The victories keep coming for Minnesota. While the state was only the 12th-largest solar market in 2016, it was by far the leading market in the Midwest. This year it is becoming not only a regional leader but a national one, with 203 MW-DC installed in the first quarter alone, largely due to a robust community solar sector.
Today the state marked another victory in its move into solar, with Enel Green Power putting officially putting online the 16 individual solar plants that comprise the 150 MW-DC Aurora solar project. The 16 sites are together expected to generate around 210 gigawatt-hours annually, and the project holds a long-term power contract with Xcel Energy.
“We are proud to be a part of growing Minnesota’s energy economy through maximising the utility-scale distributed solar model,” explains Rafael Gonzalez, head of Enel Green Power North America.
“This model, which we have implemented through the Aurora solar plant, consists of the installation of multiple small-scale solar sites to supply green energy to communities across the state, and furthers our ‘open power’ approach to open energy access to more people, new technologies and new uses.”
The Aurora project represents an estimated investment of $290 million, and utilizes single-axis trackers supplied by Soltec.
Minnesota’s moves into renewable energy are not limited to solar, and the state has the most aggressive renewable energy mandate in the Midwest. Under this standard Xcel, as the state’s largest utility, is required to procure 31.5% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020.
Likewise Enel is building wind as well as solar in Minnesota, and has constructed two wind farms totaling 230 MW in the state.