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Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. Fosters Solar Energy Options


Pictured left-right: Manager of Member Services & Marketing Patrick Soukup, General Manager Ken Schlimgen, USDA Rural Development Loan Specialist Gary Wedel, and USDA Rural Business & Cooperative Program Director Dana Kleinsasser


Contact: Tammi Schone

(605) 352-1102

During a dedication ceremony USDA Rural Business & Cooperative Program Director Dana Kleinsasser presented Ken Schlimgen, General Manager for Central Electric Cooperative, with a Certificate of Achievement for the installation of a solar voltaic generation system.  This project will convert the sun’s rays into electricity to be utilized by the cooperative and its members saving fossil fuel electrical production.

USDA Rural Development provided a grant for twenty-five percent of the cost for the Cooperative to install the system. This financing was made available through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. has been approved for a $7,511 grant to be leveraged with other funding for a total project cost of $37,465.  Congress created the REAP program to help farmers and ranchers and small businesses access loan guarantees and grant funds to purchase renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements.  The REAP program is only available in communities of less than 50-thousand people and is not available for residential use.

“In the last couple of years, we’ve seen more and more ag producers and businesses use the REAP program for improving energy efficiency,” said Bruce Jones, USDA Rural Development Acting State Director.  “We see them use the savings from energy efficiency upgrades to invest in other aspects of their operations.”

“This demonstration project for the solar system will help us to educate the employees of Central Electric Cooperative and electric cooperatives in our region. We look forward to sharing what we are learning with our members and the general public,” said Schlimgen.

For those rural businesses, ranching and farming operations interested in accessing information on the REAP program, visit USDA energy website at or contact South Dakota’s Energy Coordinator Jolene Pravecek at (605) 665-2662, Ext. 116, or email her at

USDA Rural Development has eight offices in the state that assist rural communities.  Office locations include a state office in Huron, along with area offices in Aberdeen, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has produced historic investment in rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have strengthened America’s small towns and cities and helped improve the nation’s economy.

Last Modified: 02/26/2016

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