Navajo elder receives solar energy system from Navajo company

Navajo Nation Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates visits the home of Modesta Jones after Big Navajo Energy installed solar and wind energy to the home. Submitted photo

Navajo Nation Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates visits the home of Modesta Jones after Big Navajo Energy installed solar and wind energy to the home. Submitted photo

CAMERON, Ariz. — On Dec. 28, Navajo Nation Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates (Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Tse’Daa’Kaan, Upper Fruitland) visited the home of Modesta Jones, a lifelong resident of the community of Cameron, as a Navajo-owned business known as Big Navajo Energy installed a solar/wind battery based power system that will provide electricity for Jones and her family for the first time in decades.

Council Delegate Walter Phelps (Cameron, Coalmine Canyon, Leupp, Tolani Lake, Tsidi To ii) who represents the Cameron community, along with Bates, arranged for the company to donate the equipment to provide electricity for the homeowner who has lived in the Bennett Freeze area her entire life without electricity and running water.

“Solar voltaic installations for families off the grid are the next best thing for access to power and this is a great gift for the family. I know they are truly grateful for it,” Phelps said.

He added that he wanted to help an elderly community member when explaining how he selected the family to

receive the donated equipment.

Big Navajo Energy, an entirely Navajo owned renewable energy company, is in the process of donating solar/wind-battery based power systems and Solar Heaters systems provided by SolarThermiX to families living in the FBFA in cooperation with the Navajo Nation Council.

The system is intended to provide basic amenities such as lighting and heating for the winter season.

Big Navajo Energy president Dory Peters said access to renewable technology will be one of the solutions to bring electricity to more than 18,000 families on the Navajo Nation that do not have electricity.

“It is very difficult to access power of any sort on parts of our reservation. The renewable energy generators that we offer will provide a welcomed solution for our people,” said Peters.

Three families who reside in the Bennett Freeze were selected by council members to receive renewable energy generators and heaters as a way of addressing one of the council’s top priorities — to bring clean and renewable energy to the Navajo Nation.

Bates said he was honored to join the family at their home became the first to receive a new energy system. He added the Office of the Speaker has also invested in the system that provide renewable energy and heating for the office.

“Basic infrastructure remains a tremendous need for families living in the Former Bennett Freeze Area and this provides a solution for families to consider,” Bates said.

Cameron Chapter President Milton Tso also joined the family Dec. 28 and said he hopes that more families take advantage of the technology. He added that he looks forward to partnering with the company to train local community members to learn more about the energy system and to provide maintenance for the systems.

Although the family lives approximately half a mile from the nearest electrical line, the chapter estimates that it would cost over $40,000 to extend the power line to the home site. Peters said the energy system provides a more affordable solution. Peters added that the company is in the process of adding more renewable generators this year in the Former Bennett Freeze Area.

Big Navajo Energy has access to portable renewable energy generators that are military grade and commercial industrial one to 200 megawatt size solutions that only require wind, solar, biomass or geothermal to power them. More information on the energy generators or the direct, emissions free solar thermal heating units, is available by visiting bignavajoenergy.com.

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