Cherokee Nation celebrates first tribal solar canopy car charging station in
Solar Canopy Ribbon Cutting (L-R) Cherokee Nation Senior Director of
Environmental Resources Pat Gwin, Attorney General Todd Hembree, Chief of
Staff Chuck Hoskin, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Principal Chief
Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Tribal Councilor Janees
Taylor, Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill, Treasurer Lacey Horn,
Bureau of Indian Affairs Eastern Regional Office representative Jeannine
Hale, and Cherokee Nation Special Projects Analyst Julie Justice
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the
tribe’s headquarters in Tahlequah Tuesday to celebrate the first tribal
solar canopy car charging station to be built by a tribe in Oklahoma.
Cherokee Nation’s new charging station is located in the main parking lot of
the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex. It is capable of charging up to eight
electric vehicles and also provides about 58,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of
electricity to the tribal complex each year, equivalent to the amount of
electricity needed to power three or more homes.
“Embracing solar panels and adding electric vehicles to our fleet is
consistent with Cherokee Nation’s leadership in clean-energy usage and
carbon-footprint reduction,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker
said. “Cherokee Nation is the first tribal government in Oklahoma to build
and utilize a solar canopy like this. We have always been good stewards of
the land, and this is another example of exceptional natural resource
conservation, a legacy established by our ancestors. Additionally, the
structure’s design enhances the beautification efforts we have made at the
Construction costs for the solar canopy totaled around $300,000 through a
partnership between Cherokee Nation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“The new solar canopy provides a convenient power source for electric
vehicles and also provides clean power to the Cherokee Nation complex,” said
Cherokee Nation Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill. “I’m proud that
Cherokee Nation is able to provide this option to our employees and citizens
while also honoring our obligation to act as good stewards of our natural
Cherokee Nation citizen Ben Phillips, of Fort Gibson, works at the tribal
complex in Tahlequah and has driven a hybrid car for four years. He
initially chose the electric vehicle for its technology and low maintenance
and now uses the charging station daily, which saves time and money he would
otherwise spend on gasoline.
“It’s exciting to see the tribe committed to green, renewable energy,”
Phillips said. “I think it will be a win-win for the tribe and employees who
commute to work every day. I have already noticed a flood of questions about
electric vehicles and how they work and believe it will be a great
opportunity to educate people about ‘EVs’ and sustainable energy.”
The Cherokee Nation purchased its first two 100-percent electric-powered
Nissan Leaf compact cars in October. The Leafs can travel about 107 miles on
one charge and produce zero emissions.
Following Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting, the tribe hosted a ride-and-drive event.
Aside from test-driving the new Nissan Leafs, employees were invited to
drive electric vehicles owned by OG&E and Auffenberg Chevrolet in Muskogee.
Francis Renewable Energy of Tulsa was the contractor for the solar canopy
“The trend we’re seeing is an appetite for parking canopies, and it’s not
just tribes and other governments,” FRE President David Jankowsky said.
“There’s federal tax credits available, and when you take advantage of them
they practically pay for the structure, so we’re going to start seeing a lot
more of these solar canopy charging stations in Oklahoma.”
The solar canopy and addition of electric vehicles to the Cherokee Nation
fleet are part of the tribe’s recent initiative to reduce carbon emissions.
Other environmentally friendly initiatives include the tribe leasing land to
a company for the development of a wind energy farm on Cherokee Nation trust
land in Kay County. Cherokee Nation News Release
For Media Inquiries:
Julie Hubbard 918-207-3896
For General Information:
[© Cherokee Nation]
W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex, Cherokee Nation
Ports EV Plug (J1772) clipper creek
Address 17675 S Muskogee Ave, Tahlequah, OK 74464
Description Solar canopy EVSE, capable of charging 8 EVs @L2-3kW, located
W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex main parking lot.
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