FLAGSTAFF, Ariz - Grand Canyon Trust (GCT) is partnering with Shonto Economic Development Corporation's (SEDC) Renewable Energy Division to install a top market 1.5 kilowatt turnkey solar system and 18.2 cubic foot refrigerator at the home of Lucinda Jody, a Navajo resident of Leupp, Ariz. The installation will take place on Saturday, November 5th.
Jody lives off-grid on the Navajo Nation, and for years has utilized a solar system to power her home. Recently, her solar power system was recommended for replacement, and because she did not have access to electricity, Jody had to find temporary care outside her home for her 10-year-old grandson. Her grandson has respiratory problems and a heart murmur, which requires he have access to an electrical outlet for medical equipment. The installation of the new system will allow Jody's grandson to return home, and will ultimately help to improve their quality of life.
Jody and her grandson are among thousands of Navajo families who do not have electricity. Currently, there are an estimated 18,000 un-electrified homes on the Navajo Nation. While there have been attempts by the Navajo Nation to provide forms of renewable energy electrification to these homes through enterprises and various agencies, most have had little to moderate success. Shonto Economic Development Corporation, a for-profit business incorporated on the Navajo Nation and with the State of Arizona, recently launched a renewable energy company with a vision to create a successful model in the community that will provide quality renewable energy systems to electrify homes. Utilizing advisors from various professional fields in renewable energy, particularly tribal energy projects, Shonto is ready to launch its model into the community to begin resolving the issue of inadequate rural electrification.
The installment of the new system in Jody's home will be the first of many systems SEDC will donate as part of its effort to give back to the community, and will be providing all retail, installation, and maintenance through its operation. Jody will be receiving the best perform¬ing, most reliable system available in the current market. SEDC's goals include providing their customers with the largest system possible, with top tier product, at a fair and affordable cost. SEDC will manufacture its own hardware, which will not only help to reduce cost, but will ensure they create a durable system that will meet the highest possible standards.
"It has been a priority of the Shonto community to lead by example in embracing renewable energy and sustainable building technology," said Brett Isaac, SEDC Project Manager. "It is integrated into the community's plans for new public facilities, and this is the start of a movement by the community to incorporate renewable energy into its facilities in hopes of inspiring other communities to embrace the benefits of alternative energy."
Shonto Renewable Energy Division is the first community-owned renewable energy retail and installation company on the Navajo Nation. The community, partners, and tribal officials celebrated the launch of the company this month. SEDC is a venture owned 100 percent by the community through stock ownership retained by the Shonto Community Gov¬ernance (SCG) and the Shonto Community Development Corporation (SCDC).
GCT has worked closely with the community of Shonto, the first Local Governance Act Certified chapter of the Navajo Nation, for over five years to help assist them in diversifying their economy.
"Shonto is now implementing several innovative green business ventures, and have created a superior product that is affordable and dependable for the Navajo household," said Tony Skrelunas, program director of GCT's Native America Program. "Shonto community is also creating a business that will create jobs and keep talent on the Navajo Nation, rather than utilizing outside consultants and businesses that are not within the community. They are invested in creating a long-term sustainable model that will adequately address the needs of the community."
The public was invited to attend the installation and the celebration between the start-up of a viable, Navajo-owned community venture, and a strong partnership between Shonto community and Grand Canyon Trust on Nov. 5. Student volunteers from Northern Arizona University will be assisting with the installation. For more information or to volunteer, call Natasha at (928) 774-7488.
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