AUG 07, 2017 2:45 PM PDT

The Navajo Nation is going solar

As a result of the imminent closing of the Navajo Generating Station coal power plant, which will see its last days at the end of 2019, the Navajo Nation is investing in solar. The nation recently started operating the Kayenta Solar Project, a 27.3-megawatt farm in northeastern Arizona, with the expectation that the project will provide electricity to 7,700 homes on the reservation.

Solar power will bring electricity to many homes in the Navajo Nation. Photo: Cronkite News.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said the tribe’s first-ever large-scale renewable energy project will act to benefit the lives of the members of the nation. The coal plant shutting down is “forcing us to make a huge paradigm shift,” Begaye said. “I’m getting our nation ready to make this transition.” The 27,000 square-mile reservation is home to 200,000 people. This solar project will provide electricity to some of those homes for the first time.

Solar farm project manager Glenn Steiger said the end of the Navajo Generating Station leaves a hole in power generation for the area, which will be filled with renewable energy sources, both solar and wind. The farm, which covers 200 acres, has solar panels that are specially made to lay flat when wind speeds increase to more than 50 miles per hour. There are also two weather stations on site to monitor wind speed, temperature and humidity, says Steiger.

But the switch isn’t just about going green; it also aims to minimize some of the blow of job loss from the closing of the Navajo Generating Station, which currently employs more than 700 people, 90% of whom are Native American. While the farm was being constructed, an estimated 100 local construction jobs and subcontracting opportunities were carried out by Navajo members. The Nation also hopes to completely take over the management of the farm.

The project will also provide jobs for Navajo. Photo: Microgrid Media

Sources: USA News, Arizona Public Radio, Grist

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
AUG 03, 2020
Earth & The Environment
What the heck are biocrusts and why are they so important?
AUG 03, 2020
What the heck are biocrusts and why are they so important?
Have you ever heard of biocrusts? No, it’s not a new kind of pizza crust. Biocrusts refer to a group of tiny deser ...
AUG 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The fluid dynamics of injection-induced earthquakes
AUG 06, 2020
The fluid dynamics of injection-induced earthquakes
While injection-induced earthquakes have become commonplace in oil fields where wastewater is pumped deep into the Earth ...
AUG 28, 2020
Plants & Animals
Will Traps Solve the Invasive Lionfish Problem?
AUG 28, 2020
Will Traps Solve the Invasive Lionfish Problem?
Extravagant and spiny lionfish were once highly sought after by home aquarium hobbyists. These venomous fish are native ...
SEP 01, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
No Child's Play - Advanced Bubble Manipulation Method can Transform Chemical Processing
SEP 01, 2020
No Child's Play - Advanced Bubble Manipulation Method can Transform Chemical Processing
Gas bubbles are fascinating, playful objects in children's eyes. In fact, they play an essential role in many indust ...
OCT 02, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
A New Way of Building Houses: 3-D Printing with Clay
OCT 02, 2020
A New Way of Building Houses: 3-D Printing with Clay
Our ancestors had a long history of building dwelling structures using clay and plant-based fibrous materials. Even thes ...
OCT 26, 2020
Microbiology
A Network of Fungi Helps Trees Grow
OCT 26, 2020
A Network of Fungi Helps Trees Grow
Trees rely on a network of fungal friends for good health. Communities of trees can share nutrients and other essentail ...
Loading Comments...