Navajo Receive Federal Loan To Complete Solar Farm

Published: Thursday, May 30, 2019 - 1:01pm
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2019 - 3:41pm
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Kayenta I and Kayenta II combined will produce enough solar energy to light up 25,000 Navajo homes.

The federal government is loaning the Navajo Nation $94 million to complete a solar farm and help reduce customer's electricity rates.

With the money, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority will be able to complete a 55.1-megawatt solar facility that will provide renewable energy for Navajos near Kayenta.

NTUA began operating the first phase of the solar farm called Kayenta I two years ago. The second phase of the plant is set to go online next week. NTUA's executive consultant Glenn Steiger said the loan will go a long way.

"It's significant for the tribe and for NTUA's customers in general in that we use part of the revenue from these plants to maintain electricity rates or reduce them," Steiger said. "Part of the revenue is used to build out to those folks who still don't have power."

About 15,000 Navajo live without electricity, and half the tribe is unemployed. The solar projects have provided temporary work for more than 300 Navajo.

The loan is part of an $858 million effort to upgrade rural electricity in 17 states.

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