On September 20, Swinerton Renewable Energy (SRE) joined the Navajo Nation at the ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration of their Kayenta II Solar Facility. In the 2019 summer issue of the Swinerton Quarterly, we highlighted the impressive work SRE has performed for the Navajo Nation in Arizona. The Kayenta project brought electricity to much of the land for the first time, as 32% of homes lack electricity and 86% lack natural gas.
Although Kayenta is now complete, SRE continues to return to the Navajo Nation for the Lightmakers project. It is an ongoing program with a long-term commitment. SRE donates all labor costs and their trade partners help donate materials and equipment.
“This area and these people have inspired a quest to solve a big issue that we can work toward with small, simple solutions: providing all Americans with a basic need—power,” said Jennifer Hershman.
The Lightmakers project is a collaboration between SRE, Goal Zero, and the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA). SRE is installing portable power packs in homes that can charge a variety of small devices without being connected to the grid. The system includes a small roof-mounted solar panel and LED “Light-A-Life” lanterns.
They completed 10 homes in June across a 500-mile span through Arizona and New Mexico, with 16 more completed in October and a plan to work on 80 more in 2020. They will also establish a training program with NTUA for local installs. They are also continuing to support the “Light Up Navajo” fundraising campaign. With their trade partners’ help, they donated $27,000 last year and plan for $35,000 in 2020.