Everybody Solar brings solar to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

Everybody Solar has received a donation from JinkoSolar. The 29.57 kW of high-efficiency modules will reduce Everybody Solar’s project costs by one third and help provide renewable energy systems to two sites on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota–the One Spirit Allen Youth Center and One Spirit Buffalo House.

One Spirit, a non-profit dedicated to Native Americans, creates stability in an area where 97% of its population lives below the federal poverty line. The two sites, Allen Youth Center and Buffalo House, are dedicated in their efforts to eliminate hunger and replace high drop-out and suicide rates among youth, while educating and instilling pride in their Lakota heritage.

The Allen Youth Center supports youth by offering tutoring, social support, and cultural activities, and serves up to 4,000 meals annually. The Buffalo House, expected to open in fall 2018, will be the first USDA approved meat processing plant on the reservation. In addition to providing a direct means to fight hunger on the reservation, the site will create local employment opportunities, such as meat processing, buffalo herding, and working with hides to produce clothing and art. This will keep much needed revenue on the reservation in the hands of the Lakota people.

Nonprofits do not qualify for federal tax incentives and are typically tasked with meeting their mission on limited funding. When complete later this year, the two solar systems are expected to save One Spirit approximately $2,000 annually. These funds, which would normally pay for the heating that protects the community from winter temperatures dropping down to 40 below zero can now be reinvested in One Spirit’s core programs.

“Having solar at these sites will serve as inspiration to move toward a more sustainable way of life and help our people reconnect to our heritage,” said Tribal Elder John Bad Wound. “It offers hope of independence, self-reliance, and sustainability to a truly marginalized community.”

“We first partnered with One Spirit last fall to bring solar to the Allen Youth Center. After a few months, it quickly became clear that the solar project was urgently needed and would help One Spirit’s mission,” said Youness Scally, Executive Director of Everybody Solar. “Therefore, we decided to launch the second project at the Buffalo House earlier this year.”

“JinkoSolar has supported Everybody Solar for many years, and we always appreciate learning about how our donations impact different communities,” said Nigel Cockroft, General Manager of JinkoSolar. “The Lakota have a long history, and we are truly humbled that our solar panels can become part of their story.”

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