Social entrepreneurship is a powerful engine of change, especially for communities that are chronically underserved. Development of solar energy sources is rapidly expanding nationally; however, it is surprising that it’s coming to First Nation country in South Dakota.
According to PV Magazine, “South Dakota ranks 50th of the 51 states (including Washington D.C.) in solar deployed, trailed only by North Dakota, according to data through Q3 2019 from the Solar Energy Industries Association. Rounding up, South Dakota has 2 MW of PV installed, while North Dakota has 1 MW deployed.”
Lynn Dee Rapp, founder of Eagle Opportunity and a tribal citizen of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, told pv magazine, “As a tribal member and entrepreneur — this is as big as it gets,” adding that the project will “bring employment and economic opportunity” to the county.
“We are the first in Indian country to develop a large-scale solar project,” said Rapp.
A 140-megawatt solar facility can provide an economic and employment engine to Oglala Lakota County, the poorest county in the nation.
“I know there’s a great opportunity in the energy field for tribes. We must take advantage of those. If not, the non-Indian communities surrounding us are going to jump in ahead of us. They’ll fill the grid and we won’t have any opportunity, so we’ve got to get going,” said Rapp in an article in Native News Online
This installation will provide clean, renewable energy for the tribe and surrounding area. Given the Native American spiritual beliefs about nurturing the earth and all of its beings, this project could provide Inspiration as well as Power!