Solar power got the bulk of $9 million in grants from the Department of Energy to tribal and Alaska Native communities.

$9 Million to 24 Tribal and Alaska Native Communities for Clean Energy


Clean, efficient energy projects for 24 American Indian and Alaska Native communities received a boost last week with 16 grants totaling $9 million, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced on March 22.

“The Energy Department is committed to maximizing the development and deployment of energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said Christopher Deschene, Director of DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs. “By providing tribal communities and Alaska Native villages with knowledge, skills, and resources, we hope to help tribal communities harness their local indigenous renewable energy resources, reduce their energy costs, create jobs, and help implement successful strategic energy solutions.”

The grants are in line with President Barack Obama’s ongoing efforts to create partnerships with tribal nations, the DOE said in a media release. In total more than $50 million have been invested since 2002 in programs for about 200 tribal clean energy projects under the auspices of the DOE Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, the DOE said.

“These projects provide Indian Tribes and Alaska Native villages with clean energy solutions that will save communities money and reduce carbon pollution,” the DOE said. “DOE’s funding is expected to be leveraged by nearly $16 million in cost sharing under the selected tribal energy projects, meaning the projects represent a potential total investment value exceeding $25 million.”

The Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians in San Jacinto, California, will save $6 million in electric bills over 20 years by using their share of the grant to install a solar photovoltaic generating system, the DOE said.

The Northern Pueblos Housing Authority on behalf of Picuris Pueblo in Santa Fe—“the smallestet, most isolated and poorest” of the 19 Pueblo tribes in New Mexico—will build a solar array that will save it almost $6.5 million over the 25-year life of the project.

The Bishop Paiute Tribe of Bishop, California, will install solar power on 34 single-family low-income homes and save the homeowners about $1.29 million over the life of the systems and continuing towards the Tribes vision to install solar energy systems on all buildings on the Reservation where technically feasible.

A full list of grantees and projects is at the DOE website.

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