Project Overview

Tribe/Awardee
Spokane Indian Housing Authority

Location
Wellpinit, WA

Project Title
Spokane Reservation Residential Solar Energy Project

Type of Application
Deployment

DOE Grant Number
DE-IE0000131

Project Amounts
DOE: $2,529,474
Awardee: $843,158
Total: $3,372,632

Project Status
See project status

Project Period of Performance
Start: 6/1/2021
End: 12/31/2023

Summary

The Spokane Indian Housing Authority (SIHA) will install approximately 140 solar photovoltaic (PV) systems—100 5-kilowatt (kW) roof-mounted and 40 9-kW ground-mounted—totaling 980 kW on tribal members' homes on the Spokane Indian Reservation. On average, the project will reduce participating tribal members' utility bills by approximately $540 to $1,000 during the first year, saving an estimated total of $5,366,080 over the anticipated 35-year life of the systems.

Project Description

Background

Spokane is a Salish word meaning "Children of the Sun" or "Sun People." The Tribe is of the Interior Salish Group, which has inhabited northeast Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana for many centuries and presently lives in and around Wellpinit, Washington. Over the past 9 years, the Tribe and SIHA have developed long-term energy goals and visions rooted in their strong interest in reliable, sustainable energy infrastructure that provides significant tribal member job opportunities and improves the Reservation economy.

The Tribal Council established Spokane Indian Housing Authority (SIHA) for the purposes of: 1) remedying unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions that are injurious to the public health, safety, welfare, and morals; 2) alleviating the acute shortage of decent, safe, and sanitary housing; and 3) providing housing, housing assistance, and related services on and near the Reservation and in other areas where members of the Tribe reside.
SIHA will build off its successful Children of the Sun Energy Infrastructure Initiative with this project that will install approximately 980 kW of solar PV to power 140 SIHA-owned, -controlled, and -constructed tribal member homes on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Project Objectives

The goals and objectives of this project are: 1) take a significant step toward energy independence for tribal members, including the low- to moderate-income members who live in SIHA housing, by designing, building, and operating 980 kW of solar PV installations that will serve 140 tribal member homes; 2) lower tribal member energy costs by providing 12,150 kWh of electricity per year at substantially reduced costs; 3) reduce participating tribal member utility bills by approximately $540 to $1,000 per year on average during the first year; 4) provide construction training and jobs to six to eight tribal members and operation and maintenance (O&M) training and job opportunities to four to six tribal members; and 5) allow SIHA and the Tribe to become leaders in reliable community-scale residential clean energy infrastructure improvements so they can serve as an example to other housing authorities and tribal communities of how to combine federal funding and tax credit value to successfully implement reliable clean energy projects to lower residential energy costs, improve electric reliability, reduce their environmental footprints, and create significant job opportunities. 
This project is consistent with the Tribe's and SIHA's long-term energy vision.

Project Scope

The primary scope of work consists of developing, designing, installing, and commissioning 980 kW of solar PV generating systems for 140 SIHA-owned, -controlled, and -constructed tribal residences, and providing an expected annual first-year savings of approximately $114,345 and an estimated 25,500 MWh of emission-free electricity over the expected 35-year project life. This will reduce the Tribe's carbon footprint by more than 1,270 tons per year. The project will also provide six to eight tribal members with construction training and jobs, four to six tribal members with operations and maintenance training, and two with jobs—resulting in all gaining valuable hands-on experience and workforce development training. System performance will be monitored for at least one year following interconnection.

Project Location

This project will take place on the Spokane Indian Reservation, located in and around Wellpinit, Washington.

Project Status

The project was competitively selected under the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy's Fiscal Year 2019 funding opportunity announcement "Energy Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands - 2020" (DE-FOA-0002168) and started in June 2021.

The November 2021 project status report provides more information.