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Increasing the Economic Viability of Year-Round High Tunnel Production in South Dakota’s Climate

Our goal is to stimulate the growth of locally available specialty crops by engineering, assembling, and monitoring the performance of a commercial scale solar high-tunnel capable of year-round warm climate crop production such as tomatoes, peppers, strawberries & passion fruit without relying on the volatile expense of fuels. The design will apply state-of-the-art research while focusing on local materials & minimizing costs to enable economic viability for local producers. Results of the project will be shared through online webinars, onsite tours, published designs & assembly guidelines for growers.  

Project Objectives


Reduce initial cost & improve performance of in-ground heat storage systems enabling year-round production in a South Dakota cold northern climate.


Build & test a fully passive (no fan) heat storage system in north wall to provide guidelines for what climates & crop types do not need a more costly in-ground heat storage system. 


Develop an effective & reliable retractable insulating blanket to reduce heat-loss through the transparent glazing portion of the high tunnel utilizing as many locally sourced materials as possible.


Publish recommended design, assembly & disassembly guidelines for various climates/applications in northern USA in easy-to-understand mediums such as YouTube videos and drawings that will be freely available to the public.


Encourage & equip other producers with knowledge regarding solar high tunnel performance, costs, and potential benefits for their farm operations. 

Economic Viability Slide.jpg

Funding for "Increasing the Economic Viability of Year-Round High Tunnel Production in South Dakota’s Climate" was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM22SCBPSD1128. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

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