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Workforce training increases access to solar and jobs in Navajo communities

https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2022/10/06/workforce-training-increases-access-to-solar-and-jobs-in-navajo-communities/

Workforce training increases access to solar and jobs in Navajo communities

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Gallup Solar and Lightstar Renewables announced a new partnership intended to boost access to clean energy and refrigeration for the Diné/Navajo People.

Approximately 15,000 families of the Navajo Nation do not have access to electricity, creating barriers to obtaining clean water, healthy food, healthcare, and using the internet. Together the two will help more Diné/Navajo families gain access to low-cost and clean energy and provide workforce training opportunities that will support an even greater number of solar installations in the region.

An annual commitment of $10,000 and additional resources from Lightstar is expected to double the annual number of solar installations as well as providing solar installation training for residents.

“We are deeply inspired by Gallup Solar and their work to support solar energy access and job training for Diné / Navajo community members. It’s essential to provide access to solar to folks who need it most and fully aligns with Lightstar’s mission to support solar for both the land and the community,” said Lucy Bullock-Sieger, Lightstar’s vice president of strategy.

“We are humbled and honored to expand the impact of Gallup’s solar installation and training program, in a culturally respectful way that honors the original stewards of this land.”

Gallup Solar is a non-profit company that has been facilitating solar installations for low-income residents of the Diné/Navajo communities for 15 years. In Gallup Solar’s home of Gallup, New Mexico, unemployment is currently at 13% and even higher on nearby reservations. Gallup Solar offers training as part of its certification program, which gives local residents opportunities for future employment. With training from Gallup Solar, local residents install the systems themselves, which is seen as a winning proposition—local residents ensure their homes or homes of elders have a reliable electricity source, and the installers are gaining valuable work experience.

“We know that access to clean energy impacts more than just where people get their power. It opens opportunities for better health, better shelter, and better access to fresh food,” said Bill Bright, president of Gallup Solar. “The opportunity to expand our training and increase solar installations with Lightstar’s support means more people can thrive in their own homes and lives.”

Lightstar is a community solar developer and long-term owner with a pipeline of over 500 MWs of community solar farms in the United States. The company’s mission is to be good stewards of the land and the communities that the company serves.

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