15:12 PM

SRP Extends Kayenta I Solar Contract and Announces New Navajo Nation-Based “Cameron Solar” Facility

Both projects support renewable project development on Navajo Nation and the community’s transition from a coal-dependent economy.

This Thursday at a ceremony in Phoenix, officials with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA), Salt River Project (SRP), and leaders of the Navajo Nation agreed to extend a ground-breaking agreement that paved the way for the first-ever, large-scale utility solar farm on the Navajo Nation, the “Kayenta I” facility. The groups also signed a contract for a brand-new, 200-megawatt (MW) solar resource on the Navajo Nation called “Cameron Solar” that is set to be operational by the end of 2023.

“This collaboration with the Navajo Nation on the Kayenta Solar generation facility supports the Navajo community’s transition from a coal-based economy and has provided a valuable resource to SRP’s growing renewable energy portfolio,” said Mike Hummel, SRP General Manager and CEO. “In addition, we are extremely honored to work alongside NTUA to continue to work together on future projects including Cameron Solar.”

The SRP Board of Directors approved a long-term energy and environmental-attribute agreement through March 2038 from the 27-megawatt (MW) Kayenta I portion of the Kayenta Solar generation facility. The full facility includes Kayenta I and II and is a 55 MW renewable energy plant that produces green power on the Navajo Nation. The Kayenta facilities help NTUA supplement their power resource mix and maintain some of the lowest consumer electric rates in the region.

“At the start of the Nez-Lizer Administration, we established a new vision for energy development for the Navajo Nation with the signing of the Hayoołkaał proclamation, which prioritizes renewable energy initiatives and supports the transition from coal to other resources to help build our economy and make our Nation a key stakeholder in renewable energy across the country. With the partnership of SRP and NTUA, we are making a statement and taking another big step forward to building our Nation, this is about Nation building, and the future of our Navajo people,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

Kayenta I first became operational in May 2017 and the duration of the newly expanded agreement for Kayenta I now more closely resembles the long-term duration of the agreement SRP and NTUA have for Kayenta II, which became operational in 2019. The combined Kayenta facilities generate enough energy to power 36,000 Navajo Nation residential homes.

The ceremony also celebrated the contract signing for Cameron Solar, a 200-MW solar plant resource scheduled to be built and operational on the Navajo Nation by the end of 2023, which contributes to SRP’s goal to add at least 2,025MW of new utility-scale solar to its power system by 2025.

This project supports renewable project development on Navajo Nation and the community’s transition from a coal-dependent economy. The project will infuse roughly over $11 million for the land lease as well as an additional $32 million in transmission operations over the next 25 years. The project will also generate approximately $15 million in tax revenues associated with solar and infrastructure, as well as 300-400 local construction jobs that will be 80-90% filled by residents of Navajo descent.

“Together, we have the power to make changes that reflect the needs of our Navajo people. Right now, our people need jobs, more revenue to help meet direct services, and build local economies to transform and sustain our communities in the long-term. This partnership will help in this effort and lead to more project development and innovation. We truly appreciate the support and partnership of SRP and NTUA,” said Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer.

There will also be ongoing scholarship and internship opportunities for Cameron community residents. Any excess proceeds from this development will go back into supporting investment in utility infrastructure and electrification, including the Light Up Navajo initiative, 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.

  “The NTUA renewable energy development goal is multifaceted which includes helping to generate a new Navajo Nation economy, creating new jobs, keeping electric and utility rates stable, and to using excess proceeds to connect homes to the electric grid,” said NTUA General Manager Walter Haase. “This type of partnership allows us to reach that primary goal for the benefit of the Navajo people, and we are fortunate to have SRP as a partner.”

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

Through its collaboration with NTUA, SRP has also provided technical support in developing interconnection facilities for large-scale renewable development within the Navajo Nation and has provided procurement and financing expertise related to the construction and ownership of such projects.

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 750,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.