State Regulators Approve Large Solar Energy Farm Near Byron
(Byron, Mn (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has unanimously approved plans for a large solar energy farm in Dodge County.
The 4-0 vote yesterday followed testimony from various state agencies and representatives of Dodge County and Canisteo Township where the sprawling solar energy electrical generation facility is planned. The County and the Township voiced concerns about the amount of high-quality farmland that will be removed from production and the project’s exemption from County and Township zoning rules because of its size.
The $256 million Byron Solar Project calls for the installation of solar energy panels on more than 1500 acres of land in an area southwest of Byron. The plans also include a three-mile-long high-voltage power transmission line connecting the solar arrays to the Southern Minnesota Municipal Energy Agency power substation just outside Byron to link it to the region's power grid.
With the PUC's approval of various permits needed for the project, a representative of EDF Renewables told the commission the firm intends to begin acquiring the land needed for the project in hopes of starting construction next year and generating electricity at the site in 2025. The planned maximum output of the new solar farm is about 200 megawatts.