Skip to main content

Minnesota is officially home to the Midwest's biggest solar energy plant

It'll generate enough energy to power 20,000 homes.

Minnesota officially has the largest solar energy facility in the Midwest, and one of the largest in the U.S.

Xcel Energy and Swinerton Renewable made announcements on social media Wednesday afternoon.

The 1,000-acre North Star Solar Project, as it's called, is located just northeast of the Twin Cities in North Branch. And construction – which started earlier this year – has just wrapped up.

The Chisago County facility is made up of more than 440,000 solar panels and will generate enough electricity to power 20,000 homes.

An earlier news release says those panels use tracking technology to follow the sun as it rises and sets, from east to west.

But it's not up and running quite yet. Xcel Energy's Facebook post says the plant will start pumping out energy in December.

According to LGCY Power, the largest solar energy facility in the U.S. is Solar Star in California. It generates enough electricity to power 255,000 homes.

Xcel Energy's renewable energy plan

This project is part of Xcel Energy's plan to provide more energy from renewable resources.

Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy Minnesota, said earlier this year that “this large scale solar project is part of our plan to double the amount of renewable energy we deliver to customers and achieve a 63 percent carbon free energy by 2030.”

In effort to reach that goal, the Minneapolis-based company has signed a 25-year agreement saying it will buy energy from the new solar facility.

Xcel has already been using solar power. At the end of last year, it had the capacity to power 53,000 homes for an entire year. It also has a Solar Rewards program available in Minnesota, Colorado and New Mexico that helps customers instal their own solar panels.

The company also harvests energy from wind and water. You can learn more about Xcel Energy's renewable resources here.

In the coming decades, Xcel may shut down some of its coal-fired units to cut carbon emissions.

Next Up

minneapolis police

Man fatally shot overnight in north Minneapolis

The shooting was reported around 2:20 a.m.

Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 8.30.08 AM

Campsites closed at Voyageurs National Park due to 'historic' water levels

All backcountry trails and campsites are closed, as well as many frontcountry sites.

state capitol Minnesota

Lawmakers reach agreement on tax cuts ahead of session's end

Lawmakers announced they had reached a deal on a tax bill Saturday ahead of the looming session deadline.

281699116_10226502238438986_800951410789352812_n

Victims of daytime drive-by shooting in Robbinsdale identified

The two men died after a hail of bullets struck a vehicle.

Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 8.14.37 AM

Source of 'loud explosion' in Brooklyn Park a mystery

The noise was investigated by police, but no source could be determined.

covid, vaccine, booster shots

COVID: All Americans over 50 advised to get a second booster

Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise again as new COVID variants emerge.

J.W. Peck (left) and Eric Galler.

2 Minnesotans inducted into White Castle's Hall of Fame

White Castle — it's what a man in Minneapolis and another in Woodbury, crave.

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 5.46.37 PM

Video shows officers ended pursuit before fatal crash in Anoka

The crash occurred when the driver fled police during an attempted traffic stop in Coon Rapids.

Eli Hart

6-year-old Eli Hart identified as boy found dead in car trunk

The kindergartner's father was trying to get full custody of his son.

IMG_3509

Boy found dead in trunk of car in Mound was kindergartner

"It is horrifying and difficult to process a tragedy of this magnitude, especially in our close-knit community," the superintendent wrote.

Minneapolis police

Man found yelling for help after being shot in Minneapolis

The shooting occurred on the 800 block of Elwood Avenue North at around 9:15 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 9.56.21 AM

Minneapolis North principal says she was fired, district says otherwise

“MPS requires schools to follow protocols in times like that and I did not,” Friestleben said.

Related

Minnesota is on pace to quadruple its solar energy capacity this year

In the first three months of 2017, Minnesota's doubled the solar capacity it had last year.

Minnesota is now home to well over 100 renewable energy companies

The renewable energy sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in Minnesota.

Rally against Hennepin Co. Sheriff's involvement with N.D. pipeline

Activists rally against Hennepin County's involvement in the North Dakota pipeline protests.

Pipeline protests: Officials shoot drone that attacked a helicopter

People on board the helicopter say they were "in fear of their lives."

Duluth's energy plant is taking a long summer vacation from coal

During a 7-month trial run, they'll use natural gas to power the plant that heats and cools downtown buildings.

Here's what Xcel Energy's plan for MN power plants means for you

Minnesota energy regulators are set to rule on Xcel Energy's plan to cut carbon emissions and boost renewable energy. Here's what it means.

Another step away from coal: MN Power plans a big new natural gas plant

They also have deals to buy more wind and solar energy.

Xcel sets sights on hitting wind energy milestone

In four years, it could have enough wind energy to power every home in Minnesota.