HOUSING + HOMELESSNESS

$14.2 million awarded to Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation for solar electricity

Mar 6, 2024, 6:59 PM | Updated: 7:40 pm

This Oct. 25, 2018 file photo shows Monument Valley, Utah. The White House is investing $72 million...

FILE - This Oct. 25, 2018, file photo shows Monument Valley, Utah. The White House is investing $72 million to bring electricity to homes on tribal lands, including those belonging to the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Reservation. (Rick Bowmer, Associated Press)

(Rick Bowmer, Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY — The White House is investing $72 million to bring electricity to homes on tribal lands, including those belonging to the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Reservation. The two tribes will receive $14.2 million of the grant money.

More than 10,000 homes across the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation do not currently receive electricity from the power grid.

“It could be similar to a camping situation,” said Native Renewables Deputy Director Chelsea Chee. “You have either a battery-operated lantern or an oil lantern or a kerosene lantern.”

Native Renewables is the non-profit responsible for applying for the Biden Administration’s grant program. That program is part of the president’s Investing in America agenda.

Navajo, Hopi, and other tribes will receive electricity funding

This first round of funding is from the Office of Indian Affairs’ Tribal Electrification Program. It will provide financial and technical assistance for 21 Tribes to install clean energy. The program will also bring more job opportunities to federal reservations.

Chee said this grant money will provide them with modern resources. Hundreds of homes will be chosen to receive access to solar energy.

“Especially in the southwest, we have some of the best, if not the best, resources for solar,” Chee emphasized. “It’s a good solution to the need for electricity.”

It’s not clear yet which homes will be selected, though those who live furthest from the energy grid will be the top priority.

Indian Country’s revitalization and future depends on Tribal households, schools and businesses having access to clean, reliable power,” said Assistant Secretary of the Interior Bryan Newland in the press release.

“The Tribal Electrification Program is important for providing Tribes a much-needed boost to their efforts of closing the access-to-electricity gap in their communities.”

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$14.2 million awarded to Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation for solar electricity