Fate of Walworth County solar farm in jeopardy as setback proposal moves forward

MOBRIDGE, S.D.(The Dakota Scout)- The future of a planned solar farm in north-central South Dakota could be in question as proposed regulations that have the backing of project opponents inch ahead.

The Walworth County Commission this week, acting as the county’s zoning board, gave preliminary approval to a proposed ordinance that would establish a 1,000-foot setback requirement from property lines, and a mile setback from dwellings for solar farms. The 4-1 vote to move the proposal onto a second reading comes as Doral Renewables LLC pursues plans to build 3,200 acres of solar farms south of Mobridge, part of the Israeli company’s portfolio of other projects across the country.

The Oahe Solar Project proposal has brought with it an outcry of opposition from area residents and farmers, who contend the company hasn’t been transparent about its plans with neighbors, while also voicing safety concerns.