Recently, the Hopi Tribe in Northeastern Arizona received a significant grant fund of $500,000 to pursue a solar power project. Through solar power, the reservation can benefit immensely and develop a greater sense of independence.
Cleaner energy, shifts in economic policy, more reliable energy, and creating new jobs are a handful of assets the grant money will provide the Hopi Tribe.
The Hopi Reservation’s Struggle For Energy
The current energy supply for the Hopi reservation is nothing short of unacceptable. According to tribe members, they frequently experience blackouts and brownouts even though they have an energy provider.
On top of that, the Hopi Tribe has little to no control over their power sources, one dilemma the grant money intends to fix.
Located in an isolated region of Northeastern Arizona, the Hopi reservation is unconventionally stationed within another reservation (Navajo Nation). As a result of the seclusion, economic struggle is all too common for the Hopi people.
Also, the Hopi economy was devastated when the local coal facility shut down. That said, the solar power project can simultaneously generate clean energy and produce in-demand, well-paying jobs.
Regarding the considerable sum of money, the Hopi Tribe received it from the Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The EDA created the grant to assist communities impacted by the various coal mines that closed last year.
With these funds, the Hopi reservation strives to build a data center and a solar farm to generate cleaner energy and reduce their reliance on outside power companies.
Revolutionizing The Hopi Reservation
The Hopi Tribe’s perusal of a solar power farm could not have come at a better time. Over the past decade, the tribe has endured endless struggles, including legislative fights over land, religious rights, and maintaining a clean water supply.
In addition to lasting tension with the federal government, the tribe’s relationship with the Navajo Nation and Peabody Coal Company produces added stress.
The impact solar power can have on the Hopi Tribe reaches several outlets. First, the reservation can finally obtain a sense of independence by producing their own power instead of relying on outside tribes and companies.
The innovative project can also bring in money, which the reservation will use to improve their water systems. But, perhaps the most lasting impact the solar power project can produce is on the workforce. Such a vast endeavor can significantly shift the Hopi Tribe’s economy.
That said, new jobs and training will allow tribe members to learn new skills and earn a regular paycheck. In addition, the project expands the need for higher education amongst youth tribal members, which is critical given the educational disadvantages most Native American students face.
In the past, Hopi unemployment rates are reached as high as 60%. But, with the tribe’s new solar power project, jobs in science, engineering, math, and technology will become abundant.
Overall, the Hopi Tribe has the potential to revolutionize and better stabilize the reservation, rewrite its energy history, and promote economic development.