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Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California

Gardnerville, NV

Project Title
Washoe Tribe Clean Energy Project

Type of Application

DOE Grant Number

Project Amounts
DOE: $495,063
Awardee: $120,308
Total: $615,371

Project Status
See project status

Project Period of Performance
Start April 2015
End April 2016


The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California will install seven ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays throughout its three communities in Nevada, covering approximately two acres cumulatively. For the Carson Community, a 37.6-kilowatt (kW) array at the Washoe One Stop and a 14.4-kW array at the Carson Community Gym are proposed. A 35.6-kW solar array is proposed for the Stewart Community Wellness Center. The following projects are proposed for the Dresslerville Community: a 36.8-kW array for the Senior Center, an 8-kW array at the Healing Center, an 11.9-kW array at the Dresslerville Head Start, and a 16.2-kW array at the Dresslerville Community Center. The proposed project will help offset electrical costs to these tribally owned buildings.

The proposed project will reduce building energy usage accumulatively for the seven buildings by 100%. The project will provide a means to reduce energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the Tribe’s carbon footprint. Benefits of the project will be evaluated through successful project installation, education and outreach, and overall energy savings.

Project Description


The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California (Washoe Tribe) is a federally recognized Tribe organized pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934, as amended. The Tribe has four federally recognized communities (Stewart, Carson, Dresslerville, and Woodfords), three in Nevada and one in California. The Tribe also has jurisdiction over trust parcels and allotments in both Nevada and California. Each of the four communities has a separate governing Community Council; overall, the Washoe Tribal Council governs the Tribe.

The Washoe Environmental Protection Department (WEPD) was established in the tribal government structure in 1998. The WEPD is responsible for carrying out protection of the natural and cultural resources and management for lands within the traditional territory and in over 73,500 acres of trust and fee lands. The Washoe Tribe’s policy is to protect, maintain, and enhance its natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

With the assistance of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding, the WEPD has completed 22 energy audits on tribal administration and community buildings and completed an alternative energy feasibility study. The WEPD was the first business in Nevada to install solar under the NV Energy SolarGenerations Program; it  also participated in the 2009 and 2010 SolarGenerations and WindGenerations Program to install approximately 124.5 kW of renewable energy in the Stewart and Dresslerville communities.

The Washoe Tribe’s energy vision is:

  • To guarantee the availability of affordable and reliable energy to all its members
  • To further the Tribe’s goal for self-sufficiency and self-determination through empowerment in the Tribe’s energy interests
  • To reduce the environmental impact of the Tribe’s energy consumption
  • To promote conservation and efficient use of energy
  • To produce a majority of the Tribe’s energy needs through renewable sources by 2025
  • Contribute to the Washoe Tribe’s local economy consistent with its overall mission, which is to “achieve and ensure the integrity of an environment and way of life that is one with nature’s elements, community, traditions, and values that promote health and wellness for future generations.”

The long-term energy goals of the Tribe are:

Goal 1: To guarantee the availability of affordable and reliable energy to all of its members.

Goal 2: To reduce the energy bills of tribal members and administration.

Goal 3: To further the Tribe’s goals for self-sufficiency and self-determination through the empowerment in its energy interest.

Goal 4: To minimize the environmental impact of current and/or future development.

Goal 5: To produce all of the Tribe’s energy needs through renewable sources by 2025.

Goal 6: To build sustainable homes and make existing buildings more efficient.

Goal 7: To contribute to the local economy with the Washoe Tribe’s cultural values.

Project Objectives

The proposed project will result in the opportunity to provide clean energy for tribal members, reduce energy bills for the Tribe and its members, assist the Tribe in providing additional services to tribal members with the saved energy and saved money, and reduce the Tribe’s carbon footprint. These objectives coincide with the Tribe’s long-term energy goals.

Project Scope

The Washoe Tribe is proposing seven ground-mounted solar PV arrays within the three Washoe tribal communities in Nevada, covering a total of approximately two acres. The proposed project will result in a cumulative installed capacity of 161 kW AC. The proposed projects will offset the majority of the electrical costs to these tribally owned buildings. All of the buildings are located on tribal trust land. The proposed projects were sized and developed based on the buildings’ 2012–2013 energy consumption using NV Energy’s (the incumbent utility) sizing calculations per the SolarGenerations Incentive Program. The proposed project total annual savings for all buildings will be approximately $30,000. The proposed project will also reduce consumption from the NV Energy grid by 288,282 kilowatt-hours, offsetting approximately 149 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Project Location

The Washoe Tribe will install these solar PV arrays within the Reservation in each of its three Nevada communities: Carson, Stewart, and Dresslerville.

Project Status

This project is complete. For more, see the final report. The March 2015 and December 2016 project status reports provide more information. 

The project was competitively selected under the DOE Office of Indian Energy Tribal Energy Deployment Program's fiscal year 2015 funding opportunity announcement “Deployment of Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects on Indian Lands” (DE-FOA-0001021) and started in April 2015.