Seeking Solar Power Instead of the Grid

Project: Native Women Leaders and Advocates Promoting Energy Justice

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solar-energy

For many, electricity is a luxury; it can even be magical. Derrick Terry remembers the first winter when there were lights on at his grandmother’s house.

“You see the Christmas lights in the distance, it’s like seeing that unicorn,” he says. “It’s an indescribable feeling, I guess, when you first get electricity.”

Many Native Americans living on reservations live off the power grid. More than half live at or below the poverty line, and the the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 40% of Navajos live without power. It can cost up to $50,000 to extend the power lines by one mile.

So many are turning to a much more cost effective option: Solar power. One solar panel, large enough to provide energy to a home, costs about $17,000. The maintenance and upkeep cost per month? $75.

Find the full story on NPR here.