Pala Band of Mission Indians
Pala Community Microgrids Project
Type of Application
DOE Grant Number
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Project Period of Performance
The Pala Community Microgrids Project will install approximately 1,070 kilowatts (kW) of solar phtovoltaic (PV) systems and 10 kW/26 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of battery energy storage systems (BESS) to provide autonomous operations of multiple essential tribal facilities during emergency situations for tribal community resilience. The project will displace approximately 102% of the Pala Band of Mission Indians' electricity consumption at eight facilities, saving nearly $6.4 million in net energy costs and displacing approximately 933,553 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) over the project's 25-year lifetime.
The Pala Band of Mission Indians is a federally recognized Indian Tribe that occupies a 12,273-acre Reservation in northeastern San Diego County within the San Luis Rey Watershed. Established in 1875, the Pala Band is one of 15 federally recognized Tribes comprising the California Mission Indians.
In addition to completing a Climate Change Action Plan in 2020, the Pala Environmental Department completed an energy options analysis process with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy First Steps program. Through the options analysis process, the Band evaluated various energy options in terms of their ability to support the Tribe's energy goals, including goals for sustainability, energy independence and self-reliance, climate change impact mitigation, and identification of options for priority development.
This project is designed specifically to support the goals established in the Pala Climate Change Adaptation Plan, and to implement one of the priority action steps identified in the Pala Energy Options Analysis.
The primary goal of the project is to deploy autonomous, integrated renewable energy systems to provide sustainable resilient energy supplies for essential tribal facilities. Other project goals include reducing the Band's energy costs and environmental impacts, supporting tribal sovereignty and self-sufficiency by enabling the Band to exercise control over the way energy is produced and managed on the Pala Reservation, and reducing dependence on external energy supplies (especially fossil-derived supplies) from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and various fuel suppliers.
The project's goals are driven by a series of goals the Pala Band established to address the Band's energy sustainability, resiliency, sovereignty, self-sufficiency, and affordability. The Pala Climate Change Adaptation Plan describes a series of goals, including becoming a more adaptive community that can remain resilient and independent in the face of climate change. Among other things, the Band's goals seek to increase community resilience and preparedness for SDG&E outages caused by Public Safety Power Shutoffs, wildfires, earthquakes, and other threats to lives and operations of critical facilities on Pala lands.
The Pala Community Microgrids Project is designed to provide integrated renewable energy systems for autonomous operation, independent of the centralized electric power grid, to power multiple essential tribal facilities during emergency situations for tribal community resilience. The project will install approximately 1,070 kW of solar PV systems and approximately 10 kW/26 kWh of BESS, and integrate the PV with 500.6 kW/1,914-kWh of existing separate BESS, to assure autonomous renewable energy supplies for eight tribal facilities that are essential to the health, safety, and welfare of the Pala Band of Mission Indians. The PV will displace approximately 102% of the Band's electricity consumption at the eight facilities, saving nearly $6.4 million in net energy costs and displacing approximately 933,553 pounds of carbon dioxide over the project's expected 25-year lifetime.
The design-build contractor (DBC) will complete project design, engineering, and specifications. The DBC will supply the solar PV and balance of systems and will integrate the PV systems into autonomous microgrid controls and distribution systems at the project facilities. The project management consultant/owner's representative will assist the Band's project management efforts and will assist in procurement, contracting, quality assurance, grant management, and construction management during deployment.
SDG&E will participate in the project by assisting the Band with technical inputs involving load information, microgrid interconnection with the SDG&E distribution system, and solutions to support resilience in times of Public Safety Power Shutoffs, and other events. SDG&E has provided a letter of commitment to provide these technical inputs.
The Pala Band of Mission Indians occupies a 12,273-acre Reservation in northeastern San Diego County within the San Luis Rey Watershed. The project includes sustainable energy systems capable of autonomous operation to support essential tribal services at eight separate facilities in four locations on the Pala Reservation, including: 1) Pala Tribal Administration Building, Pala Fitness Center, and Radio Station; 2) Wastewater Treatment Plant; 3) Pala Utilities and Tribal Services; and 4) Pala Tribal Law Enforcement and Pala Youth Center.
The project was competitively selected in Fiscal Year 2021 under the DOE Office of Indian Energy's funding opportunity announcement "Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands - 2020" (DE-FOA-0002317) and started in October 2021.
The project status reports provide more information.