News | October 19, 2016

Midwest's Largest Single Solar Facility Will Soon Deliver Clean Energy To Customers In Upper Midwest

Xcel Energy, partners celebrate construction completion of 100 megawatt North Star Solar facility

Construction is complete on the North Star Solar project in Chisago County, Minnesota, making it the largest single solar facility in the Midwest and one of the largest in the country. More than 440,000 solar panels spanning 1,000 acres near North Branch are expected to produce enough energy to power more than 20,000 homes. The project is expected to come online in December 2016.

The North Star Solar project will generate 100 megawatts of electricity and is a $180 million investment in Minnesota as well as Chisago County. Swinerton Renewable Energy built the facility and employed more than 300 people during peak construction. It joined partners Chisago County, D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments, L.L.C. (DESRI), Community Energy Solar and Xcel Energy, to celebrate the end of construction today.

“We are proud to be the host community for the largest solar project in the Midwest,” said Mike Robinson, Chisago County commissioner. “This facility brings real economic value to our community and the people who live here. The construction of North Star created many jobs and the local area is expected to receive about $350,000 of production and property tax revenues each year from the project.”

Originally developed by Community Energy Solar, the property is now managed by an affiliate of DESRI.

“We appreciate the hard work of our partners, Xcel Energy, Community Energy, and Swinerton, in helping bring this large-scale project to completion,” said Bryan Martin, managing director and head of U.S. Private Equity at the D.E. Shaw group. “We are proud of the jobs that have been created, as well as the clean energy this facility will provide to the region’s residents and businesses for years to come.”

“This project is part of our vision to bring utility-scale solar at a competitive price to Minnesota and the broader Midwest,” said Eric Blank, president of Community Energy Solar, LLC. “We were drawn to Chisago County as a great combination of available land, welcoming communities and a strong interconnection point that is close to Minneapolis and St. Paul.”

Xcel Energy will purchase power from North Star as part of a 25 year deal to provide solar energy to customers across the Upper Midwest. Additionally, the electricity generated at North Star will help power the Minnesota State Capitol Complex through Xcel Energy’s Renewable*Connect Government Pilot Program, if approved by the Public Utilities Commission.

“We’re pleased the largest solar project in the Midwest will deliver the clean, renewable energy our customers want,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy – Minnesota. “We are on a path that more than doubles wind and solar energy options and the North Star project plays a role in our goal to be 63 percent carbon free by 2030.”

The company’s ultimate goal is to have eight percent of our electricity generated from solar by 2030. Learn more about Xcel Energy’s plans to increase clean, renewable energy in the company’s 2015 corporate responsibility report.

SOURCE: Xcel Energy