NRG Tuesday announced the completion of its first seven community solar projects in Minnesota, which will serve more than 1,000 residents and several businesses and municipalities.

The projects together will produce 32 megawatts of power and are part of Minnesota’s Community Solar Garden program, which was created by the state legislature and is administered by Xcel Energy. (A megawatt is one million watts).

NRG, which has its main offices in Texas and New Jersey, is a large energy company that produces wholesale electricity from traditional power plants, but has increasingly gotten into solar energy in recent years.

The company’s seven Minnesota community solar projects are located in Washington, Dakota, Goodhue, Olmstead, Dodge, Rice and Wabasha counties. The projects’ largest commercial customers include U.S. Bank, Land O’ Lakes, Ecolab, Red Wing Shoe Co. and Macy’s.

NRG has several more solar gardens in Minnesota that are under various stages of construction and development.

Minnesota’s Community Solar Garden program, while it’s been slow to roll out, is expected to be one of the largest projects of its kind nationally.

Customers subscribe to a community solar farm like those of NRG through a long-term contract. Electricity generated at each project goes onto the grid, and customers receive a bill credit from Xcel for their subscribed share.

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