State Lags in Home Wind and Solar
The owner of a small business that installs wind turbines and solar panels on homes says South Dakota is lagging behind the rest of the nation when it comes to incentives for alternative energy. Wind advocates say South Dakota needs stronger net metering laws. But Public Utility Commission official says South Dakota is making progress.
by Charles Michael Ray
Matt Rankin owns High Plains Wind Energy in Belle Fousch he installs small turbines and solar panels on homes. But Rankin does most of his work in Wyoming. He doesn't get much work here because he says there is little incentive to install home based systems in the state.
"South Dakota is the eyesore at this point - the only other states that don't have it are Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama," says Rankin.
Rankin says net metering would allow people with solar or wind to sell the power they generate back into the grid at fair rates. Rankin believes big energy companies who don't want to see net metering have a strong hold on Pierre. Public Utility Commissioner Dusty Johnson agrees there is room for improvement in South Dakota but he says there are only a few states that have true net metering. He says the practice would hurt consumers.