The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission approved a construction permit for a solar panel project in Oglala Lakota County. The solar facility can produce up to 110 megawatts of electricity.
It’s taken a little over a year for the construction permit to be approved by the South Dakota PUC. the PUC, the Lookout Solar Project, and the Bureau of Indian affairs drafted thirty-seven conditions of the facility being built.
Public Utilities Commissioner Gary Hanson said that preserving the quality of the land is essential for the project to be completed.
“We look at it, not just from the standpoint of the present-day picture, but we look at it from the standpoint of the future on a long-term basis," Hanson said. "What’s going to be the effect on citizens and the environment and the development of the region? We have to look at applicable laws and rules.”
Lookout Solar, the company in charge of the construction of the facility, expects the project to cost $100,000,000 and is being built on roughly 810 acres on Indian Trust land in Oglala Lakota county.
Commissioner Hanson said that he looks forward to the expansion of solar energy in South Dakota and across the country.
“Perhaps ten, twelve years from now it’s going to be taking over from a standpoint of generating as much or more electricity than wind is because it’s very economical, it does not have a lot of the challenges that wind has," Hanson said. "Certainly, solar and wind complement each other because wind generates more electricity during the night and solar, obviously generates more during the day. So, the two of them complement each other in that respect.”
The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.