Navajo community banking on proposed solar array
TO'HAJIILEE, N.M.—A dusty desert plot in central New Mexico is where leaders of a sparsely populated American Indian community envision a sea of solar panels capable of producing electricity for thousands of homes miles away from their reservation.
The To'Hajiilee (Toe-hajee-lee) solar project is one of 19 energy projects that will share in $6.5 million recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to spur renewable energy development on tribal lands.
About two-thirds of the money is earmarked for tribes in the West. Most of that will go toward projects in New Mexico and Arizona.
This year's grants come as Congress considers new measures aimed at reducing the bureaucratic hurdles tribes face in developing their resources. Experts say a wealth of untapped potential is at stake.