Xcel Energy plans to develop a one-megawatt solar garden in Ashland as part of its Solar*Connect Community program.

This would be the third solar garden in this program, which promises clean energy benefits to communities in return for local buy-in.

A community solar garden in Eau Claire has been generating energy since October 2017, and a facility in the La Crosse area is on track to go live in fall 2018. If enough subscribers show interest in this project, a third one-megawatt solar garden will be built in Ashland by mid-2019.

“This past year, we’ve had tremendous support for our Solar*Connect Community program from both residential and business customers,” said Mark Stoering, president of Xcel Energy Wisconsin. “They have told us they want more options when it comes to their energy, and this program allows them to support locally sourced solar energy and receive bill credits at the same time.”

Community solar gardens are arrays of solar panels, which can be oriented in a fixed position or can swivel to track the sun, maximizing electricity production. Each panel is about three feet wide and six feet long, and each garden will have about 3,000 panels, covering an area about as big as a football field. Read the full story here.