden in Cold Spring.

Solar energy projects at a Metropolitan Council wastewater treatment plant in Shakopee and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport recently came on line, boosting the state's capacity.

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