ST. PAUL (AP) — State energy officials are joining with power companies to try to derail a proposed $250 million solar energy project in Minnesota.

Edina-based Geronimo Energy plans to build about 20 large solar power arrays to meet future electricity needs of Xcel Energy customers.  It would include 20-25 sites in 18 counties, including Stearns and Benton.  Two of the biggest would be near Albany and Paynesville,  with smaller ones near Brooten and Sauk Rapids Township.

But the Minnesota Commerce Department, Xcel and two other companies that want to build natural gas power plants are urging state regulators to reject the company's plans.

Three weeks ago, an administrative law judge concluded solar would be a better deal than natural gas generation. He recommended the state Public Utilities Commission approve the Geronimo project.

The state Commerce Department contends the judge assumed electrical demand would grow slower than once projected.

Solar supporters are disappointed by state energy officials' position.