Solar energy farms proposed for Rice County

December 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Slayton solar array

Slayton solar array

Slayton is home to Minnesota’s largest solar array, which holds more than 7,000 solar panels and covers about seven and a half football fields’ worth of land. The proposed Geronimo Energy project in the southwestern part of Rice County would be larger still than Slayton’s array. The proposal is awaiting a decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. (Photo courtesy of CERTS)

Solar farm?

Solar farm?

This is a map of a 27-acre site titled “West Faribault” at what appears to be the southern edge of Rice County where Geronimo Energy is proposing to construct a solar farm. (photo from PUC documents)


1. Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on earth – 173,000 terawatts of solar energy strikes the Earth continuously. That’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use.

2. The first silicon solar cell, the precursor of all solar-powered devices, was built by Bell Laboratories in 1954.

3. In the first quarter of 2012, developers installed 85 percent more solar panels compared to the first quarter of last year. Total U.S. installations may reach 3,300 megawatts this year – putting the country on track to be the fourth largest solar market in the world.

4. The biggest hurdle to affordable solar energy remains the soft costs – like permitting, zoning, and hooking a solar system up to the power gird. On average local permitting and inspection processes add more than $2,500 to the total cost of a solar energy system.

5.  In California’s Mojave Desert, the largest solar energy project in the world is currently under construction. The project relies on a technology known as solar thermal energy. Once the project is complete 350,000 mirrors will reflect light onto boilers. When the water boils, the steam turns a turbine, creating electricity. The project is expected to provide clean, renewable energy for 140,000 homes and is supported by an Energy Department loan guarantee.

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Posted: Saturday, November 30, 2013 4:30 pm

Solar energy farms proposed for Rice County



An ambitious energy company project could bring a solar panel farm to southern Rice County.

The project is part of a proposal submitted to Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in April. The farms would supply up to 113 megawatts of green energy to Xcel Energy in an attempt to meet the company’s anticipated growth in demand, as identified in a 2010 energy-needs study.

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Saturday, November 30, 2013 4:30 pm.

| Tags:

Renewable Energy,


Energy Resources,

Solar Energy Farms,

Large Solar Energy Farms,

Calpine Corp.,

Solar-energy Farms,




Mark Dayton,

Natural Gas-fired Generation,

Renewable Energy Goals,

Kevin Reuther,

Renewable And Solar Energy Standards,

Green Energy Technologies,

Todd Thornton,

Solar Energy,

Natural Gas Capacity

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