The Big Pine Paiute Tribe Celebrates Earth Day and the Installation of Solar on a Vital Community Resource

The Big Pine Paiute Tribe celebrates Earth Day and the installation of solar on a vital
community resource.

Big Pine, California – April 18, 2023. The Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley
enthusiastically observes Earth Day by welcoming the sun thanks to a grant from the GRID Alternatives (GRID) Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund (TSAF).

The Tribe is working with GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE), a national non-profit, as well as local contractor Highpoint Solar, to install electricity-generating solar panels on the roof of the Tribe’s Alan Spoonhunter Memorial Gymnasium. The Gym is vital to the local Tribal community and is utilized throughout the year for various community activities and events and houses ongoing daycare and after-school educational programs.

Operating solar-generated electricity at this facility is expected to save the Tribe thousands of dollars annually in electricity costs.

Tribal members will join the GRID IE’s staff for a ribbon-cutting at the Alan Spoonhunter Memorial Gymnasium at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 23, 2023. Many more Earth Day festivities will be happening in conjunction with celebrating this transition to solar power.

Two Tribal trainees gained hands-on experience installing solar on the Gym. Through education programs provided by GRID IE, trainees learn essential and transferable skills relevant to our green energy future.

The installation of solar on the Alan Spoonhunter Memorial Gymnasium is the second large
solar project on the Big Pine Indian Reservation. Three years ago, also thanks to the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund, solar panels were installed to offset the Tribe’s domestic water system electricity usage.

Since 2010, the GRID Alternatives National Tribal Program has worked to help tribal
communities across the United States achieve their renewable energy goals while training tribal members to enter the solar workforce. In 2018, GRID launched the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund, a tribal-led philanthropic grantmaking program supporting new solar projects in tribal communities across the country. TSAF grants clearly focus on building renewable energy infrastructure, particularly new solar energy projects in tribal communities, that are feasible, cost-effective, and engage broad tribal community participation.

About the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley: The Big Pine Paiute Tribe is a federally recognized tribe. The Big Pine Reservation is located east of the Sierra Nevada in the Owens Valley, known to the tribes as Payahuunadü, “land where the water flows.”

About GRID Alternatives Inland Empire: GRID Alternatives envisions a rapid, equitable transition to a world powered by renewable energy that benefits everyone. Our mission is to build community-powered solutions to advance economic and environmental justice through renewable energy.

About Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund: The Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund’s vision for Indian Country is a transition to energy sovereignty that is educational, entrepreneurial, and completely renewable. Our mission aims to catalyze the growth of solar energy and expand solar job opportunities in tribal communities across the United States.

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