Solar gardens in the state have just reached the 100 megawatt milestone.
This is actually something of a disappointment because a few years ago, Xcel, the main energy company involved in this, projected that we’d be at 200 megawatts by some time last year. On the other hand there are close to 180 new projects in design and construction phase. A current, revised estimate suggests that the statewide solar garden production will reach that 200 megawatt goal.
Currently, Minnesota plants are produce about 15,000 megawatts of electricity. So, the solar garden electricity is only 1% of our overall current production, and current electricity production is probably close to half of what it ultimately needs to be to replace liquid and gas energy used in homes and vehicles.
One percent may not sound like a lot, but this is one percent of the overall production that comes from pretty much nowhere. Just peopled deciding to fund a few solar panels. And, we are lucky that the state legislature in the past has not stood in the way of these efforts (though Republicans in the state legislature are now actively trying to stop solar).
There are a few large scale solar projects currently producing about 162 megawatts. Hardly anybody has solar on their roof, and all those flat topped public buildings, strip malls, etc. are sitting there unused. Most of them, anyway. If we fully deploy solar, this state, which by the way is fairly sunny, should be able to produce double a lot more electricity with solar.