WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Háyoołkááł Work Group, a clearinghouse for Navajo Nation energy development initiatives, and water-and-energy company Salt River Project today announced a partnership to develop 200 megawatts of solar energy on the Navajo Nation.
SRP issued a request for proposals (RFP) for competitive solar projects to develop up to 400 megawatts of solar power, including 200 megawatts that will be dedicated for a solar project on the Navajo Nation. Tempe, Ariz.-based SRP is a nonprofit water and energy company that serves more than 2 million people living in Central Arizona.
The RFP calls for solar project proposals that are a minimum of 100 megawatts and up to 200 megawatts in size. Proposed projects must achieve commercial operation no later than December 2023 to ensure they are eligible for federal tax incentives.
Proposals are due by May 4, 2020 and the selection of projects is expected by July 2020. Information and the RFP can be found on the SRP website.
“It’s the beginning of a new era for the Navajo Nation — the start of new opportunities,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a statement. “We recognize that coal-based energy provided many benefits for the workers and their families, but times are changing and energy development is changing. As Diné people, we have always been resilient in times of change, and that’s what we are doing by seeking developers for up to 200 megawatts of solar development with SRP. We are looking to become the leader in renewable energy throughout the Southwest and Indian Country.”
Partnering on solar energy allows both the tribe and SRP to increase their production and use of renewable energy as they move away from coal, which had been dominant in the region for decades.
“This project is critical as it moves us forward in our goal to invest in more solar energy projects and offer our customers a diverse mix of affordable, emission-free power. We are also proud to work with the Navajo Nation as they facilitate further development of renewable energy,” SRP General Manager and CEO Mike Hummel said in a statement.