Green chile, mutton stew and pinons, the southwest is perhaps best known for its outstanding foods, but there is so much more. Right now, the Southwest region is also home to 33 existing coal-fired power plants and thousands of abandoned uranium mines. Located in the four-corners area of the country, the Navajo Nation sits in the heart of the Southwest. With extreme summer temperatures and severe droughts, the Navajo Nation faces serious energy crises. With an overabundance of sun, the Navajo Nation also possesses a wealth of solar power potential.
The Navajo Nation has long been recognized as home to coal power plants and uranium mining, but Honor the Earth seeks a new future for the Navajo people. Partnering with Grand Canyon Trust, Diné College and Albuquerque-based solar manufacturer Sacred Power, Honor the Earth has been working to help make The Jóhonaá éi (Sun) Project installation at Diné College’s Shiprock Campus possible. After over two years of research to determine the best location and identify partners, Honor the Earth coordinated the installation a 19+kW rooftop solar photovoltaic array to help offset the tribal college’s power costs. Honor the Earth is also helping create a class curriculum for the college so that students may have hands-on experience in clean energy development. The project, installed in October 2010, provides two training sessions about solar power and its viability. In doing so, Honor the Earth hopes to excite tribal peoples, not only from the Navajo Nation, but from the many tribes & pueblos currently living in the southwest area.
The installation is complete and a celebration and the first training were held on November 19th at Diné College’s Shiprock Campus. We look forward to seeing more solar projects at Diné College in the future!