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Navajo Nation Opens Second Phase Of Kayenta Solar Project

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Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President
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The Navajo Nation completed the second phase of a large solar energy project last week. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it’ll provide enough electricity to power tens of thousands of homes on the tribe’s land. 

The Kayenta Solar generation facility now produces 56 megawatts, or enough power for about 36,000 homes. The project began in 2016 and was a combined effort between the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and the Salt River Project.

According to Navajo President Jonathan Nez’s office, the second phase of the project created 150 temporary jobs and overall it had a more than $15.5 million economic impact.

Tribal officials say the electricity from the Kayenta facility will stay on the Navajo Nation, and the revenue it generates will help fund an initiative to bring power to many families that were previously without electricity. Nearly 230 Navajo homes connected to the grid for the first time earlier this year as part of the Light Up Navajo initiative and will continue in 2020. The Tribal Utility Authority estimates that about 15,000 Navajo families are still without power.

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Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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