The Shonto Rural Electrification Program: Power for western Navajo communities and beyond
Grand Canyon Trust has worked extensively with Shonto, the Navajo Nation’s first Local Governance Act (LGA) certified Chapter, to establish a strong, community-based economic diversification strategy. One component is the Shaa’tohi’ (Shonto) Energy Solutions, a locally owned company that installs and sells renewable-energy systems. Such a company was necessary to create economic revenues for the community venture, to build capacity with local managers and installers, to ensure timely maintenance, and to create quality systems that are designed for local conditions.
To make the company a reality, we worked with the Chapter to write a detailed business plan, educated the leadership about small renewable energy opportunities and options, helped secure a wholesaler, and worked through kinks in the business startup process. The Chapter is using the Arizona Sustainable Growth Fund to help reduce the system costs for families and community building applications. To organize the business, the Chapter partnered with key additional advisors including the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA), Sandia Renewable Energy Labs, and Arizona Department of Commerce.
Current status: The Shaa’tohi’ (Shonto) Energy Solutions
The Shonto Chapter has formed a community development corporation that serves as a holding company for the Shaa’tohi’ (Shonto) Energy Solutions venture. They hired Brett Isaac as company manager and secured startup finances, established relationships with system vendors, and identified assistance grants for elders’ homes. We continue to provide advice during the company’s second year in business on opportunities such as future joint ventures, manufacturer agreements for system components, management training, and development of model showcase projects throughout the region.
Click here to learn more about Shonto.