Solar Energy: Helping bring basic services to Navajo elders

"Nearly 20,000 rural Navajo homes in the US do not have electricity or basic human services, and many of these homes are occupied by elders with health issues or disabilities. As a solution, Navajo non-profit IINA Solutions of Scottsdale, Arizona and international solar specialist Mark Snyder Electric of Poway, California and Global Solar Water Power Systems established the Plateau Solar Project to bring solar electricity to residents in this area.

Mark Snyder Electric designed a 2.43 by 6 metre (8 by 20 foot) stand-alone structure that includes all that is needed to power a home. Called the Enertopia Multi-Purpose Utility Structure (EMPUS), the unit is insulated to R-42 and climate controlled. The 2kW solar PV tracking system from Day4 Energy is connected to 16 350 amp hour solar batteries. A unique aspect of the design is that the 500-gallon water tank doubles as a traumwall in that the tank absorbs the warmth during the day, and then lets the heat back out at night when it cools off. Heat is sent into the home through two insulated ducts from the EMPUS. The EMPUS also includes a composting toilet, sink and shower and water catchment."

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Solar Solution: Basic needs for tribal elders (Solar Novus Today 5/5)

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