Last year's solar installations break state recordby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — More solar energy systems were installed in Minnesota in 2009 than in any other year, state energy officials said Wednesday.
The Department of Commerce's Office of Energy Security said 72 solar photovoltaic systems were installed in 2009 with a combined capacity of 784 kilowatts, also a record.
The record number previously was reached in 2007, when 56 systems were installed, providing 286 kilowatts.
The Office of Energy Security said Xcel Energy produces the most solar power in the state with more that 1,100 kilowatts. Minnesota Power produces about 150 kilowatt hours.
Overall, just over two megawatts of electricity are produced in Minnesota by solar panels, making up less than 1 percent of the state's total energy capacity. Officials expect that number to double by the end of 2010.
The Office of Energy Security also said the number of solar installations added in 2010 will surpass last year's number. Part of the reason could be the state's solar electric rebate program, which is giving $2.5 million to homes and businesses to install solar energy projects.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story stated there were 71 projects in 2009 at a capacity of 384 kilowatts. Energy officials have since revised those figures to 72 projects and 784 kilowatts. The additional project was a solar installation at St. John's University that has a 400 kilowatt capacity.