SRP is pleased to announce an extended agreement with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) that allows the Kayenta Solar generation facility to continue to produce 27 megawatts (MW) of clean energy for Navajo Nation homes through March 2038.
The full facility includes Kayenta I and II and is a 55 MW renewable energy plant that produces green power on the Navajo Nation. The Kayenta facilities help NTUA supplement its power resource mix and maintain some of the lowest consumer electric rates in the region.
A renewed commitment to clean energy
In a recent gathering on Jan. 20, 2022, leaders from SRP, NTUA and the Navajo Nation came together to sign the agreement. The organizations also signed a contract for a brand-new 200 MW solar resource on the Navajo Nation called Cameron Solar that is set to be operational by the end of 2023.
Back in 2019, the Kayenta Solar generation facility was expanded by 28 MW and now produces enough emissions-free energy to serve approximately 36,000 homes.
In September 2018, we shared that SRP, along with the NTUA and Navajo Nation leaders, celebrated the groundbreaking for an expansion of Kayenta Solar.
The facility paved the way for future collaboration in which NTUA and SRP are working together toward the development of renewable energy projects within the Navajo Nation. This supports the Nation’s goal of charting its own energy future and improving the health and welfare of its residents.
“We have come a long way to bring power and light to the residents of the Navajo Nation,” said NTUA General Manager Walter Haase. “This solar plant not only brings energy to the Nation but has been a catalyst to help us to improve the standard of living for many Navajo families.”
Kayenta Solar facility will continue to provide solar energy
The Kayenta Solar facility is a first-of-its-kind large-scale renewable solar farm built on the Navajo Nation. It represents a vital milestone in the Navajo Nation’s transition from a coal-based economy and infuses value in the local community in more ways than one, including ongoing tax revenues. To take this Navajo Nation-serving solar farm from concept to reality, SRP provided procurement and financing expertise related to the development and ownership of the project.
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 its workforce.
During the construction of Kayenta Solar, the Navajo workforce was paid $5.2 million and received over 4,700 hours of specialized training in solar utility construction. 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.
“The second phase of the Kayenta Solar Project demonstrates the Navajo Nation’s commitment to a responsible transition to renewable energy sources,” said Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council LoRenzo Bates. “We are creating jobs and revenue from an emerging market, while remaining mindful of the associated costs, the time that it will take to transition, and other sources of energy development.”
Proceeds from the Kayenta projects and future renewable projects will help pave the way for Light Up Navajo, 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. SRP has been recognized by NTUA as a cornerstone member of the Light Up Navajo initiative through its work in securing solar power purchase agreements and providing ongoing support to NTUA in the development of renewable projects.
Last spring SRP was one of 28 volunteer utilities that participated in the Light Up the Navajo project and has committed to participating once again in 2020. Through this effort, a total of 233 Native American families received electric service to their homes for the first time and the program expects to exceed that number in its second year.
“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.