Solar Panels - Moapa Band of Paiute Indians
Solar panels on the Moapa River Reservation in Nevada, home to the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians. Photo: First Solar, via U.S. Department of Energy
Moapa Band of Paiute Indians moves ahead with another solar development
Thursday, March 3, 2022
Indianz.Com

The Moapa Band of Paiute Indians is moving forward with another solar energy development on tribal homelands in Nevada.

The Chuckwalla Solar Projects consist of four photovoltaic solar energy generation and storage projects on the Moapa River Reservation. According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the development would provide a combined capacity of up to 700 megawatts for the tribe.

“Clean energy, including solar projects like these in Nevada, will help tribal communities be part of the climate solution,” Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland said in a news release on Thursday.

“We are proud to play a role in the administration’s all-of-government approach toward its ambitious renewable energy goals, which will boost local economies and address economic and environmental injustice,” said Newland, a citizen of the Bay Mills Indian Community.

Chuckwalla joins two other solar projects under development for the Moapa Band. Construction recently began on the Arrow Canyon Solar Project that will generate enough electricity to power up to 64,000 homes. It’s expected to be complete by December.

The Southern Bighorn Solar Project gained final approval at the federal level last summer. This development is even larger, with the capacity to power up to 128,000 homes.

“The time for a clean energy future is now — and tribal communities have a significant role to play in the administration’s ambitious goals,” Secretary Deb Haaland, who is the first Native person to lead the Department of the Interior, said in a news release on July 16, 2021. “These solar projects will support local tribal economies while adding to the nation’s clean energy supply.”

“The department is committed to making bold investments that will address the climate crisis, create good-paying jobs, and advance environmental justice,” said Haaland, a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna.

The BIA is publishing notice of the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the Chuckwalla Solar Projects in the Federal Register on Friday. Two virtual public meetings have been scheduled: at 1:30pm Mountain Time on Tuesday, March 15 and at 5:30pm on Wednesday, March 16.

Once the Environmental Protection Agency published its own notice of availability of the DEIS in the Federal Register, a 45-day comment period will begin. More information about getting involved can be found on chuckwallasolarprojectseis.com.

Forthcoming Federal Register Notice
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Chuckwalla Solar Projects, Clark County, Nevada (To Be Published March 4, 2022)