SRP joined with officials from the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) and Navajo Nation leaders to break ground on the second phase of the Kayenta Solar facility, Kayenta II, this past August. Adding to the celebration was a surprise visit by Jonathan Scott of HGTV’s Property Brothers who came to learn more about what the new facility can do for the Navajo Nation.
Kayenta II will be a 28-megwatt (MW) expansion of the Kayenta Solar facility and is expected to be commercial by June 2019. At that time, the entire Kayenta Solar facility will produce enough energy to serve about 36,000 homes. Through the partnership with NTUA, SRP will provide technical support in developing interconnection facilities for large-scale renewable development within the Navajo Nation, as well as provide procurement and financing expertise related to the development and ownership of such projects.
Currently, the 27.3 megawatt Kayenta Solar Project (Kayenta I) provides electricity to Navajo communities served by NTUA, generating power for an estimated 18,000 homes. At the height of construction, close to 284 people of whom 85% were of Navajo descent, worked on the project. It is expected that Kayenta II will employ a greater number of Navajo for the workforce.
The Navajo workforce was paid $5.2 million and received over 4,700 hours of specialized training in solar utility construction for the Kayenta Solar Project. The construction also generated $3,017,055 in taxes paid to the Navajo Nation. Overall, it is estimated that $15.6 million in economic activity occurred within the surrounding communities during the construction period. Kayenta II is expected to produce similar economic benefits and salaries to the region.
The Kayenta II project serves as a platform for future ventures in which NTUA and SRP will work together toward the development of up to 500 MW of renewable energy projects within the Navajo Nation over the next five to 10 years. In addition, proceeds from the Kayenta projects and future renewable projects will help pave the way for Light up the Navajo Nation, a joint program between NTUA and the American Public Power Association dedicated to the electrification of homes on the Navajo Nation and creation of a better future for local communities.
“Extending electricity to homes without has always been our goal as well as our challenge,” said NTUA General Manager Walter Haase. “Kayenta II is catalyst in that direction and will help us to improve the standard of living for many Navajo families.”
“This project represents a significant addition to SRP’s growing list of renewable resources and we are extremely honored to work alongside NTUA to bring this amazing facility online. We look forward to carrying on our decades-long partnership with the Navajo Nation as we pursue new opportunities together through the Kayenta Solar Facility and other significant efforts,” said SRP Vice President John Hoopes.