The Wild Springs solar plant could offset nearly 190,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Geronimo Energy Solar Panel

Geronimo Energy to sell power from solar plant to Basin Electric. (Credit: PRNewsfoto/Geronimo Energy.)

Geronimo Energy, a Minnesota-based renewable energy developer, has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin Electric) to sell green power from the 128MW Wild Springs solar project in South Dakota.

To be located in Pennington County, South Dakota, about 20 miles (30km) east of Rapid City, the solar project is expected to start commercial operations in 2022.

The Wild Springs solar plant could mitigate 190,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum

Considered to be the largest solar project in the state till now, the solar plant could offset nearly 190,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The solar project will be located in the service area of West River Electric Association, a distribution electric cooperative member of Basin Electric.

Basin Electric is a non-profit wholesale power provider for 141-member cooperative systems across nine states.

In South Dakota, Basin Electric transmits power to Rushmore Electric Power Cooperative (Rushmore Electric) and East River Electric Power Cooperative, two generation and transmission cooperatives.

Basin Electric Power Cooperative CEO and general manager Paul Sukut said: “For the first time in its history, Basin Electric will buy solar generation on a large scale to serve our members.

“The board’s decision to add solar generation to our resource portfolio is to continue with our all-of-the-above strategy, as well as solar generation becoming a more economic energy source. We are excited about adding solar to our already diverse generation mix.”

The solar project is also expected to bring significant economic benefits locally. It is estimated that the project could bring over $17m in total throughout the first 20 years of its operations.

Geronimo Energy president David Reamer said: “Historically, there has been a misconception that solar in the northern regions of the United States wasn’t feasible.

“Both Geronimo and Basin Electric recognized that the addition of solar to its overall generation fleet not only offers customers a clean, economic option for their electricity, but it also diversifies a utility’s portfolio.”

In December last year, Geronimo Energy started commercial operations at Crocker Wind Farm, a 200MW wind project located in Clark County, South Dakota.