Quinault Indian Nation, BEF, and Twende Solar partner to develop Tribe’s first solar project
In the summer of 2020, BEF began planning with the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) and Twende Solar about installing a donated solar system on a community building on the reservation. The system would generate economic savings for the Tribe, increase climate resilience by adding battery storage in the case of power outages, and provide workforce development and job training opportunities for QIN community members interested in pursuing careers in renewable energy.
Less than one year later, the installation of a 23.7 kW solar system on the Queets Community Center is complete and the system is up and running! Over the course of five days in February, a twenty-four person team of volunteers installed the project, shared meals, swapped stories, and played basketball into the evenings. Volunteers came from Ashland, Seattle, Olympia, and Portland, representing four different solar contractors and two nonprofits.
The system will generate an estimated $2,000 in electricity bill savings annually for the Tribe, and the battery backup system can power lights, refrigeration, device charging, and other critical needs in the event of a power outage. Nine Quinault community members volunteered over the course of the weekend and participated in an online solar job training program offered by Solar Energy International, Remote Energy and Red Cloud Renewable this spring. These hours will count towards certifications from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.
What’s next for the Quinault
BEF is continuing to work with the Quinault on their next solar project: a 100 kW system on their Generations Building to be paired with additional workforce development and job skills training opportunities for QIN community members. This next project will build upon the momentum created with the first project and equip QIN community members with the skills to continue developing renewable energy assets on the reservation in the future.