Solar panels may provide power to remote residents

WINDOW ROCK

Submitted
Salt Lake City-based Ensign Group International and Big Navajo Energy have designed lithium-battery solar panels and silent generators for people without easy access to electricity. A panel was displayed recently next to the Navajo Nation Council Chamber.

Representatives from Utah energy companies say they can provide solar energy and units for Navajo families living in remote areas on the reservation.

Salt Lake City-based Ensign Group International and Big Navajo Energy have designed lithium-battery solar panels and silent generators for people without easy access to electricity.

Glenn Jakins of Ensign designed a silent noise generator, which does not run off gasoline or LED batteries. Instead it runs off solar panels designed by BNE to run noiseless generators, which are powered by lithium-based batteries to provide electricity to housing units.

“Lithium technology is relatively new,” said Jakins. “These batteries can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. You don’t need to use gasoline or propane again with these.”

He said he designed the “silent” generator after going on a camping trip and getting fed up with the noisy generator.

He said this would benefit families and people who live in remote areas who must travel miles to get groceries, pay electric bills and spend money for gasoline on noisy generators.

BNE President Dory Peters said Ensign and BNE installed their new equipment in five Navajo homes over the past week in the Cameron, Arizona, area. He said the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission office has helped to fund the solar units for 15 families with $60,000.

“I love it, I am very interested in it,” said Cameron Chapter President Milton Tso. “It’s the future and gives people power in hard-to-reach places.”

With the help of Tso and Council Delegate Walter Phelps (Cameron/Coalmine Canyon/Leupp/Tolani Lake/Tsidi To ii) BNE and Ensign delivered the solar panels to the five families this week and hope to get 10 more families installed this year.

Tso is excited about giving electricity to families living in remote areas in his chapter and hopes to one day have the whole Cameron area served by solar power. Solar could power the chapter house, a senior center and a dental clinic, he said.

BNE has installed solar panels around the Southwest in their nearly five-year existence, according to Peters.

The companies installed the solar panels, generators and batteries that can power 12,000 watts and that cost around $8,000 and smaller units that power 1,500 watts and cost $3,000.


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