Alternative Energy

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The UIHS solar system is 42 Kilowatts, which is equivalent to the energy needed to support 12-16 average size homes. The system is comprised of 216 Evergreen solar modules distributed to six 6 kw Sunnyboy inverters; each inverter receiving three series of twelve panels This is only the first phase of the project, and with additional fundraising efforts and as funds become available, UIHS plans to increase the size of the solar electric system to be able to meet the energy demands of Potawot.

This project demonstrates UIHS’s commitment to providing practices that align with native values of being responsible community role models concerned for our land, air, and water we depend on. The project exemplifies ways we can alleviate the need for fossil fuel based energy generation such as hydro-electric systems being used along the Klamath River.

Phase 2 Solar at Potawot Health Village 2010

UIHS is pleased to announce it is initiating phase two of solar energy at the Potawot Health Village in Arcata, California. This summer, UIHS is expanding their solar electric system from a 40 Kilowatt to over 110 kilowatt, which is the enough power to support ~30 average size homes (average homes use 2.5 to 4 KW). This is the largest system in Humboldt County perhaps the largest solar system in the nation on a tribal health clinic. “We anticipate that this upgrade will help us to produce on average 70% of our energy demands from solar power. These savings go a long way in building sustainability for our organization, allowing us to focus on community wellness that reflects the traditional values of the local American Indian community” says Eric Johnson, the UIHS Traditional Land Management Specialist. “We are also very pleased to be working with local solar expert and installer Roger and His Merry Band of Solar Installers. They are working together with us to ensure that long term maintenance and performance of the system is understood by our UIHS staff, and we are grateful for Roger’s commitment to this project.”

Paula Allen, Traditional Resources Specialist at UIHS, explains the significance of this project from a cultural perspective. “Tribal people have always had the responsibility of being caretakers of our homelands, this project exemplifies that ongoing relationship. Many local tribes have worked together with other stakeholders to develop a plan for removing the dams on the lower Klamath River by 2020. UIHS is doing our part to support this effort by lessening our dependence on energy produced by these hydroelectric dams. Healthy communities depend on healthy environments and it’s important that each of us make that commitment to do what we can to achieve this goal”

This project was made possible through funds of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

One section of the UIHS solar panels

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Roger and the Merry Band of Solar Installers hard at work

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For more information about the UIHS Solar Project and to find out what the system is producing in real time, click UIHS Solar System Monitoring System






Through the use of solar, UIHS demonstrates using clean alternative energy production that does not impact our local river systems. For almost 50 years the Iron Gate Dam (shown above) has increasingly impacted our local fisheries.

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 For more infor about the UIHS Solar System click here for the UIHS Solar Infromation Binder