Xcel Energy plan to steer ‘solar gardens’ push

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota is looking to grow its share of electricity fueled by the sun and is counting on community solar gardens to help make it happen.

A new state law demands that utilities get 1.5 percent of their power from solar sources by 2020. Under that law, Xcel Energy Co. has until Monday to tell how the giant electricity provider would like to manage the rollout.

They are neighborhood hubs of solar panels used to generate small amounts of power. People can claim a slice of a bigger solar array through subscriptions. While the electricity produced flows into the general power grid, subscribers get breaks on their monthly bills based on their share of the energy harnessed.

If all goes as planned, the Minnesota gardens will start cropping up next year.

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