Solar industry has created hundreds of jobs in South Dakota


Heidi Kolbeck-Urlacher, policy assistant,, 605.240.0039; or Rhea Landholm, brand marketing and communications manager,, 402.687.2100 ext. 1025

SOUTH DAKOTA – South Dakota’s solar industry supports nearly 450 jobs, but has lagged behind in growth when compared to the national average. A new fact sheet released today by the Center for Rural Affairs shows that, nationally, the solar industry grew by 11.8 percent between 2018 and 2019, but only by 0.4 percent in South Dakota during that same time period.

“Solar Energy Presents Opportunity for South Dakota,” analyzes the state’s standing in national rankings, while highlighting strategies state lawmakers can pursue to encourage growth in the solar industry. Currently, South Dakota receives 0.02 percent of its total electricity from solar power, ranking 51st among all U.S. states and territories in total production.

“South Dakotans are being left out of a boom in the solar industry, but it’s not too late for state lawmakers to pursue policy that supports expansion,” said Heidi Kolbeck-Urlacher, policy assistant at the Center for Rural Affairs. “Whether it is implementing financing tools like property assessed clean energy (PACE), or providing incentives for local investment in solar energy, South Dakota is well positioned to take advantage of the economic benefits of solar.”

South Dakota ranks in the top 10 states for total energy consumption per capita, due to its energy-intensive industries. Meanwhile, the cost to install solar energy has dropped by 70 percent over the last decade—resulting in a new solar project being installed in the U.S. every 100 seconds.

To view or download the fact sheet, visit