ST. CLOUD -- With the popularity of solar gardens on the rise, Stearns County has decided to look into whether it makes sense for them to join one. County commissioners heard a presentation from Geronimo Energy today (Tuesday) on the potential benefits and limitations on joining a solar garden for some of its electricity needs.

County Administrator George Rindelaub says if they chose to enroll with Geronimo, there is no enrollment fee and the county wouldn't be responsible for providing any land.  They would simply sign-on to a long term contract in exchange for savings on their electricity costs.  Rindelaub admits, however, the cost savings may not be enough to make it worthwhile if it means an additional drain on staff time and additional accounting measures.

Rindelaub says it's too early to determine how much cost savings the county could see by joining a solar garden. He says more research is needed to see if it makes sense.

Commissioners directed county staff to look into the issue and report back with more information at a future county board meeting.