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Seven regional solar gardens powering Xcel customers

Seven new community solar gardens, totaling 32 megawatts, are now generating power from the Minnesota sun.

The gardens are part of a larger project that will total approximately 96 megawatts. Xcel Energy, BHE Renewables and Geronimo Energy announced they are working together to bring the project online.

"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," said Christopher Clark, president, Xcel Energy — Minnesota.

Community 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 panels on their own roof or property. Subscribers receive credit on their bills for the power their panels produce.

Geronimo Energy is a utility-scale renewable energy development company headquartered in Minneapolis.

President Blake Nixon said he is proud that company is contributing to renewable energy in its home state,

"With over 1 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," he said in the news release.

Each of the gardens will produce 3 to 5 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, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy in Des Moines, Iowa. The seven gardens include:

• Ursa Community Solar Gardens, Farmington

• Rosemount Community Solar Gardens

• Northfield Community Solar Gardens

• Sunrise Community Solar Gardens, North Branch

• Chisago Community Solar Gardens, Taylor Falls

• Paynesville Community Solar Gardens

• Orion Community Solar Gardens, St. Joseph

Xcel Energy currently has 57 megawatts of community solar gardens online at 17 project sites. For more information, visit the Xcel Energy website.