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Second Solar Power Plant To Come To Navajo Nation

The Navajo Nation is expanding their solar power plant and expects it to generate 27.3 megawatts of renewable energy by June 2019.

The plant, named Kayenta II, is the extension of the Navajo Nation’s first ever solar plant, which has been providing electricity for 18,000 homes on Navajo lands since last May.

The Salt River Project will purchase the renewable energy credits from the plant to offset their use of coal and natural gas. However, all the power generated from the two plants will stay on the Navajo Nation.

“A solar facility of this size can exist and operate successfully on the Navajo nation, so Kayenta II is a testament to that and so we hope this will open doors to future solar facility development on the Navajo Nation,” said Deenise Becenti, spokeswoman for The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.

The plant will be up-and-running by May 2019 and Becenti predicts construction and operations will bring 200 jobs to the region.

Claire Caulfield first joined KJZZ as an intern in 2015 and now wakes up before the sun to produce and report for Morning Edition. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2017 and covered education policy in the nation's capital, election night in New York City and Native American issues for Cronkite News/ Arizona PBS. Before joining the Morning Edition team, she also worked on a documentary about rap music in the deep South and directed a film on drinking-water quality in the United States.On the weekends, you can find Claire flying her photography drone or working her way through the Pulitzer Prize book list.