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Stearns Lends Support to Solar Energy Project

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ST. CLOUD — Stearns County has given its support to a proposed solar energy project…for now.

Geronimo Energy is vying to get three solar fields in Stearns County accepted into Xcel Energy’s renewable energy program. It’s part of a larger project which totals 25 sites in 18 counties.

The Aurora Solar Project would have two larger solar fields in Albany and Paynesville, with a smaller field in Brooten.

Commissioner Jeff Mergen voted against supporting the project citing high public subsidies for solar energy and a rash of companies filing for bankruptcy.The remaining three commissioners voted in favor of supporting the proposal, but reserved the right to withdraw that support if they found it didn’t make financial sense for taxpayers.

Geronimo Energy says the solar farms would generate about $240,000 in tax revenue to the county and create 30 permanent jobs.

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