Native American Communities
Installation Completed: June 2021
On the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, approximately one in three American Indians lives in poverty and 14 percent of Native households have no access to electricity. The Northern Cheyenne people have experienced generations of hardship, including exploitation by fossil fuel companies and are working to recover some of their self-sufficiency.
In collaboration with Covenant Tribal Solar Initiative and the Northern Cheyenne Office of Renewable Energy, we helped fund a 10-kilowatt solar system with 19 kilowatt hours of energy storage which was installed by a Cheyenne crew who received five days of hands-on solar energy training.
This project showcases the potential of solar as a catalyst for employment and economic development as well as climate mitigation.
STANDING ROCK SIOUX
2 projects completed
In the fall of 2016, Empowered by Light and its partners delivered solar-powered trailers to the Standing Rock Sioux as they protested the Dakota Access Pipeline. As a next step, we partnered with GivePower to build a 300kW solar farm on the Standing Rock reservation, which will provide over 30 years of clean energy to the community.
These projects empower the Standing Rock Sioux, while honoring their past and demonstrating in a high-profile way that indigenous communities across the world can leapfrog fossil fuels. While the project is fully funded, additional financial help is welcome. Please consider making a donation for ongoing support of this project.
COMMUNITY SOLAR FARM
Installation Completed: January 2019
Despite the lengthy and massive protest by the Sioux People and their supporters against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the US government ultimately chose to defile land and water sacred to the Sioux.
In 2018, Empowered by Light organized the donation of solar panels and funding for the CannonBall Community Solar Farm—North Dakota’s largest solar farm in partnership with Givepower and Indigenized Energy. Located three miles from the Dakota Access Pipeline, the 300 kilowatt solar farm is a demonstration of the Sioux Nation Tribe’s long history of advocacy for the sovereignty of their land, renewable energy sources and environmental justice.
The CannonBall Community Solar Farm was commissioned in early 2019 and already represents half the total solar energy being generated across the state. Currently, the farm powers a Sioux Nation community center and veterans memorial building. It has a projected cost savings of $7,000 - $10,000 annually--all of which is being put directly back into the community.
The project was led by Empowered by Light’s partner, Givepower, and supported by Jinko Solar, Indigenized Energy and the Wallace Global Fund.
SOLAR TRAILERS FOR DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE ENCAMPMENT
Installation Completed: Fall 2016
EBL co-founder, Marco Krapels, with Brett Isaac of the Navajo Nation, and EBL advisor, actor/activist Mark Ruffalo
Installation Completed July 2016
The Navajo people have called the Black Mesa home for thousands of years. Since the 1960s, Peabody Western Coal Company has strip-mined the mesa, scarring the land and threatening the aquifer that supplies drinking water for the Navajo and Hopi tribes.
Sunlight is plentiful in the desert Southwest, and the Black Mesa is prime territory for solar installations that could produce clean power, create savings, and leverage energy from the sun as an educational and cultural-preservation tool. Empowered by Light is working with Navajo groups and leaders to install solar projects at chapter houses, which are community centers that host community meetings and provide services to elders and children.
Empowered by Light helped install a 6kW solar array with Tesla battery storage for the Forest Lake Chapter House in Pinon, Arizona. We are working with the indigenous-led firm Native Renewables to develop solar projects at chapter houses and schools across the Navajo Nation.
Inspired by our work in the Native American Communities? A simple share on social media will help spread the word and perhaps find new supporters. Or you can donate now to help create more projects like this one.