“Combining nature with human innovation”: POET to start construction on Sioux Falls’ largest solar farm

Source: By Ariana Schumacher. KELOLAND.com • Posted: Sunday, June 6, 2021

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– POET is to begin construction Monday on their new solar farm, which will be located north of their headquarters in Sioux Falls.

“As a company that has been focused on renewable energy, really using the power of the sun,” Jeff Lautt, President of POET said. “It is our most powerful and abundant resource that we have.”

The solar farm will power most of their main headquarters, the equivalent of 90 homes, and when they have a surplus of energy, it will be put back out into the grid and used in homes locally in Sioux Falls. It will generate 745,000 kWh of electricity each year, offsetting 630,000 pounds of CO2.

“I think another step; it’s a great demonstration as to, as we move forward and we find ways to battle the needs of having a healthier climate, that there are a lot of renewable opportunities, like solar, like biofuels, that can provide sustainable opportunities for people right here is Sioux Falls and across the world,” Lautt said.

The solar farm will consist of several rows of solar panels on the corner of the property that will transfer energy to the main building, he said.

Courtesy of POET

“The POET solar farm is going to be a great example of combining nature with human innovation, producing additional renewable energy, just like we’ve been doing for years with our biofuels,” he said.

The project is expected to start on Monday, June 7, and be completed by August. It will be the largest solar farm in the city, Lautt said.

Lautt said they had been looking at solar technology for the last three to five years, and the technology has continued to improve and now they were ready to start this as a pilot test.

“We are hopeful that we can then, as we prove it out here, take that technology to some of our other locations, into even third parties and sell and install that technology into the future,” Lautt said.

They decided that putting the solar farm on at their headquarters because it was the right scale to demonstrate the technology, he said. They see adding solar panels as just another extension of what the company has already been doing.

“For nearly 34 years, our core mission has been taking and harnessing the power and the energy of the sun, in the form of the corn plant, producing biofuels and bioproducts, now we are going to extend that and do it in another way, in the form of capturing that in solar panels, transferring it to electricity,” Lautt said.

Lautt said for the last hundred years, the world has been largely reliant on fossil fuels, which has a lot of issues with the climate.

“We need to find new technologies and new ways to live sustainably into the future, for the next generations to come,” he said. “And so we are excited, as POET, to be a company that is leading the way in developing technologies that is going to provide that sustainability and for a better climate and kinder to the earth.”