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Judge ruling could mean more solar power in Minn

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A judge's recent ruling means Minnesota could see a major expansion in the use of solar power over natural gas.

The judge was reviewing whether Xcel Energy should invest in natural-gas generators or solar-power arrays. Administrative Law Judge Eric Lipman concluded that solar was the better deal.

If the state Public Utilities Commission upholds his finding, Edina-based Geronimo Energy plans to spend $250 million to build about 20 solar-power arrays across Xcel service sites. Xcel would then likely buy the power from Geronimo under a long-term agreement.

Xcel's proposals included generating power using natural gas. It says it disagrees with some of Lipman's findings and will file a response.

Lipman says solar energy provides the greatest value to Minnesota and to Xcel customers.

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