Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Rochester Public Utilities appears ready to jump into the solar energy market.

The RPU Board will be asked next week to authorize staff to finalize a contract with Rochester Solar to develop a 10-megawatt solar farm in the Rochester area. The power generated by the facility would be sold to RPU and used to meet the community's power needs and start the municipal utility on a path to meet its goal of addressing its energy needs through 100-percent renewable sources by 2030.

RPU staff has indicated its power wholesaler, the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, has agreed to reimburse it for 1 megawatt of the solar farm’s power production. It's estimated the cost of purchasing the remaining 9 megawatts of generation will add a little less than 50-cents a month to the average residential utility bill when the facility goes online in 2022.

A survey commissioned by RPU earlier this year found a slight majority of its customers expressed a willingness to pay more for energy from renewable or other "green sources."

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