Minnesota Regulators Approve Xcel Energy Solar Power Expansion
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Minnesota regulators today approved plans for what Xcel Energy is describing as one of the biggest solar projects in the nation.
The Public Utilities Commission voted in favor of the utility company's plans to expand the Sherco Solar project in central Minnesota. The vote was unanimous to approve the construction of additional solar arrays with the capacity to produce 250 megawatts of electricity. That’s in addition to the 460-megawatt solar array currently under construction near the huge Sherco coal-fired powerplant in Becker.
Xcel Energy says the 710-megawatt solar power facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2025 and will replace the power generating capacity of the Sherco-1 coal unit that is scheduled to be retired later this year. In a news release, Xcel indicated the project is a "key element of Xcel Energy's clean energy transition and will help the company triple the amount of solar on its Upper Midwest system by 2028."
The utility company says the expanded solar array is designed to produce enough electricity to power around 150,000 homes a year. The estimated cost of the expansion project exceeds $400 million and the overall cost of the Sherco solar project is estimated at more than $1 billion.