Six tribal communities in California, Montana and South Dakota will receive 394 kW of solar energy in the form of 92 installations, courtesy of non-profit installer Grid Alternatives and a more than $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The DOE created an initiative in March to provide clean energy and energy efficiency projects for 24 tribal communities.
This is not the first time Grid Alternatives has worked on tribal lands. In 2015, the installer had a two-week Tribal Solarthon, which provided solar-power systems and workforce development to communities across the country, including California and South Dakota, and including Arizona and New York.
Grid Alternatives will start its first project in conjunction with the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Utility Commission and Housing Authority in Rosebud, S.D. The tribe has chosen 10 low-income families on the Rosebud Reservation to receive the solar arrays, which will offset 40 percent or more of their electricity, as well as saving the tribe $200,000. In addition, Grid Alternatives will be training students from Sinte Gleska University to install the systems so they can gain access to solar jobs after graduation.
Three other projects are expected to be completed by the end of the year, including:
- Bishop Paiute Tribe (Bishop, Calif.): 120 kW
- Chippewa Cree Tribe (Box Elder, Mont.): 21 kW
- San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians (Valley Center, Pauma Valley and Santa Ysabel, California): At least 170 kW
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