CAMP RIPLEY -- At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, the Minnesota National Guard unveiled their new $23,000,000 Solar Farm.

The Farm is a partnership between the Guard and Minnesota Power.

Paul Helstrom is the Program Lead for Minnesota Power, he says our state is perfect for these projects.

"Solar panels like to operate in cooler temperatures, so the sunnier and the cooler the better, so Minnesota is great that way."

Representative Tim Walz says, it's a huge step forward for our state.

"It's a win-win, and there's not a political ideology to this, this is economics, this is environmental, this is local jobs, this is national security, so I get excited when I see projects like this."

Richard Leguil, WJON


The Solar farm covers around 65 acres of Ripley, and generates enough energy to power 19-hundred homes a year.




It's the largest solar power plant on any National Guard base in the US. It can withstand half-inch hail and 105 mph winds. It has over 100,000 individual solar panels, and the Guard hopes it will provide power for 35 years.

All parts involved in the construction of the array came from the United States, with the panels themselves coming from Ohio.

The plant took six months to build, and crews of up to 60 workers a day installed more than 4,000 solar panels a day.

Richard Leguil, WJON