Date: Oct. 11, 2016 –

In years past, many tribal lands were too remote to have access to reliable electricity. Many relied on gas and diesel-powered generators. That is changing, thanks in large part to the Department of Energy’s Tribal Energy Development grant program that is administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The Grid Alternatives Program

One funded program, the GRID Alternatives Program, is using the $1 million in DOE funding to make 92 solar installations on lands owned by six different tribal communities located in Arizona, California, New York, and South Dakota.

The first of the six projects will be a collaborative effort of the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Utility Commission and the Housing Authority of Rosebud, South Dakota. At first, 10 low-income families on the Rosebud Reservation will receive solar electric systems expected to offset 40% or more of their electricity usage and save the tribe a combined $200,000 in lifetime energy costs.

Other GRID Alternatives projects scheduled for later this year include installations for the Bishop Paiute Tribe (in Bishop, CA), the Chippewa Cree Tribe (Box Elder, MO) and the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians (Valley Center, Pauma Valley, and Santa Ysabel, CA).

About GRID Alternatives

GRID Alternatives is a nonprofit solar installer that is dedicated to making solar installations to low-income families in underserved communities. To date, GRID Alternatives has partnered with 40 Native American tribes and more than 300 Native American trainees to install solar for more than 446 tribal member families.

How Microgrids Will Change to Meet Tribal Needs

In coming years, an increasing percentage of electricity generated on tribal lands will be come from geothermal heat pumps and wind. Any source of clean power that can be generated independently in remote areas is almost certain to become more common on tribal lands.

Plan to Attend this Year’s Microgrids Convergence Conference

Don’t miss our upcoming Microgrids Convergence Conference in San Mateo, CA on October 25-26, now in its ninth year.