November 5, 2018 Read More →

Navajo nation eyes utility-scale solar with growing interest

Renewable Energy World:

Momentum is growing around modernizing tribal renewable-energy policies on the Navajo Nation of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, according to a report published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

The report —“Growing Interest in Developing Navajo Utility-Scale Solar Industry: Policy Momentum and Grassroots Support; Vast Tribal Natural Resource Remains Largely Untapped”— details movement on three fronts:

In an evolving tribal utility policy toward more utility-scale solar, a shift driven in part by the success of the Kayenta Solar Facility, a 27.3MW, 200-acre project that came online in 2017 and is now feeding into the regional grid. Kayenta, seen as a pilot for similar initiatives, is also serving as a training ground for large scale solar-installation-and-construction expertise.

In central tribal government support for more solar infrastructure in general, including for community-owned solar farms that allow for revenue streams to be shared with local tribal chapters and land owners. Of note on this front: The creation in recent weeks of the Office of Energy Resources and Development.

In campaigns to bring community-owned solar projects into locales that have access to key transmission lines and where ownership models are expected to include revenue streams for the Navajo Nation and local tribal chapters alike.In spite of President Donald Trump’s ambition to “bring back coal” in the US, 2018 is set to be a record year for closures of coal-fired power plants, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

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