PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Financial security required for eventually taking down a solar electricity project in South Dakota should be controlled by the state Public Utilities Commission so that landowners will be protected, according to a legislative panel.
The Senate Commerce and Energy Committee gave its full endorsement to the measure Tuesday. Because of a technical amendment, SB 36 will appear on the Senate’s consent calendar Thursday.
The legislation would treat solar projects the way that wind-power projects have been.
Commissioner Kristie Fiegen asked the Senate panel to add solar projects to the 2019 law. She said the PUC in 2020 permitted South Dakota’s first two solar sites in Oglala Lakota and Pennington Counties.
“You will see some large-scale solar in South Dakota soon,” she said.
Estimated cost of removing the Lookout Solar project, located on privately-owned land on the Pine Ridge Reservation, was about $1 million. Estimated cost of taking down the Wild Springs project near New Underwood was $2.3 million.
The committee delayed its hearing until Thursday on the PUC’s proposed safety standards for biogas gathering lines.