Sun fuels internet, phone, power for family

Girl pets dog, standing next to solar panel next to house.

Navajo Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
This solar panel outside the Charley family’s home powers the family’s phone line, wi-fi and electricity.

PINEDALE, N.M.

Like many across the Navajo Nation, the Charley family’s home didn’t have electricity, phone service, internet or running water. That partially changed a few months ago when the family received a solar powered phone line, wi-fi and enough electricity to power the home from Sacred Wind Communications.

“It did help us a lot,” said Suzanne Charley. Now, the family can watch as much Netflix and YouTube as they want, which the five children are happy about. “They like to be on their phones a lot,” Suzanne said with a smile.

The family of seven recently moved from Crownpoint back to Pinedale and had been using a generator for power. However, this alternative was too expensive for the family to maintain. “It took a lot of money,” Suzanne said.

Not having electricity was the reason the family’s oldest children moved back to live with their grandmother in Crownpoint to go to school. “They didn’t want to live without electric and water,” she said.

Like a lot of Generation Z, Charley’s children need internet access to do homework and stay connected to their friends and family. Currently the children go back and forth from their grandmother’s home to their parents’ as they attend school in Crownpoint. “Now, they want to stay here,” she said. “They want to come back for good this summer.”

Kim Kirk, business office manager for Sacred Wind Communications, is glad the company was able to provide a solar panel for the family to utilize for phone and internet. The family didn’t have to pay for the solar panel or the installation. “Without the solar panel (they) didn’t have that luxury before,” Kirk said. The family only pays for the landline and the wi-fi.

The solar panel is an option that Sacred Wind offers for low-income families that meet certain requirements since October of last year. They have since helped 14 other families.


 To read the full article, pick up your copy of the Navajo Times at your nearest newsstand Thursday mornings!

Are you a digital subscriber? Read the most recent three weeks of stories by logging in to your online account.

  Find newsstand locations at this link.

Or, subscribe via mail or online here.




Categories: Business
Tags: solar

About Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah