Jicarilla Apache Nation: Jicarilla Apache Utility Authority - 1999 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Jicarilla Apache Nation/Jicarilla Apache Utility Authority
Location: Dulce, NM
Project Title: Photovoltaic Demonstration Project on Dulce High School
Type of Application: Deployment
DOE Grant Number: DE-FC48-99R810674
Project Amounts:
DOE: $109,794
Awardee: $30,194
Total: $139,988
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: October 1999
End: September 2002


The Jicarilla Apache Tribal Utility Authority (JATUA), the utility subsidiary of the Jicarilla Apache Nation of New Mexico, received an award under the DOE Tribal Energy Program to install a 2.4-kw (2.0 kw AC) photovoltaic system on the Dulce (capital of the Jicarilla Nation) High School, and to monitor the system performance for three years. The system was designed and installed by Altair Energy of Lakewood, Colorado, and has been performing satisfactorily since its initiation.

  • The project was assigned to the JATUA for implementation and construction on April 14, 2000. The Jicarilla Apache Tribal Utility Authority Board of Directors (JATUA Board) in an executive session unanimously agreed to assign the PV Project to J. Richard Olguin as the Project Manager.

  • On June 29, 2000 contract documents for the PV Project were executed between Altair Energy, LLC, 600 Corporate Circle, Golden, Colorado, and the JATUA. A notice to proceed on the PV project was given to Altair Energy on July 5, 2000. Contract work on the PV array construction started in August 2000 with all installation work completed in August 2000 and the remainder of the contract for PV education materials completed and accepted in December 31, 2000.

Project Description

The photograph shows three of the photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof of Dulce High School, located in Dulce, New Mexico, the capital of the Jicarilla Apache Nation.  The photograph also shows some roof-mounted HVAC equipment on an adjacent building, and mountains in the background.

Photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of Dulce High School on the Jicarilla Apache Nation in northwestern New Mexico

The project links the installation of the PV system on the Dulce High School with an innovative outreach effort geared toward Jicarilla members and other New Mexico Indian tribes. The project will help them better understand the energy use that occurs on their respective Reservations (and its attendant environmental impacts), and to better understand how even modest developments can be designed to utilize renewable resources and energy efficient technologies.

The installation of a photovoltaic system on the local high school is highly visible and enables the JATUA to demonstrate the benefits of PV power. The PV installation includes appropriate displays of the PV installation, explaining how PV works generally, and how the JATUA PV system works specifically, how PV and other renewable technologies are effective at mitigating pollution impacts of fossil fuel-fired electric generation, and what other measures can be taken by ordinary citizens. The PV installation also includes a computerized monitoring system so that a public demonstration of "real time" electricity generation and weather data is available to all visitors.

The education and outreach program of this project is geared to three specific audiences among the Nation:

  1. Teachers and school students;
  2. Apache business and homeowners; and
  3. Tribal government officials.

This program is also geared to other New Mexico Indian tribes via the All-Indian Pueblo Council of New Mexico and the National Tribal Environmental Council.

The Nation developed a plan for sustaining the operation of the project after the period of the DOE grant. This plan includes such factors as: routine system maintenance and operations, funding provisions for system parts replacement, and provisions for management responsibilities to assure the integrity of the renewable energy system. The Nation worked with DOE to incorporate the concept of sustainability into the required education and training elements of the project. DOE provided technical assistance from the DOE National Laboratories to instruct tribal members in the techniques and methods involved in maintaining system sustainability.

  • The PV System array is rated at about 2,400 watts DC. The data collection started in September 2000 and ended in September 2002. The maximum power generation during the month of May 2002 was 374 kwh and the minimum was 175 kwh in January 2001. The PV system was installed onto the existing school rooftop to minimize vandalism. Prior to installing the PV system the roof structure was checked by structural engineers to assure its integrity to bear the weight of the PV system.

  • The PV system consists of 32 PV modules mounted onto four racks. The DC electricity generated is converted to high quality AC electricity that supplies the PV system components and computer, with all excess electricity feeding into the electricity supply to the school building. The installed system specifications are as follows:

    1. PV make/model: Astropower AP75
    2. PV module watts: 75
    3. Number of modules: 32
    4. Number of panels: 4
    5. No. modules/panel: 8
    6. Panel dimensions: 4 ft x 14 ft
    7. Array size: 2400 watts
    8. Array tilt: 35 degrees
    9. Inverter make/model: Omnion 2.2-6-DID
  • The modules are connected in series to feed the sine wave inverter. The monitoring sensors are comprised of an anemometer, pyranometer and a thermister.

Power Cost and Savings Calculations for the Dulce High School
(For a 23 non-contiguous month period)
PV System net power generation: 6,085 Kwh
Dulce Schools power need from the electric company grid: 638,566 Kwh
PV System excess power: -6,085 Kwh
Dulce Schools remaining power need from the grid: 632,481Kwh
Savings Potential
Cost before deduction of PV System excess power: 638,566 Kwh x $0.08 = $51,085
Cost after deduction of PV System excess power: 632,481 Kwh x $0.08 = $50,599
Savings potential from PV System excess power: $487

Project Cost by Level of Effort for 2.4 KW PV System:

  • PV Hardware - $22,217
  • PV Installation - $7,500
  • PV Data System - $6,072
  • Education Support - $19,000
  • Total - $54,789

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report. For additional information, contact the project contact.

Project Contact

Richard Olguin
Jicarilla Apache Nation
P.O. Box 507v
Dulce, NM 87528
Telephone: 505-869-4542
Fax: 505-869-4542
Email: shewbathe@aol.com