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July 14, 2022

Navajo Nation Gains Independence with Solar Plus Storage

Navajo Nation is located in one of the sunniest spots in the Western United States, with over 270 sunny days a year. San Francisco non-profit, Empowered by Light, launched an initiative to power the local chapter house with solar.

In Navajo Nation, the chapter house serves as a town hall where community members gather for meetings and have access to services, like distribution of hay, free trash disposal, faxing, printing, notarizing, and more.

EBL partnered with Sunnova Energy International Inc., Generac Power Systems, Inc., to provide a free solar plus battery storage system to power the Hard Rock Chapter House. The clean energy installation is meaningful to the residents here, who have lived on the land scarred by strip mining by coal companies.

“For many years now, our people have been opposed to coal mining on our lands and we still feel the effects of the mining today. With this new project, we can finally shift to renewables and show our entire community the benefits and resilience of nature by harnessing clean energy from the sun to power our daily activities at the Chapter House, while combating climate change,” said Jay Begay, Hard Rock Chapter House president, Navajo Nation. “Our community relies on the essential services provided at the Chapter House because we live in a very remote area. The Chapter’s goal is to continuously develop these services, and with the extra bill savings from our new solar + storage system, we aim to do just that – expand and better our resources for the people we serve.”

Sunnova worked with Fusion Power, a Sunnova Dealer, to design the solar plus storage system to meet the needs of the community. Sunnova and Generac worked together to equip and fund the 18 kW solar system and 36 kWh PWRcell energy storage system. Sunnova is providing a 25-year service warranty for the system.

“Generac is proud to support the Navajo Nation and help ensure that the community has much-needed resiliency and power when the sun isn’t shining,” said Keith Marett, President, Clean Energy – Commercial, Generac Power Systems. “Batteries allow for self-sufficiency in a way that solar alone doesn’t. The addition of a Generac PWRcell energy storage system to the solar installation means that the lights will stay on and the water will continue to run, even when the grid goes down.”

“About 14,000 Navajo families are still living without access to electricity, so in addition to having more resources for the community thanks to the utility bill savings from the Sunnova system, the Chapter House can continue serving as a great resource for the community when the grid fails,” said Moira Hanes, Executive Director and Co-Founder, EBL. “Community members can continue to gather, and also cook food, get emergency supplies, and stay warm in the winter since many homes don’t have a heat source.”

Link to full article here.