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German Solar Developer Bounces Check to PUC

Maybe the name “Lookout Solar” means we’re supposed to look out for rubber checks.

In January the Public Utilities Commission green-lighted Lookout Solar Park I, a 110-megawatt, 500,000-panel power project on the western edge of the Badlands and the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota’s sunniest locale. The project is South Dakota’s first large-scale solar farm. The project owner, German company Wircon GmbH, paid its $8,000 deposit and some expenses toward a filing fee based on construction expenses that is capped at $250,000, but then it ignored invoices for four months and finally followed up with a bad check:

According to a commission document, “On January 14, February 10, March 10, April 15, and May 13, 2020, payment for expenses incurred was requested from Lookout Solar. On May 18, 2020, a payment was received but it was returned by the bank on May 29, 2020. On May 29, 2020, Lookout Solar was notified that the check had been returned.”

William Taylor, a Sioux Falls lawyer speaking for the company, told commissioners Tuesday there were technical difficulties in wiring money from a foreign bank [Bob Mercer, “Check from Solar Project to S.D. Agency Bounces,” KELO-TV, 2020.06.09].

What? A German firm bragging about its experience with over 60 photovoltaic projects in Germany, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom has trouble with international money transfers? Quatsch!

But the PUC is like, hey, no problem, try again:

Lookout Solar did attempt to make payment on the past due invoice. On May 18, 2020, the Commission received a payment, however on May 29, 2020, the Commission learned the check had been returned by the bank. At that time, Staff determined it was necessary to bring this matter to the Commission’s attention with the goal of securing payment before the end of the current fiscal year.

Today, Staff can report that Lookout Solar has been in communication with Staff to make arrangements to pay the past due invoice. At this point, Staff is waiting for confirmation for the most recent payment to clear the bank, a process that can take up to two weeks.

Based on Lookout Solar’s payment and the delay in waiting for the payment to clear, Staff respectfully requests the Commission defer this matter from the June 9, 2020 Commission meeting [Amanda Reiss, PUC staff attorney, letter to PUC, Docket EL18-059, 2020.06.06].

The PUC must figure Wirsol isn’t on the fizzle like the last big South Dakota check bouncer. Just two weeks ago, the United Kingdom approved Wircon’s solar wing Wirsol and British Hive Energy’s bid to build the United Kingdom’s biggest solar power plant yet, a 350-megawatt facility that will be able to power 91,000 homes. (Some locals in Faversham would prefer those panels be built on those homes’ roofs and not on the fine fens of Faversham.) That UK project will cost $550 million, and Wircon and Hive are asking for no government subsidies. So evidently, Wircon isn’t hurting for cash, and they don’t need any government favors. Keep on ’em about that check, PUC!


  1. mike from iowa 2020-06-10 07:12

    Gubmint of South Dakota must take their negotiating skills from the pathological liar in the kremlin annex. I have also noted how adept they are at passing the blame buck to someone else and accepting no responsibility for their flops.

    drumpf deserves a second term, 20 to life w/o parole!

  2. bearcreekbat 2020-06-10 10:54

    What a great word Cory – “Quatsch,” which I confess I had not seen before! In addition to the use in this post, this word fits Trump to a T and is an accurate description of most of the PR releases we see from Rounds, Thune and Noem. Thanks for adding an extremely accurate and useful term to my vocabulary today.

  3. Eve Fisher 2020-06-10 12:29

    Off-shoot or parent company of Tru-Shrimp?

  4. Donald Pay 2020-06-10 13:43

    “Quatsch” is a great word. It certainly applies to a lot of malarky we hear from South Dakota and national politicians, and even from lawyers, though Bill Taylor is generally a nice guy. But I’ve always wanted to do this: push a word into the stratosphere of public use. So my proposal: we should promote “quatsch” as the word of the year, sort of like “fetch” in Mean Girls.

    I mean think about it. An election year is the perfect launching pad for this word. Maybe Biden can update his vocabulary from “malarkey,” though I also like “bunkum.”

    Let’s start using “quatsch” in posts and comments. This is a small, but erudite blog with an elite group of opinion leaders (at least in our own minds). DFP could use the publicity that propelling this word into common usage would provide. Think, Cory, more “tips.”

    I will do my part mightily to push the word into orbit by using the word, and writing stuff that others can call “quatsch.” But I fear we don’t have the oomph to make this happen. We need someone like Gretchen Wieners to push this with the young crowd. Get the tweens and teens saying this, and it becomes a big effing deal.

  5. Debbo 2020-06-10 16:57

    If it comes from Kruel Kristi’s deministration it’s definitely going to be quatsch. It’s the only kind of trickle down from the GOP in DC that actually works.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-11 20:49

    Quatsch captures an almost onomatopeotic German bluntness… but almost doubles the four-letter wordiness of most Anglo-Saxon insults. I’m glad i found it!

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