The switch has been flipped in SlaytonPublished by on
SLAYTON – More than seven thousand solar panels began producing power Friday in Slayton after being connected to Xcel Energy’s distribution system, according to renewable power developer Ecos Energy. The solar array is the largest in the state, with 2 megawatts of output, the equivalent of the power used by 250 homes.
The project has 32 rows of solar panels covering an area the size of 7 1/2 football fields on what once was a cornfield.
With the Slayton site up and running, the solar array atop the Ikea store in Bloomington slips into the number two spot with 1 megawatt of output.
Ecos Energy deliberately sited its array near Buffalo Ridge in southwest Minnesota, an area with more than 70 wind farms. Xcel intends to study whether daytime-only solar power and nearby wind farms' intermittent generation can complement each other. Wind often is strongest at night. Xcel spokeswoman Patti Nystuen said that a year's worth of data will be needed to conduct the analysis.
Xcel will purchase the power under a 20-year agreement whose terms have not been disclosed. Regulatory filings say the Slayton project cost about $7 million, with $2 million from Xcel's Renewable Development Fund. The state-mandated fund gets its money from utility ratepayers.