Minnesota Builds Second Giant Solar Farm, Will Power 17,000 Homes


The Aurora Solar Project is one of the largest solar energy projects in Minnesota, and now the plant is up and running after years of development.

The Aurora Project consists of sixteen individual solar power plants in Minnesota, contracting together to provide electricity to Xcel Energy through a long-term contract. The Aurora Project costs $290 million and is owned by Enel Green Power North America. The project produces around 100 megawatts of power or enough to power 17,000 homes throughout the state.

The only other solar project in Minnesota that can rival Aurora in terms of scale is North Star, a 100-megawatt power plant based in Chisago County, which also provides power to Xcel. The $180 million North Star project is located on a single 1,000-acre site.

Enel North America is a subsidiary of Italy’s Enel Green PowerSpA, and their largest solar project in all of North America is Aurora.

“The completion of Aurora is another major milestone in our continued strong growth in the U.S.,” said Head of Enel Green Power North America, Rafael Gonzalez.

Enel also owns two wind farms in Minnesota, including a large 200-megawatt project in the state’s southwest corner.

Minnesota is the nation’s leader in wind energy production, with a solar power output that is much smaller. That small solar portfolio is growing, however, with Aurora, North Star, and other solar projects coming online recently. Since late last year, Minnesota’s solar energy output has crossed the 430-megawatt threshold, a tenfold increase since the third quarter of 2016.