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Success Stories

Solar Array to Assist with Rural South Dakota Radio Station’s Electricity Needs

Tammi Schone
Community Facilities
Kili Radio Photo

Lakota Communications, Inc.’s KILI Radio facility will construct a 20kW solar array that produces fifty percent of the facility’s electrical needs.  The radio station transmits across the 3,470 square-mile Pine Ridge Indian Reservation from a remote bluff in the tiny village of Porcupine, South Dakota.

In past years, the radio station has had difficulty meeting monthly obligations. By implementing energy and cost saving measures, KILI Radio will use green energy to reduce the electric bill. USDA Rural Development provided funding of $24,400 that was leveraged with several private investors who have donated time, money, and equipment for a collective project cost of $41,155. 

There are many people on the reservation who do not have television, access to internet, or cell phones. KILI is often referred to as “The Voice of the Lakota Nation”.  It plays a critical role on the reservation as it is the number one relied upon resource for informing the 18,834 residents in the community of local events, public happenings, hazardous weather, school closings, tribal council meetings, and many other tribal issues. 

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is located the poorest county in the United States, Oglala Lakota County. The reservation occupies the entirety of Oglala Lakota County and the southern half of Jackson and Bennet Counties.  The total land area of the reservation is 2.1 million acres, making it the seventh-largest in the country.

This project centers around USDA’s principles of Infrastructure, Partnerships, and Innovation.  With USDA’s support, the radio station is on the path to energy independence. 

Date of Obligation
Obligation Amount:
$24,400 Community Facilities Persistent Poverty Grant
Date of Obligation:
Congressional District:
Noem