Secretary Jewell Helps Inaugurate GRID Alternatives’ 2015 Tribal Solarthon


Nonprofit solar installer GRID Alternatives has launched its second-annual U.S. Tribal Solarthon event.

Through Oct. 9, the organization is partnering with four tribes in California, New York, South Dakota and Arizona to install solar photovoltaic power systems and, in the process, provide solar job training for tribe members.

Tribal Solarthon project details are summarized as follows:

  • Bishop Paiute, Bishop, Calif. – This four-home project will launch a U.S. Department of Energy grant for 22 home solar installations and include an energy fair to increase awareness about solar energy within the tribe;
  • Shinnecock Nation, near Southampton, N.Y. – Two grid-tied solar systems will be installed on single-family homes on tribal lands on Long Island's east end, kicking off a project vision of 50 residential installations and a battery-backed system on the Shinnecock Community Center. The Shinnecock Nation was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy, and this project will provide emergency power backup and local grid resiliency;
  • Leupp Chapter, Navajo Nation, Leupp, Ariz. – A Vietnam veteran in the Navajo Nation will receive an off-grid solar system on a home built by Navajo veterans. Tribal members from the Tolani Lake, Leupp and Birdsprings Chapter Houses will participate in the installation; and
  • Rosebud Sioux, Rosebud, S.D. – GRID Alternatives will work with the Rosebud community to install a grid-tied residential PV system to provide solar training for students at the Sinte Gleska University, as well as local high school students.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was on hand at the Shinnecock Nation to put a spotlight on energy and economic issues in Native American communities.

‘GRID Alternatives' partnership with the Shinnecock Nation and other tribal communities serves as a model for helping to build a sustainable energy future and solar technology workforce in Indian country,’ says Secretary Jewell, in a statement. ‘This partnership shows how the tribal, federal and private sectors can work together to remove barriers to economic development, advance tribal self-determination and add clean energy to the grid.’

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