MINNEAPOLIS (Feb. 21, 2017) – 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.
“We’re proud to work with dedicated partners as we bring more solar energy options to our customers,” said Christopher Clark, president, Xcel Energy – Minnesota. “Xcel Energy is on a path to deliver a third of our energy from renewables by 2030, and solar plays a role in achieving this ambitious goal.”
Community solar gardens reflect Minnesota’s growing commitment to renewable energy. 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.”
"Geronimo Energy is proud to be investing in our home state through Xcel Energy's Minnesota Solar*Rewards Community program," said Blake Nixon, president, Geronimo Energy. "With over one million solar panels in operation or currently being installed in Minnesota, we are pleased that our projects have created new jobs and positive local economic impacts, such as landowner payments and increased tax revenue."
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:
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.
For more information on community solar gardens please visit the Xcel Energy website.
About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
About BHE Renewables
BHE Renewables is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy and headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Since 2012, BHE Renewables has invested extensively in solar, wind, geothermal and hydro projects. As a long-term owner of assets, the company’s photovoltaic solar projects include the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farms in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.; the 586-megawatt Solar Star projects, two projects co-located in Kern and Los Angeles counties in California, a 49 percent ownership interest in the 290-megawatt Agua Caliente project in Yuma County, Ariz., and a series of community solar gardens near Minneapolis, Minn. More information is available at www.bherenewables.com.
About Geronimo Energy
Geronimo Energy is a utility-scale renewable energy development company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Geronimo has developed over 1,600 megawatts of wind and solar projects that are currently in operation or under construction. Geronimo provides custom renewable energy development solutions for utilities and corporations looking to harness renewable energy for business growth. For more information about Geronimo Energy, visit www.geronimoenergy.com.
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