12:44 PM

NTUA, SRP and Navajo Nation Leaders Celebrate Groundbreaking Ceremony for Kayenta II

Celebrating Commitment to Develop Renewable Energy Projects on Navajo Nation


Property Brothers (HGTV) star Jonathan Scott made a surprise visit to the ceremony. Scott said he is very interested in the potential for solar energy and wanted to see up close what it can do for the Navajo Nation.

Officials with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA), Salt River Project (SRP) and the Navajo Nation leaders joined together to officially break ground on the second phase of the Kayenta Solar generation facility, a renewable energy plant that provides green power to the Navajo Nation.

NTUA and its wholly-owned subsidiary NTUA Generation, Inc., will expand the Kayenta Solar facility to include Kayenta II, a 28-megawatt addition, which is expected to be commercial by June 2019. At that time, the entire Kayenta Solar facility will produce enough energy to serve approximately 36,000 homes.

The Kayenta II project serves as a platform for future ventures in which NTUA and SRP will work together toward the development of up to 500 megawatts of renewable energy projects over the next 5 to 10 years within the Navajo Nation to further support their goal of charting their own energy future.

In addition to jobs and revenue, the proceeds from the Kayenta projects and future renewable projects will help pave the way for Light up the Navajo Nation, a joint program between NTUA and the American Public Power Association dedicated to the electrification of homes on the Navajo Nation and creation of a better future for local communities.

“Extending electricity to homes without has always been our goal as well as our challenge,” said NTUA General Manager Walter Haase. “Kayenta II is catalyst in that direction and will help us to improve the standard of living for many Navajo families.”

SRP has been recognized by the NTUA as a cornerstone memberof the Light up the Navajo Nation initiative through its partnership in securing solar power purchase agreements and providing ongoing support to NTUA in the development of renewable projects.

“This project represents a significant addition to SRP’s growing list of renewable resources and we are extremely honored to work alongside NTUA to bring this amazing facility online. We look forward to carrying on our decades-long partnership with the Navajo Nation as we pursue new opportunities together through the Kayenta Solar Facility and other significant efforts,” said SRP Vice President John Hoopes.

Through the partnership with NTUA, SRP will provide technical support in developing interconnection facilities for large-scale renewable development within the Navajo Nation, as well as provide procurement and financing expertise related to the development and ownership of such projects.

“The Kayenta II Solar Farm is critical in providing energy to our elders and rural residents. By building the capacity of the Kayenta Solar Farm to produce an additional 28 megawatts of energy, the Nation can power an additional 18,000 homes. This is greatly significant for the Nation. Beyond the immediate energy benefits, we look forward to strengthening our ability to bring power to Navajo communities,” President Russell Begaye said. “This partnership with NTUA and SRP is greatly significant.”

“The second phase of the Kayenta Solar Project demonstrates the Navajo Nation’s commitment to a responsible transition to renewable energy sources,” said Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council LoRenzo Bates. “We are creating jobs and revenue from an emerging market, while remaining mindful of the associated costs, the time that it will take to transition, and other sources of energy development.”

Currently, the 27.3 megawatt Kayenta Solar Project (Kayenta I) provides electricity to Navajo communities served by NTUA, generating power for an estimated 18,000 homes. At the height of construction, close to 284 people of whom 85% were of Navajo descent, worked on the project. It is expected that Kayenta II will employ a greater number of Navajo for the workforce.

In addition, the Navajo workforce was paid $5.2 million and received over 4,700 hours of specialized training in solar utility construction for the Kayenta Solar Project. The construction also generated $3,017,055 in taxes paid to the Navajo Nation. Overall, it is estimated that $15.6 million in economic activity occurred within the surrounding communities during the construction period. Kayenta II is expected to produce similar economic benefits and salaries to the region.

About NTUA: NTUA has continuously served the Navajo people for 58 years. The NTUA was established on January 22, 1959, to address the absence of utilities on the Navajo Nation, and NTUA has grown into a thriving tribally-owned enterprise delivering a portfolio of services. The NTUA is organized for the operation, maintenance and expansion of electric, communications, natural gas, water, wastewater and generation, including photovoltaic (solar) services for the Navajo people at a low and reasonable cost. Other objectives of the NTUA are to promote employment opportunities on the Navajo Nation, and to improve the health and welfare of the residents of the Navajo Nation and raising the standard of life in Navajoland.

Kayenta II groundbreaking B-Roll and Interviews
About SRP

SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP is also the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.