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Xcel Energy announces Solar* Connect Community milestone following lease agreement between city of Eau Claire and solar developer

EAU CLAIRE- Xcel Energy announced today it is moving forward with development of Wisconsin’s largest community solar garden program.

EAU CLAIRE- Xcel Energy announced today it is moving forward with development of Wisconsin’s largest community solar garden program.

As part of Solar* Connect Community, Xcel Energy will purchase the electricity produced by two, one-megawatt solar gardens. One will be built in the city of Eau Claire and the other in La Crosse County. The solar gardens will be constructed by Pristine Sun, a San Francisco-based leading developer of solar projects.

The city of Eau Claire signed a lease with Pristine Sun this week to build the Eau Claire solar array on 7½ acres of an abandoned landfill near the company’s Wisconsin headquarters on West Hamilton Avenue in the Sky Park Industrial Park. The Sky Park landfill operated as a municipal waste facility from 1948 to 1965.

“Solar is an excellent reuse strategy for this idle landfill, and the project is another great example of how the private and public sectors can work together for economic development and, in this case, provide a clean energy solution to the public,” said Dale Peters, Eau Claire city manager.
Xcel Energy has received a strong showing of customer interest since beginning to offer Solar* Connect Community subscriptions in late February and expects to be fully subscribed by the end of the year.

“We are pleased to offer an option for customers who want to support locally sourced solar and to collaborate with the city of Eau Claire on a prime location for one of our first community solar gardens,” said Mark Stoering, president, Northern States Power Company-Wisconsin, an Xcel Energy company. “Securing this very visible location is an exciting step in the process, and we look forward to breaking ground later this year.”

With community solar programs, customers share in the benefits of solar energy without the need to install solar panels on their own roof or maintain their own solar array. Through Solar* Connect Community customers choose their own subscription level, pay a one-time fee to subscribe and receive a monthly credit on their electric bill based on their portion of the solar energy produced. 

In addition to the solar garden in Eau Claire, Pristine Sun will construct a similar sized facility on private land in La Crosse County. Xcel Energy may also opt to build up to one megawatt of additional community solar that could be operational in 2017.

The two community solar gardens are expected to be operational by the end of 2016. For more information, visit

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