CHEWEY -- Cherokee Nation is providing an eco-friendly boost to the Neighborhood Association of Chewey in Adair County through installation of rooftop solar panels on the community building, which may lower utility costs by as much as 90 percent.
The installation is part of the $30 million Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act created by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner in 2019. Under the Act, $30 million has been set aside to help Cherokee citizens with housing repairs and to upgrade community buildings with connectivity and sustainability projects such as solar power, HVAC systems and Wi-Fi.
"We've invested funding to repair Cherokee homes and improve community buildings across the reservation," Hoskin said. "Now we are installing rooftop solar panels at Cherokee community buildings to reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint. We can protect our people and help preserve our natural world by investing in improvements like these."
Over the lifetime of the solar panels and subsequent reduction of utility costs at the Chewey community building, the savings will be equivalent to taking three vehicles off of the road, planting more than 10,600 trees, saving more than 444,000 pounds of coal, and saving 961 barrels of oil.
District 7 Tribal Councilor Canaan Duncan met with Steven Sands, president of the Neighborhood Association of Chewey, to celebrate the beginning of construction on the energy-efficient project.
"This is the second solar panel project we have in Adair County through the initiative," Duncan said.
The solar project is distributed through the tribe's Community and Cultural Outreach sustainability grant, which is meant to fund green-friendly efforts and other cost-saving renewable energy technology in Cherokee community buildings across the tribe's 14-county reservation.
So far, the tribe has assisted Mid County Community Organization in Adair County, Native American Fellowship Inc. in Nowata County, and Tri-Community Association in Cherokee County with rooftop solar panels.