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Minnesota regulators have approved 29 renewable energy projects, predominantly featuring solar technologies, to receive $42 million in grants from Xcel Energy's Renewable Development Fund.

Xcel says the Renewable Development Fund grants, which support a portion of project costs, are for energy production, research and development, and block grant distribution to Minnesota colleges and universities.

Each year, Xcel reports that it transfers $24.5 million to the fund in accordance with state law. An advisory board with representation from Xcel, environmental groups, Xcel customers and the Prairie Island Indian Community makes recommendations to the commission.

Owners of the projects either sell the energy generated to Xcel or use it themselves, the company notes. Xcel adds that more than 27 MW of renewable energy is currently under development from three previous funding cycles.

"The fund's objective is to support development of new renewable energy technologies and renewable energy projects," comments Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co. - Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company. "With the new state solar statute, this round of grants appropriately focuses on the goal of making more cost-effective solar resources available for Xcel Energy customers."

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