200MW tribal PV array approved

The Moapa Band of Paiutes has won federal approval for a solar project on tribal trust lands in Nevada, northeast of Las Vegas.

The Record of Decision for the project approves the construction, operation and maintenance of the 200MW (AC) PV facility on the tribe’s reservation. It is expected to generate enough power to run 60,000 homes, and will support up to 500 jobs at peak construction and 10 permanent positions.

No more than 30 acre-feet of water a year would be used during operation. Associated infrastructure would include lines to connect the project to the regional grid, a water pipeline and an access road.

“This solar project is a tribute to the vision and determination of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians, as well as a great day for Indian Country as a whole,” says Kevin K Washburn, assistant secretary for Indian affairs at the Department of the Interior.

“As our nation’s diversified energy portfolio continues to grow, it is vital that tribal communities seize the opportunity to harness the ample renewable-energy resources on their lands as a reliable and cost-effective way to power their homes, businesses and economies."

The Moapa Band has about 400 members on the reservation. It plans to lease the land to a developer.

In March, First Solar began building a 250MW (AC) PV array on the Moapa reservation, with full commercial operation slated for late 2015.

First Solar acquired the Moapa Southern Paiute project – the first utility-scale PV array to be built on tribal land – from the Barclays Capital-backed developer K Road last autumn.