In 2016, a devastating fire known as the Cayuse Mountain Fire occurred and was considered the second largest in that summer in Washington State. The fiery blaze burned down 14 homes and placed about 50 people in the Spokane Indian Reservation. The fire devastated more than 18000 acres of land and cut the power connection and water supply to several main administrative buildings.
Because of the mishap, the Spokane tribe was motivated to work to gain energy independence. They risked an investment of about 650 kilowatts of solar energy capacity and hoped that it would eventually bring storage in the battery. This is a part of a long-term effort to broaden solar energy on Spokane’s reservation west, which is 159,000 acres huge. When the project is completed, the tribe will be able to save about 2.8 million dollars in the next 35 years.
The new 650-kilowatt solar panel system’s installation is underway for nine tribal community buildings and 23 homes. Among the tribal community buildings are the Spokane Tribe Senior Center, Tribal Administrative Building, and the Spokane Tribal Fish Hatcheries. Grid Alternatives helped provide hands-on training for solar panel installations to the employees of tribal and other community members during the construction of the project.