Minnesota’s community solar garden initiative continues to be the largest in the country even after dodging relentless utility opposition, a crippling pandemic and market forces that could have slowed growth.

Operated by Xcel Energy after being enacted by the Legislature seven years ago, the program boasts more than 680 megawatts of operating capacity in the first quarter of 2020, more than two times the amount installed in Massachusetts, its closest competitor.

And despite a nationwide economic slump, the program shows no sign of cooling off. A recent Xcel update reported 349 MW in the application process. No other state even comes close to the size of those numbers and applications show no sign of abating even in a time of economic turmoil. As of the first quarter of 2020 Massachusetts has 276 MW, New York 261 MW and Colorado 81MW.

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