Minnesota Regulators Move 163 MW of Solar Projects Through Environmental Review

The Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) in September released environmental reviews for two utility-scale solar projects totaling about 163 MW.

Earlier this year, NextEra Energy Resources and Community Energy Renewables filed separate site permit applications with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) to build the approximately 63 MW Marshall solar project and the 100 MW North Star solar project, respectively.

In its review of the projects, DOC determined that construction of the solar facilities would contribute between 475 and 575 jobs to Minnesota’s economy. According to the EAs, both solar facilities would remove a total of about 1,200 acres from agricultural production. DOC said that the change in land use would result in a “negligible loss” of crop production.

The MPUC expects to issue a decision on both projects early next year so that, if the projects are approved, the companies can begin construction in time to qualify for the federal investment tax credit before its anticipated expiration.

NextEra estimates that the Marshall solar project will cost between $100 million and $130 million, and Community Energy estimates that the North Star solar project will cost about $180 million.

Lead image: NextEra’s Desert Sunlight Solar Project. Credit: FirstSolar

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