Groundbreaking at Sherco Solar
CLEAR LAKE (WJON News) - A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday at the site of what will be the upper Midwest’s largest solar array.
Officials with Xcel Energy broke ground on Sherco Solar, a 460-megawatt power plant that will generate enough power for 100,000 homes.
Xcel Energy’s Chairman, President, and CEO Bob Frenzel says this groundbreaking is unique.
This is the largest solar facility that Xcel Energy will own and operate. It's the largest in the Upper Midwest region; it's going to be the fifth-largest solar facility in the entire country. And at over almost $700 million of investment, it's going to symbolize one of our single largest projects that we've ever built, and certainly our largest investment into solar to date.
Frenzel says the plant will employ thousands during the construction process and hundreds during operation.
Phases 1 and 2 of construction will be placed on over 3,000 acres. The total for these two phases is estimated at $690 million with an additional $200 million over the next 35 years in payments to landowners or taxes to the community. Once complete, there will be over a million PV cells on the property, tied together with miles of electrical cable and surrounded by 25 miles of fences.
In addition, a battery storage test plant will be located on the site. Currently, batteries can store wind or solar generation power and repower the grid for about four hours. This new technology being tested will increase that time to over four days of power.
Sherco Solar is expected to be complete in 2025.
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