On August 7, staff from Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Engineering and Construction Services (ECS), the Housing Division and residents of the Lonely Cactus senior residential housing complex gathered outside the west lot of the complex for a ribbon-cutting on the development’s new solar-panel installations. The festivities included speeches, a continental breakfast and the ribbon-cutting.
Scott Thigpen, ECS assistant director, welcomed everyone to the event and explained the project, which consists of solar panels installed on carports throughout the complex.
“It’s really a great example of solar technology and how we can use new technology which is environmentally friendly. This project was created through a grant from the Grand Canyon Trust; we were able to secure 70 percent of the project cost,” said Thigpen.
In all, 280 solar panels were installed. The solar power generated by the panels is projected to result in significant savings on energy costs each year.
“We want to express our appreciation for the project. A lot of people in the Community ask about solar power and the savings, and we are looking at opportunities in the future,” said SRPMIC President Diane Enos.
David Dallas, a Community member and business owner who served as general contractor for the solar panel project, thanked the people living at Lonely Cactus. “Many residents understood that this was a positive thing for the Community and didn’t complain that much about the construction; they gave all their support to us,” said Dallas.
“This is our first prototype out here, and for the most part I think we did a very good job,” Dallas added. “I really enjoyed working with ECS. It was a fun project, and as a Community member and business owner, this project was one of the first [for which I served as] a general contractor. So this is the foundation for the building of my company, and without these opportunities as a Community member, I don’t think I would be standing here today. I would like to thank everyone for giving me this opportunity.”
This is the first time the Community has used the solar panels in such a way, and it’s the first large-scale solar project completed on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. The capacity of the photovoltaic system is 70 kilowatts.