Sunnova Energy International, Generac Power Systems and Empowered by Light (EBL), a San Francisco-based non-profit, have partnered to bring a free solar + storage project to the Hard Rock Chapter House in the Navajo Nation.
“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.”
Fusion Power designed a Sunnova SunSafe solar + storage system to meet the needs of the community. Sunnova and Generac worked together to equip and fund the 18-kW solar system and 36kWh PWRcell energy storage system. The solar + storage system has a 25-year warranty.
“The Hard Rock Chapter House serves as a central meeting place where the Navajo community is able to gather and this project was a chance for us to help make an impact by providing clean, reliable power, while also reducing their electricity bills to help them reinvest the savings to strengthen their community,” said Kelsey Hultberg, EVP, Communications and Sustainability, Sunnova. “Even though the Chapter House is remote, in times of need this system will play a critical role in ensuring the community will have clean and reliable backup power for years to come.”
With over 270 sunny days a year, the Navajo Nation is the largest contiguous premium solar resource area in the Western United States, according to ScienceDirect. This abundant clean energy resource can power scalable solar installations like the solar + storage system, and create not only savings, but also promote solar as an education, workforce development and cultural preservation tool.
A Chapter House is similar to a town council where community members can gather for key meetings and have access to services, like distribution of hay, free trash disposal, faxing, printing, notarizing, blading unpaved roads, and more. Instead of driving out of the reservation to complete daily tasks, residents are able to stay local and save money on gas.
“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.”
News item from Sunnova