The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe harnesses the power of the Sun: The state’s first-ever solar farm will be unveiled in Cannonball tonight.
The company that made this possible, Give Power, is an international non-profit that dedicates themselves to providing renewable power in indigenous communities all over the world.
They’ve been planning this since 2016, and now it’s a reality.
The farm is equipped with about 1,000 solar panels and provides 300 kilowatts of power. To give you an idea, the average house uses about two kilowatts.
There are 10 acres out here, and only about three are filled with panels, so there is plenty of potential for additional power for the entire state.
Give Power Executive Director Barrett Raftery explains, “This one goes back into the grid, and then we’ll use some of the revenue generated here to do the community center and the gym in town, here in Cannonball. So we’ll offset two power bills permanently of the community structures in the Cannonball community.”
After three years in the making, these panels have become a monument to honor the people of Cannonball for standing up for change back in 2016.
The Give Power Solar Farm will generate power for the state, and revenue for the Cannonball Community.
Raftery says this is important in an area where income can be tough to come by.
They’ve employed all local contractors to build this 10-acre farm, and Give Power has partnered with Indigenized Energy, a non-profit in Cannonball, to run the farm from here, and hire more locals.
The farm is located about five miles from the site of 2016’s DAPL protests. The Executive Director says they chose this spot because the people of Standing Rock showed leadership, by taking such an important issue, to the national stage.
Raftery shares, “I’m really hopeful that this is a great example of Native sovereignty, and that through ownership in this project and carrying this idea forward on their own, in their own way; with their own culture; we’re really going to be able to build some kind of transformative change.”
There will be enough power to sustain about 150 homes. That will go back into the North Dakota grid. But, the revenue from the farm will pay the power bills for the Cannonball community center and gym.
Tomorrow evening at 4 p.m., everyone in Cannonball and the surrounding communities are invited to the farm for dinner, and to learn all about it’s impact on the area.