Meeting Time

Wednesday 7PM

EWB – Shonto Solar

The Shonto Solar Project was created to aid the Navajo Native American reservation located in Shonto Arizona to resolve their need for electricity. The community’s remote location does not have the infrastructure or technology in place to provide all residents with reliable amounts of electricity in their private homes. Some residents lack accommodations such as refrigerators, electric lighting, and temperature control systems. In addition, many community members face health issues that require them to rely on medication which they cannot store in their homes given the situation. Over the course of nine semesters the EPICS Shonto Solar team has been able to design, build, and fully install an operational system in the community. The system consisting of two +300W solar panels wired in parallel connected to a storage system composed of 4 -12V lead acid batteries, provides enough electricity to the home to meet the goals of powering a chest freezer and 2 additional outlet plug in appliances. Now the team has the aim of improving the current design and completing the construction of three additional systems, including a test system that will be housed at the ASU Research Center. 

The team’s current challenge surrounds the fact that Shonto communication has become additionally reserved and isolated as an effect of COVID-19. In addition to this, the community has recently undergone a change in leadership, removing our previous point of contact out of a position of power. In order to establish an open and direct line of communication with this new line of leadership, it will be necessary for a portion of our team to travel and personally meet these community members on the Shonto Reservation. Plans for this trip are currently being made, but once this is complete the team will then have a clear outline of the stakeholders and the community’s need for the project’s deliverables. 

The goal of EWB Shonto Solar this semester is to construct, test, and possibly install one complete system based on the new design. The team will work hard ensuring that the system is complete and that we are able to test it to make sure it meets all necessary criteria. However, we have not heard from the Shonto community and it is also our goal to get in touch with them as soon as possible.