Largest solar project in the State announced at the Capitol

Published: Feb. 18, 2020 at 9:13 PM CST
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Geronimo Energy and Basin Electric Power Cooperative announced a power purchase agreement between the two organizations at the State Capitol Tuesday.

"The 'Wild Springs Solar Project' is a 128 megawatt solar project. It's going to be located about 20 miles east of Rapid City near the town of New Underwood, it will span over 1,000 acres," said Jay Hesse, the Senior Project Developer for Geronimo Energy.

Once completely operation the project will be the largest solar operation in the state's history.

"We don't have any large scale operating solar projects, so we're looking forward to being the first large scale project in the State," said Hesse.

This project will be so large that Hesse said this solar project will serve roughly 337,000 South Dakotan's.

"It'll be a very cost effective energy project, it'll have local generation. We're looking to developing new economic activities here in the State," Hesse said.

Basin Electric, a not for profit cooperative, currently provides a power supply to 28 different cooperatives throughout the State.

"We've added lots of wind to our portfolio, our member cooperatives have hydro-energy to their portfolio, and adding solar is just another natural step, we're really excited about it," said Chris Baumgartner, the Senior Vice President of Member Services for Basin Electric Cooperative.

Overall this agreement will be a learning process, but it will be more than just producing energy.

"This is the first step into seeing how this technology can work," Baumgartner said.

"It'll be about $25,000 a year that'll go to a local education fund, so that's one of the things that motivates us," Hesse said.