Part V Climate Change: Native American tribes install solar

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe installs solar.

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe installs solar.

Part V – Examples of what’s being done to assist with power production and mitigate climate change with Tribes in the Owens Valley and elsewhere.

Provided by the Fort Independence Environmental Climate Change Working Group

Chair: Dennis Mattinson


Solar energy seems like a logical solution to help mitigate climate change and answer the power needs of the western United States, which can receive over 300 sunny days a year.  Native American Tribes have recognized the need to be proactive in helping to reverse the effects of greenhouse gases. 

Fort Independence Indian Reservation

The Fort Independence Indian Reservation has installed a new solar array to power their meteorological and air sampling station.  Solar powered lighting has been installed at their travel plaza, and they are planning to solar power their tribal and environmental offices.

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe has installed 11 solar arrays, totaling 540kw of power. This system was installed to help reduce their energy costs and as a side light, assists with reduction of Greenhouse gasses. 
Moapa River Paiute Tribe

The Moapa River Paiute Tribe is set to begin construction on a 910,000 panel solar plant capable of generating 350 MW of solar power. This is largest solar plant to be built to date on tribal land and is set to break ground this fall. This is a commercial plant to supply power for their Reservation needs and to sell power to the Department of Water and Power, Los Angeles.

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26 Responses to Part V Climate Change: Native American tribes install solar

  1. EnergySage October 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    Solar panels are indeed a great way or mitigating climate change. The carbon emissions of producing a solar PV system are easily offset by the energy produced by it. Solar is also a great way for any organization to reach their sustainability goals. EnergySage is a solar marketplace that makes this happen. Learn more –

  2. Dangerous waters October 18, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    Uh – oh!
    You have entered into the dangerous territory where you just may be labeled a Liberal and when that happens anything you present will automatically be discounted and ignored.

    (boisterous laughter) : >

    • Where they get the BS from October 18, 2013 at 11:43 am #

      Neoconservative spokesperson Rush Limbaugh likes to frame the environmental debate as a contest between him and the “environmental wackos”, it is really Limbaugh’s word against the overwhelming tide of scientific knowledge.

      Some examples that his loyal followers today believe:

      Chlorofluorocarbons and Ozone Depletion:


      Limbaugh proposes that environmental “alarmists and prophets of
      doom” have exaggerated the problem of ozone depletion, suggesting
      that it has been limited to “occasional reduced levels of ozone over Antarctica.”


      Substantially reduced levels of ozone have been measured over
      most of the globe, including North America, Europe, and elsewhere.
      In fact, scientists have observed a thinning of the ozone layer at all
      latitudes outside the tropics. By 1991, the depletion over North America
      averaged nearly 5 percent. 2/ Since 1991, ozone depletion
      has further intensified.


      What “environmental wackos . . . really want to do is attack our way
      of life” in the effort to limit CFC’s. “Their primary enemy: capitalism.” 8/


      Limbaugh ignores the fact that the conservative Reagan administration
      signed onto the Montreal Protocol, the international agreement to
      restrict CFC’s, and that crucial support for the measure came
      from some of the largest manufacturers of these chemicals,
      who, like Ronald Reagan, are hardly enemies of capitalism.
      Although many of these corporations initially resisted action when the
      ozone problem was discovered, Dupont, Allied Signal, and
      other domestic producers of CFC’s have long favored strong
      restrictions concerning their production and use. Indeed,
      Dupont proposed a global ban of CFC’s before European or
      United States governments did.

      • Benett Kessler October 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

        Sadly, two very intelligent men who commented at the Inyo Supervisors’ meeting earlier this week had to start their comments by saying to the Supervisors, in effect – “You probably think I’m an environmental wacko (they used these words) but I am concerned about real things.” Both Mike Prather and Daniel Pritchett spoke out about environmental impacts of DWP’s planned, mega-solar project. Too bad that thoughtful people have to be concerned about the Supervisors’ condemnation before they even speak out.

        Benett Kessler

      • Desert Tortoise October 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

        Rush Limbaugh, the thrice divorced morbidly obese drug addict who’s education ended in high school and progressed no further? He is not much more than a glorified radio dj, but people treat him almost as an oracle while ignoring the wisdom of experienced PhD physicists and climatologists, sneering at them as if they and the high school educated radio dj know more than thousands of dedicated scientists.

        • Using the "L" word October 19, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

          DT – For some of our easier led fellow Americans all one has to do is say something about liberals and that’s enough for them.
          Neocon favorite Ann Coulter has made fortunes with the word.

    • Joe October 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

      Uh – oh!, not you again, the person of many names with nothing of value to contribute…

      • Tom October 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

        I find it amusing to see the person of many names contributing by shedding light on what a neoconservative hero is telling his loyal legions 3 hours a day, 5 days a week and reruns on weekends. I hope he/she keeps it up.

        • Benett Kessler October 18, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

          Aren’t you the same person with many names? Hey, it’s okay by me.

          • Anonymous # ___ October 18, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

            Hey, what’s in a name?

          • Benett Kessler October 18, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

            Meaning, vibration, identity.

          • Shooting the messenger October 19, 2013 at 5:41 am #

            “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a commonly quoted part of a dialogue in William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet argues that the names of things do not matter, only what things “are.”

            In this case, a quick perusal of when some people from a particular political persuasion whine the loudest regarding facts presented by their arch-hero Rush Limbaugh (ie. calling environmentalists “enviro-wackos” ) on this blog, should be enough for a reasonable person to observe that these types are more interested in shooting the messenger rather than the message and therefore focus on the poster’s identity, name, rather than the contradicting subject matter presented.

            Such is the state of today’s politics.

      • more nuttiness from the right October 19, 2013 at 6:06 am #

        Here’s another quote from another champion from the nasty Right:

        “The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man’s dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet — it’s yours. That’s our job: drilling, mining and stripping. Sweaters are the anti-Biblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars — that’s the Biblical view. ”
        – Ann Coulter

        Sorry to reveal such nastiness, but types such as Coulter are whipping some angry people into a frenzy … at the expense of our environment and common sense.

  3. The Aggressive Progressive! October 18, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    Does anybody else see a problem with the fact we are one of the few countries in the world that hasn’t come to a consensus on climate change?

    -Could it be because we have a big enough percentage of the population who would rather interpret the changing climate as “the second coming” or “the end times”, and can one who believes in either one of those “make believe situations” also believe in climate change that the scientist interpret?

    -Or perhaps could it be the established industries that contribute to the high influx of carbons into the atmosphere doing a good job when it comes to masking the problems and diverting attention elsewhere with their undeniable political and economical power?

    -Or could it also be the fact all the convenience’s we feel entitled to (fast food, consumption of finite resources, individually packaged goods, etc. etc.etc…) happens to be another key factor to contributing to this changing climate, and truly don’t see or feel the urgency to do anything?

    -Or maybe we just don’t have the full access to the proper information that would change one’s mind on the realty of the situation, and or we don’t have full access to information since that is the key for established institutions/industries to keep their power is limited and edited info?

    Or then again I could be just another paranoid individual who needs to stop trying to shatter others illusion of reality?

    Or is a changing climate and why, that obvious when I look at it through the ideological lens that interprets what I see?

    Anyways…. Please recycle! a small win is still a win!

    It’s a Global problem with Local solutions!

    • MajorTom October 18, 2013 at 9:32 am #

      I’d pick all of the above. There is a huge amount of money from vested corporate interests spreading disinformation. People don’t like change generally, so are willing to believe the propaganda, which contradicts 95% of scientific opinion. Plus much of the evidence is in models, which are far from imperfect at modeling something as complex as the climate of the world. Nobody claims to know exactly what is going to happen. Maybe if folks would take a trip to Alaska and see for themselves the melting of the glaciers, and trust that scientists really can read thermometers, it would make a difference. Abundant energy is a modern miracle, we can have it without screwing up the world.

  4. Solar Scheme October 18, 2013 at 6:13 am #

    “Solar energy seems like a logical solution to help mitigate climate change”

    Solar energy is not an effective form of climate change mitigation. In fact, the amount of carbon emissions generated in the production of one solar panel is greater than carbon emissions saved by the solar panel over the course of its entire lifespan.

    Most commonly, solar panels are produced using fossil-fuel power sources (ex: coal). The amounts of carbon emitted during production of solar panels are not fully mitigated through the solar panel performance.

    Solar energy has become a popular energy source because it “seems” like a logical solution. Most of its popularity is attributed to the cost saving benefits. However, the major misconception is that more solar panels will help mitigate global warming. Most people aren’t aware of the carbon emitted during production.

    • SCE October 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

      Your statement : “In fact, the amount of carbon emissions generated in the production of one solar panel is greater than carbon emissions saved by the solar panel over the course of its entire lifespan.” is interesting except I can’t find anything to back that claim up unless of course the panel is stuck in a closet somewhere.

      Please cite your sources for further research. Thank you.

      • Desert Tortoise October 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

        In addition, his claim hinges on the use of certain fossil fuels to power the processes used to manufacture the solar panel in question. If the power source was hydroelectric, solar, wind or tidal power, his “calculation” is no longer accurate.

        Nice to throw out wild claims though.

    • Eastside Dweller October 18, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      Solar is best used for direct heat transfer such as passive solar designed buildings and heating water. Much of this just requires simple design methods used for millennia. Since roughly 50% of household energy goes to heat, this saves huge amount of petroleum. Especially useful somewhere where there is ample sun and high fuel costs like Eastern Sierra.

  5. jfreed27jzf October 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    I would like to see more SW tribes get involved as it is a win win. Employ native americans, profit for the tribe, less coal pollution.

    • Where they get the BS from October 18, 2013 at 11:54 am #

      “Holocaust?” Ninety million Indians? Only four million left? They all have casinos — what’s to complain about?”

      “The days of them [minorities] not having any power are over, and they are angry. And they want to use their power as a means of retribution.”

      – Neoconservative spokesperson Rush Limbaugh

  6. mememine69 October 17, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    My kids challenged me to find one IPCC warning that says anything more than just “could be” a crisis and one that isn’t full of “maybes”.
    I can’t even find one single scientific paper let alone the billions of IPCC warnings that says any crisis WILL happen and is inevitable or eventual or unavoidable or inescapable or imminent etc.
    It’s a 30 year old “could be” planetary catastrophe so how do we as believers say this crisis WILL happen when science has never said anything beyond “could be”? It seems silly to say that the scientists have said for 30 years now that could be unstoppable warming. How do I get around this because if they don’t start believing again they will never turn the lights out down the basement.
    Can someone help me? I need certainty to condemn my kids to such misery.

    • Benett Kessler October 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      Misery? Maybe you need to set up rules for your children – after all, leaving lights on costs you money if nothing else. Suggestion – life is full of uncertainties. Smart people, including scientists, do their best to uncover the truth about our environment, health, and other aspects of life. Many scientists have concluded that greenhouse gases will lead to climate change and likely already have. Why would any intelligent person just let things slide if there is a risk for future harm? Google climate change and read the many articles and reports.
      Benett Kessler

      • Tourbillon October 17, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

        By all means, Google “climate change”. Also Google “hide the decline” and “East Anglia emails”.

    • JaneE October 18, 2013 at 11:48 am #

      Climate science is based on probabilities, because science works by investigating anomalies. Newton’s theory of gravity was not 100% correct. Now the consensus is that Einstein’s theory of relativity is correct, but it is still being tested.

      The IPCC is 95% certain on climate change. By comparison, one bullet in a six-shooter means that there is an 83% probability that putting the gun to your head and pulling the trigger will be harmless. Do your kids feel comfortable playing Russian roulette?

      As with almost everything, the cost of preventing a crisis is a whole lot less than dealing with it after it happens. The longer we wait to take action, the more costly and disruptive it will be. There is no quick fix for increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and it is a greenhouse gas. Even worse, it traps a different infrared band than most others, so it is like closing off a vent to retain heat. Have your kids look up what happens to chlorophyll when the temperatures get too high. And how high “too high” is. They might like to check what types of chlorophyll are in the plants we use for food.

      What is the real downside to sustainable energy in the long run? We haven’t run out of oil, but we have run out of cheap oil. The reason that we have large reserves of oil shale and tar sands now is because they were too expensive to develop when the price of oil was $30/barrel. New technology has made natural gas cheaper than coal in the US. Solar and wind are becoming price competitive, because the cost of producing oil is going up. Coal is relatively cheap, but it is dirty and prone to disasters.

      Business used to be in the forefront of efficiency because it represented a cost savings. Having minimum efficiency standards means that everyone saves. Why spend more on gas or electricity than you need to? What is wrong with cleaner air and water? Why not have a power source that won’t run out, and that is evenly distributed around the planet?

      One of the reasons hurricane Sandy was so disruptive in New York was that the sea level has risen, just a little bit. Just enough to top the old sea walls and flood the city and the subway. If we add a little bit more, the next storm to flood the city won’t need to be quite so big or come ashore at high tide. Do we wait till every storm shuts down the city?

      One more thing – put a vacancy light switch in the basement – problem solved.

      • Ken Warner October 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

        All good reasoning. But it will do no good. Nothing meaningful will be done to avert climate change. People won’t feel motivated until Florida and New York and parts of San Francisco and Southern California are under water. And those events aren’t even the worst that will happen.


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