The Bishop Paiute Tribe has announced the completion of more than 200 solar installations on homes in their community. This initiative is part of GRID’s Tribal Solar Program, designed to provide clean and renewable energy to 50 tribal communities across Arizona, California, Montana, New York, and South Dakota.
The Bishop Paiute Tribe, located at the foot of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, is the eighth largest tribe in California, with more than 2,000 enrolled members. The tribe is committed to self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and maintaining strong self-governance as a sovereign nation.
Thanks to the Bishop Paiute Tribe’s support and the qualified tribal members’ participation, the Tribal Environmental Department has achieved its goal of serving more than 200 out of 400 potential homes with clean, renewable solar energy by 2023.
The solar systems are provided to homeowners at no cost to them. The program is funded by cost-shared grants to the individual tribes from the DOE, Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, which provides technical assistance, training, and funding to tribes across the country. These installations were also funded in part by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the federal stimulus bill to aid public health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The no-cost solar power installations make an incredible difference in the everyday lives of our community members. The savings from the installations are making a real difference, especially for tribal members in the greatest need. This is a large step towards becoming more self-sufficient,” said Brian Adkins, tribal Environmental director.
The Bishop Paiute Tribe’s Energy Vision is a commitment to progressive development and self-sufficiency that the installation of these solar power systems has furthered. The tribe prioritizes its members’ well-being and the community’s environmental sustainability. Through continuing education and its environmental programs, the Tribe is working to achieve energy self-sufficiency while preserving cultural traditions, protecting the environment, developing the economy, and sustaining the efficient use of resources.
Over the life of the 207 solar systems installed by the Bishop Paiute Tribe to date, over 13,000,000kWh of electricity will be produced, saving the residents nearly $3,000,000 in energy costs while eliminating 6,250 tons of greenhouse gasses. This amount of greenhouse gas is the equivalent of planting over 145,000 trees or taking 1,200 cars off the road for one year.
Beyond the environmental and direct financial benefits of the solar installations to the homeowners served, a crucial part of the program is the economic benefits provided by on-the-job training for members of the Bishop Paiute Tribe.