Microgrid planned for tribal casino in San Jacinto, California


As part of their strategic initiative to rapidly deploy cleaner and more resilient energy infrastructure across tribal lands, Scale Microgrids announced a microgrid project that will serve the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians at its Casino Resort in San Jacinto, Calif.

Scale will install 1.5 MW of solar on the roof of Soboba’s 474,000 square foot casino and hotel, and the energy will be stored in a 6 MWh Tesla Megapack energy storage system. The company expects that the microgrid will offset power consumption and its golf course operation. Scale will also provide round-the-clock on-site and remote monitoring by Scale.

“This project serves our mission to strengthen our tribe’s sovereignty, self-sufficiency, and prosperity,” says Soboba’s Tribal Council. “We are responsible for helping our people and our land thrive for generations to come, and we believe this microgrid system is an important step towards advancing our objectives.”

The microgrid is intended to serve as an economic asset for the tribe and an emergency cooling center in the event of a community-wide power outage. Scale reports that, historically, tribal communities suffer from higher service costs, higher interconnection fees, more blackouts or brownouts, and remote and distant service locations. Having distributed energy generation on site adds resiliency and is intended to lower energy costs for the tribal communities. The Soboba microgrid is intended to work in energy savings mode when the utility is available, and the energy storage will also back up the facility for short-term and long-term outages.

“The impact of the Soboba Microgrid project goes beyond kilowatt hours and savings. It secures the community’s long-term energy sovereignty and will inspire more public and private sector distributed energy development efforts on tribal lands,” says Guillermo Gomez, business development manager at Scale Microgrids.

More than half the project’s costs will be funded by California’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) and the Direct Pay Investment Tax Credit for tribes.

Scale is partnering with Chris Deschene, who recently completed a distinguished term as the Director of the Office of Indian Energy within the U.S. Department of Energy. During his career, he served as general counsel and advisor to tribes and built  partnerships between non-Indian energy businesses and tribal leaders working on energy projects within Indian Country.

“America’s energy transition must include tribal lands,” says Ryan Goodman, co-founder and chief executive officer at Scale Microgrids. “As we work towards our mission of powering the world with distributed energy, we are committed to leading the way for equal access and economic equality.”

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