ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota regulators have backed a proposed large-scale solar energy project that would generate power for Xcel Energy.

Edina-based Geronimo Energy wants to build 20 large solar power arrays next to Xcel substations across Minnesota at a cost of $250 million. The 100 megawatts would represent a sevenfold increase in the state's solar generating capacity.

Environmentalists hailed the Public Utilities Commission's 4-0 vote Thursday to direct Xcel to negotiate a power purchase agreement with Geronimo Energy.

Jessica Tritsch of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign says it's an investment in clean energy that will keep dollars in Minnesota.