Solar energy is generating much of the electricity for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s high school, medical clinic and museum thanks to the Tribe’s commitment to renewable energy.
On July 22, the Tribe celebrated the completion of seven photovoltaic solar arrays in its small community northeast of Reno near Pyramid Lake. The arrays are capable of generating up to 487,800 kilowatt hours of electricity per year and will reduce the tribe’s annual electric bill by approximately $72,800.
The tribe will receive a $1,355,000 rebate from NV Energy’s SolarGenerations program to offset costs for 271 kilowatts of solar energy installed by Black Rock Solar, a nonprofit working to help spread the adoption of renewable energy.
According to Black Rock Solar, Nixon, Nev. now has the most solar panels per person than any other community in the United States.
“The cost savings from these projects will definitely increase our ability to provide more services in other areas – language programs, our museum, parks and recreation and elder services. Those are areas we can focus on,” said Pyramid Lake Tribal Council Chairman Mervin Wright. On a sunny day, much of the electricity for the Pyramid Lake High School, Tribal Health Clinic, Police Station, Museum and Visitor Center, and Tribal Headquarters will be generated by the solar arrays, Wright said.
A total of 1,737 solar panels were installed at Nixon by Black Rock Solar during the past few months. The panels were attached to steel racks that are anchored to the ground. At the suggestion of Wacan Waci Blindman, a tribal member who has become a licensed solar installer through working with Black Rock Solar, the 18.8-kilowatt solar array at the museum was configured in the shape of an arrowhead. Simmons said the environmentally friendly projects will produce enough electricity to power up to 48 households, and that they will reduce the Pyramid Tribe’s carbon emissions by 324 tons annually.