The $100 million Lookout Solar Project is located on land owned by the Rapp family in South Dakota. Photo: Lookout Solar, LLC

Native Sun News Today: Despite pandemic Pine Ridge solar project progesses

BUFFALO GAP, South Dakota – Lookout Solar Project has experienced some pitfalls from the COVID-19 pandemic, but progress is also being made where available.

The largest pitfall that the project has experienced is the blocking of travel for employees of Wirsol, the project’s German developer. The Rapp family, whose land the Lookout Solar Project is being built on, is in constant contact with the developers despite being separated.

However, bureaucratic items are being wrapped up in order to begin construction shortly. “We are finishing everything that is necessary for the paper work, leases, and BIA approval,” said Lynn Rapp. “It’s just a matter of finishing off some paperwork.”

The most important piece of paper work that the project is looking forward to be completed is the lease which needs to be approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the BIA has been operating slower than normal and Rapp has experienced this extensively.

Rapp says that the lease should be back at soon, and when that happens they will “start working with TERO and begin building roads.”

As far as the slowdown in the project goes, Rapp is not too upset.

“We understand that things happen at their own time so we aren’t going anywhere,” she said. “We have been at this for years, and we have been through three different tribal administrations. If it takes a little longer than that is what it takes.”

The Lookout Solar Project will eventually cost $100 million and there will be around 500,000 solar panels. It will produce 110 megawatts and will have the option to expand. Expansion, Rapp said, could also involve the use of wind to create energy. The project is aimed to be completed in 2021 and the prospective amount of jobs that it will bring has been a focus.

Rapp said that many people from around the Pine Ridge area have already reached out about possible employment and said that “we appreciate people wanting to know where we are at because these are important jobs and well paid jobs.”


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