Located on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, the One Spirit Charging Buffalo House, offers a connection to Native American tradition, support for hunger relief, and employment. Prior to this facility being built, Lakota had to take their game and herd meat to Nebraska for processing – increasing costs and taking vital income off the reservation.
Serving as the first meat processing plant on the reservation, the Charging Buffalo House - 2018 - has offered a direct means to fight hunger on the reservation and created employment for locals. Through the meat production, the Charging Buffalo House directly supports the One Spirit food program – food being the single most requested item from locals, as well as provides services to area hunters, livestock operators, ranchers,and the OST Parks Buffalo and Elk Division – keeping revenue on the reservation in the hands of the Lakota people.
In January 2019, Everybody Solar inaugurated an 11.16 kW solar array at the Charging Buffalo House. The grid-tied solar array provides electricity support during daytime hours, significantly driving down the costs of operation. However, as the facility is a meat processing facility with freezers, during power outages there is a risk of loss of product. Bamm Brewer, facility manager, estimates that this region of the Reservation experiences approximately 6 power outages annually (e.g. every other month). These power outages can occur in the wintertime during blizzards and in summer during lightning strikes. Some of the outages are not weather-related (e.g. can be a problem with the line needing to be fixed). The outages can last from a few hours – which is critical on hot summer days, to multiple days – in blizzard conditions. Every time the electricity is shut down, there is a risk of losing meat due to thawing. The battery back-up system enables the facility to safely maintain meat storage during these circumstances and further reduce operating costs.
"The resilience of our battery back-up system is truly invaluable. Whether we face scorching summer days with the threat of critical power outages or endure blizzards that can disrupt electricity for multiple days, our facility remains protected." said Bamm Brewer, Buffalo House director. "No longer do we worry about the potential loss of precious meat due to thawing during these unpredictable situations."
THANK YOU to individuals and organizations who have made contributions to help bring solar to the One Spirit - Charging Buffalo House!
Special Thanks to....
Anonymous Donors, David Ellis, Ellen & Neil Macneale, Victor Kinzer, Apple Match Donation, Tatanka Fund, Black Hills Solar Inc.