RAPID CITY, SD – South Dakota has begun planning and building new solar energy developments, but solar energy is something people can get involved with.
“I think we’re probably at the forefront of seeing solar development in South Dakota,” Chris Nelson, chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), said. “I think we’ve seen this increase in wind power that has given us a lot of electricity at a very low cost. Now, companies will be looking at something with slightly different properties than wind power and the fact that solar prices have dropped. I think we’re going to see a lot more of this in government. “
Why does South Dakota have less solar energy production than other states?
“When you look at the national average, typically northern states like North Dakota, South Dakota tend to be at the bottom of the list, and there are a number of reasons for that,” Marc Eyre, vice president of Electric Operations at Black Hills Energy, said. “We provide electric service to customers in four states: Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota. We can see a similar trend. When you are in the south, you see the highest reception of the sun and as you work towards the north, you see less reception of the sun. But having said that, there is a growing interest every year not only in solar but in other renewables for our customers and in South Dakota.
Benefits of solar energy
Anytime the sun is out, it generates energy for your facilities, whether it’s work or residence.
Once installed, there is not much maintenance for it.
It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
That’s what utility companies are starting to use as well.
“One of the main things they’re looking at is what’s the cheapest way we can do whatever new electricity we might need,” Nelson said. “We’re going to see, I think, more and more solar energy. It’s not really wise for utility companies to have the same generation source for all their electricity, because those generation sources have different characteristics, at different times of the day when they produce the most electricity. So solar is going to be another piece of that puzzle. One of the characteristics of solar is that it’s the peak time of generation. Obviously, it’s that late afternoon or early afternoon when the sun is strongest. That’s also the time when we tend to see peak usage, especially in the summer, with wind usage. And so it coincides well with those peak usage.”
The challenges of solar energy
The biggest challenge comes when the sun does not rise, because the energy is not produced. This also plays into why solar energy is used less in northern countries than in the south.
“As we get into winter here, the days are getting shorter,” Eyre said. “There are times of the day when it won’t be exposed.”
Instead, what you can do is have your own power supply when you can’t use solar power.
Another challenge is cost. While it’s down, it’s still about $2 or $3 per watt installed. So if you’re looking at 5,000 watts, it can cost up to $15,000.
What to do if you want to use solar energy
“One piece of advice we have is to make sure you do your homework, do your research. “Make sure you understand the full cost and benefit of getting full value from this program,” Eyre said. “We would encourage you to work with Black Hills Energy or your energy supplier to understand your energy usage and what costs you can reduce or save. So there are a lot of great local solar contractors that we work with quite a bit. As you meet them, find the right size system for your facilities, to get the best return on this investment. “
Local Solar Contractors:
Why people can change
“What we see from the customers we work with is their desire to have more of their energy from a renewable source, and that’s something we support as well,” Eyre said.
Greenhouse gas emissions are the production of greenhouse gases and come from the burning of fossil fuels for things like heat, transport and electricity. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the production of electricity accounted for 25% of 2020 greenhouse gas emissions.
An incentive to install solar panels
“There is a tax incentive. You basically get a 30% tax benefit,” Eyre said. So say you install a solar panel that costs $10,000. You will receive a $3,000 tax credit on your federal income tax.”
He also says that you save money that you could spend on building your own power, and if your system produces more power than you use, you can feed it back into the grid and sell it back to your own power. supplier.