The Bishop Paiute Tribe is celebrating a newly installed 49-kW solar system. The project was installed in part with funding from the California Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program at Coyote Mountain Apartments, an affordable housing and sober living facility in Bishop, California.
“We are proud of the efforts of the Bishop Paiute Tribe’s Environmental Management Office (EMO) and our EMO Director Brian Adkins for spearheading this endeavor,” the Bishop Paiute Tribal Council said in a statement. “The Tribe continuously looks for improvements that benefit our tribal members and the community. This project took a lot of planning and execution, and we hope other Tribal communities can look to us as an inspiration and bring similar projects to their communities. We don’t want to take the credit for this amazing achievement. That credit belongs to all of those involved from start to finish, who made this project come to fruition.”
The project is the first SOMAH Program incentivized installation to be completed within a tribal reservation in the state. The $180,666 system is projected to save the 24 households $473,747 on their energy bills over the lifetime of the system.
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Commissioner John Reynolds shared his enthusiasm about the completed project: “I congratulate the Bishop Paiute Tribe and GRID for completing the first tribal solar project under the SOMAH Program. This is exactly the kind of community-based and community-led solar project we need more of, and as the Public Utilities Commission considers ways to improve the SOMAH Program in the future, I hope we hear from tribes and organizations like the ones here today about what we can do to make sure solar reaches everyone.”
The solar project is a partnership between the Bishop Paiute Tribe Community Development Department and GRID Alternatives’ Inland Empire office. “From our first solar installation with the Bishop Paiute Tribe 10 years ago, to this most recent and historic solar project at Coyote Mountain Apartments, GRID IE is proud of its decade-long partnership of delivering renewable energy solutions and job-training opportunities to tribal residents,” said Jaime Alonso, Executive Director of GRID IE Office. “We look forward to deepening and expanding our energy and job training working partnership with the Bishop Paiute Tribe for decades to come.”
The solar installation was completed by Scott Smith, a local contractor, via GRID Alternatives’ Sub Contractor Partnership Program. As part of SOMAH’s on-the-job training, a tribal member took part in the installation as a paid trainee referred from the local job training organization High Point Solar. The workforce development aspect of the project reflects both a SOMAH Program commitment to local neighborhoods and the tribe’s commitment to train 100 tribal members in the skills and trade of renewable energy installation per its 2017 Strategic Energy Plan.
“SOMAH is honored to collaborate with the Bishop Paiute Tribe in our shared mission to empower communities through renewable energy,” said SOMAH Program Manager Rachael Diaz. “By bringing over 49 kilowatts of solar to Coyote Mountain Apartments, we aim to provide tangible benefits to the residents, such as energy bill savings, allowing them to allocate more resources towards their families. We look forward to further enhancing our partnership with Tribal communities, including the Bishop Paiute Tribe, in our shared pursuit of building an equitable sustainable future.”
GRID Alternatives IE supported the tribe through each milestone of the process from program enrollment to project completion. The project was fully funded through the $114,457 incentive provided by the SOMAH Program, $51,086 from a Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund Sempra Foundation grant and over $15,000 as an in-kind donation from the Bishop Paiute Tribe.
News item from GRID