Indigenized Energy: Solar Farm Opens in Standing Rock

Cannonball. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe - In late July 2019, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe celebrated the opening of the Cannonball Community Solar Farm.

The solar farm, located just three miles from where the historic protests took place to fight against Dakota Access Pipeline, has a 300-kilowatt capacity and will generate enough energy to power homes in the Cannonball community.

According to Hayes Baynard, the CEO of GivePower and partner on the project, the “solar farm will save the community $7,000 to $10,000 annually in energy costs.” Revenue and saving from the project will go towards helping to “offset the cost of electricity at a veterans’ memorial center and a community center on the reservation, as well as to initiatives for youth and for preserving the Lakota/Dakota language.”

The idea for the solar farm came from Cody Two Bears, the executive director of Indigenized Energy and former Standing Rock tribal council member.

In an interview with Earther, Two Bears describes his motivation for pursuing the solar farm, “I never thought that pipelines would come in my backyard. I never thought that fossil fuels would affect my community or affect our people, our sacred sites, our water, our lands—and devastate them. It’s one thing to protest about it, to talk about it, but now we got to be about it.”

Partners for the project include GivePower, Empowered by Light, and Jinko Solar.

To help train a workforce for solar panel installation, Indigenized Energy partnered with United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, ND to host a multi-day long introductory solar seminar. Due to popular demand, they are set to host a second seminar this August.

by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle)

Matt Remle (Lakota) is an editor and writer for Last Real Indians and LRInspire and the co-founder of Mazaska Talks. Follow @wakiyan7