Pierre Solar Project Set To Be Largest In State

Jul 19, 2016

A 4,200 panel solar farm near Pierre is set to be complete in October.  Officials say it’s set to be the largest solar farm in the state.  It will supply Pierre residents with one megawatt of electricity.

The Pierre Solar Project is located at Pierre Regional Airport.  It totals 8.5 acres in size.  Officials say the developers selected the site the as the best location out of other areas in South Dakota and Iowa.

The sun sets near Pierre, SD.
Credit Michael Moore / SDPB Flickr

Brad Palmer is the Utilities Director for the City of Pierre. He thinks solar energy will eventually surpass wind energy because it’s cost efficient and more predictable.

“Down the road, what you’re going to see is, you’re going to see much more solar out there than you are wind just because the technology in solar is getting better and better and cheaper and cheaper,” says Palmer.

Some energy experts say wind and solar demands depend on the type of power supply needed. Jeff Peters is with Missouri River Energy Services, the company in charge of distributing the solar electricity to the City of Pierre’s power grid.

“Wind energy is a good energy resource, however, most of the generation occurs during off peak hours, the nice thing with solar is the generation actually occurs during on peak hours which can be more beneficial to the utility,” says Peters.

Officials say construction on the solar farm starts in the upcoming weeks.  The project is a combined effort of the City of Pierre,  the non-profit organization Missouri River Energy and the utility company Geronimo Energy.