Two new solar projects have been approved for the state of Minnesota.
Minnesota regulators on Thursday approved a solar power project near Marshall, MN, that will be the second-largest in the state.
NextEra Energy Resources was cleared to build a 62-megawatt solar generator on 515 acres of farmland three miles east of Marshall. One megawatt is 1 million watts of electricity.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted to approve the project, rejecting concerns that it violated state policy against building energy projects on prime farmland.
The other large solar farm, approved in January, is the $180 million, 100-megawatt North Star Solar project on 800 acres southeast of North Branch in Chisago County.
Both solar projects are expected to be built this year.The state is on its way to meeting its citizens' mandate:
By 2020, 1.5 percent of the electricity sold by the state's major utilities — Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power and Otter Tail Power — must come from solar generation.