CASS LAKE- In early January, Otter Tail Power Company awarded the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe $49,875.00 as a rebate for a solar project completed at the Tribal Headquarters last year.
The money comes from the Otter Tail Publicly Owned Property (POP) Solar Program, which incentivises publicly owned facilities to install solar energy systems. The solar installation is part of the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP), an ongoing tribal project to install energy control measures in 22 buildings across the reservation.
Leech Lake is expected to earn up to $170,000 in rebates from multiple utilities serving Leech Lake for energy efficiency measures. Otter Tail Energy Management representative Roger Garton says this initiative is not only good for Otter Tail, but the Tribe as well.
“The energy generated by the solar panels outside the government center offsets electric usage inside the building, resulting in a cost savings for this facility’s electric bill. As a public building, these savings are passed directly back to the community in the form of lower operating costs for this facility. Passing these savings back to communities is the intent behind our POP Solar Program’s focus on public facilities,” said Garton.
While the GESP project is expected to be completed in late February , Leech Lakes Environmental Deputy Director, Brandy Toft says the projects end only signals bigger things on the way.
“This project has been the big kick off. The panels outside the government center are a showcase, to show in front of the government center, in front of the community. This is what the tribe is going for. It’s the start of something really innovative and great for us. Moving and progressing forward, you’ll see there’s more to come,” said Toft.