BARON, Okla. — Cherokee Nation officials celebrated Earth Week with a visit to the Mid County Community Organization in Adair County on April 22, where new rooftop solar panels were installed as part of Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.’s $30 million Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act passed by the Council of the Cherokee Nation in 2019. The solar panels will substantially lower utility costs and provide an eco-friendly energy source for the Cherokee community organization.
Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, Secretary of Natural Resources Chad Harsha, Chief of Staff Todd Enlow and Secretary of Veterans Affairs S. Joe Crittenden unveiled the new solar panels after signing an Earth Day proclamation detailing many of the tribe’s ongoing efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.
“I hope that more community organizations will do what has been done here at Mid County,” said Chief Hoskin. “This is the third solar panel project completed by a Cherokee community organization through our Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities initiative, and there will be more to come. I believe a fundamental principle of Cherokee culture is recognizing the impact of what we do today on the next seven generations of Cherokees, and taking steps like this ensures we answer that sacred responsibility.”
Under the Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act, a portion of funding has been set aside to upgrade Cherokee community buildings with connectivity and sustainability projects such as solar power, HVAC systems and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The 20 new solar panels at Mid County will offset more than two-thirds of the community building’s utility costs, according to Secretary of Natural Resources Chad Harsha.
“Celebrating this project is particularly fitting for Earth Week, where we take a look at what we do as individuals and what we do as a tribe to offset our impact on the environment for future generations. This project highlights a great example of making that commitment, making that change and investing in our tribal communities,” said Harsha. “For this particular solar panel design, we looked at the historical utility usage of the facility to determine the appropriate use of solar panels, which will offset over two-thirds of the utility usage of the current design of the building and provide substantial savings over the lifespan of the community building.”
The Mid County Community Organization serves residents of communities such as Baron, Peavine and Westville in Adair County and is located on State Highway 59 north of Stilwell.