Solar energy continues to be an important resource for tribes, especially to support energy savings, resilience and sovereignty. Important funding resources may be available to help assess feasibility and implement solar energy projects, as well as provide workforce development training to promote tribal members' involvement in the renewable energy industry. The following grant funding resources have been utilized by tribes for solar project development:
- GRID Alternatives Tribal Solar Program
- Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) - Renewable Energy System Grants
- Indian Energy & Economic Development - Grant Funding Program
- WA State Department of Commerce - Energy Efficiency & Solar Grants
- Solar Deployment Grant Program - Clean Energy Fund
|The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) Energy Program is another great resource for tribes interested in solar energy, including upcoming events. Link to ATNI website.|
As sovereign nations, tribal reservation communities may have limited access to solar incentives offered by the US federal government. Therefore, grant funding resources and partnerships have played an important role in developing solar energy projects, energy industry workforce development training programs, and other energy resiliency initiatives such as implementing a microgrid system. While California varies greatly from Washington State in its policies and incentives for solar energy, the microgrid system development by the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe highlights the partnership opportunities, energy savings and resiliency benefits of a solar powered microgrid system. Link to the Blue Lake Rancheria project overview.
(The Blue Lake Rancheria (BLR) low-carbon microgrid project. Left to right: Jana Ganion, Sustainability Director and microgrid project manager for BLR site; Kristen Radescky, Senior Research Engineer, Schatz Energy Research Center; and Ana Zurawski, Humboldt State University student and BLR microgrid intern. Photo courtesy of US Climate Resilience Toolkit)
Special thanks to Jack Newman, SW Board Member (and of Sazan Environmental Services) and Ernie Rasmussen, Washington State Department of Commerce Tribal Liaison, for their contribution to this page.