Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin - 1999 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin
Location: Oneida, WI
Project Title: Oneida Solar Energy Project
Type of Application: Deployment
DOE Grant Number: DE-FC36-99GO10466
Project Amounts:
DOE: $180,564
Awardee: $53,132
Total: $233,696
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 1999
End: August 2002

Summary

This project will assist in the purchase and installation of solar hot water and photovoltaic systems within the Oneida Nation Reservation. The purpose of this project is to increase the use of renewable energy on the Oneida Nation Reservation. This will be accomplished in the first 3 years through the installation of approximately 52 solar hot water and 18 photovoltaic systems. Homeowners will receive assistance for photovoltaic and solar hot water systems through the no cost installation to be performed by the tribal personnel trained for this project. The proposed project will involve collaborations between the Oneida Environmental Resource Board, Environmental Health and Safety Department, Oneida Plumbing Department, Oneida Housing Authority, registered tribal electricians, Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Hopi NativeSUN, and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation.

The specific system design features of both the solar hot water and the photovoltaic systems will be developed through a technical advisory committee comprised of regional solar energy contractors. However, photovoltaic systems will be positioned on a pole or tracking system if roof access in not available, with solar panel arrays being a combination of fixed panel mounts or stationed on a passive solar tracker. The passive solar tracking system will be a design feature as it increases energy production by up to 40%. Systems will include the standard package of an inverter; charge control, batteries sufficient to meet system voltage, and a battery capacity meter. Systems will be sized to meet 100% of summer demand or yearly average loads, and will not be sized to meet winter short falls, the grid system will be accessed to satisfy this demand. Anticipated size is a six-panel array for the standard system.

Solar hot water systems will have a flat plate solar collector installed on the roof, and will be supported by angle brackets, which adjust to the maximum extent the solar access window. A storage tank, expansion tank, heat exchanger, and insulated fluid lines will also be system components. A photovoltaic panel will power the electric pump. The expected system size would be a two-panel system, consisting of 4 x 8 ft. panels.

The technical advisory group, who will select the appropriate manufacturers and design of the solar systems, will consist of Bruno Zagar of the Oneida Environmental Department, Bill Hucek of the Oneida Plumbing Department, Bill Hurle of Community Builders. Richard Lane of Public Energy Systems, Debra Tewa of Hopi NativeSUN, and Chris Laforge of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. This group will assess the currently available solar technologies to select the best wholesaler to meet the specific needs of Oneida Reservation community.

Once the manufactures have been identified, the implementation plan will be devised. Installation will be design built for each house as determined by the contractor and project supervisor. Contractors are responsible for maintenance and installation as well as providing warranty service on system installation. Two independent contractors will be hired for system installation and training for a limited number of installations. Each independent contractor will provide training and supervision during system installation to the tribal trades people performing the installation. The installation crew will include tribal contractors, tribal plumbers and tribal electricians. Training will prepare the tribal trades people to assume full responsibility for the installation and maintenance of the solar hot water systems throughout the life of the system.

Both the solar hot water and photovoltaic installation crews will participate in training sessions prior to installation. Furthermore, independent contractors will provide training and supervision during system installation to the plumbers (with assistants) or electricians performing the installation. Training will prepare the Oneida tribal members to assume full responsibility for the installation of the systems and maintenance of the solar hot water and photovoltaic technologies.

The installation crew for solar hot water systems will include plumbers from the Oneida Department of Public Works and trained personnel from the Oneida Housing Authority, all of which are certified hot water system installers. The installation crews for photovoltaic systems will include electricians from Hidden Valley Electrical, Arrow Electric, C&C Smith Electrical. All installations will be guaranteed for a period of time (to be no less than 5 years) to be identified by the technical advisory committee, and the Oneida Environmental Resource Board will review a yearly report on the upkeep and maintenance of the systems. Furthermore, in consultation with Hopi NativeSUN, a solar thermal/photovoltaic unit and a solar hot water system will be built on a trailer and serve as a mobile model and energy generation station for solar energy.

The educational aspects of the project will include educational projects with the Oneida Nation Turtle School, the Oneida Nation High School, and an inter-tribal education project are also detailed in the technical volume structure. These educational initiatives will provide:

  • The public with general information about the environmental and economic benefit of solar technologies

  • Tribal trades people with technical details about system design and installation

  • The public with general information about the environmental and economic benefit of solar technologies

  • The renewable power companies multiple opportunities for market expansion within Native American lands

Project Description

The graphics include the cover of the Oneida Solar Project brochure which featuring the turtle and tree represented on the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin emblem, along with photographs of various solar electric and solar hot water system installations at residences, Oneida community center, Tsyuhekwa greenhouse, sign lighting application at the Turtle School, and the Oneida Nation Solar Energy trailer used for education and outreach within the tribal community and at tribal functions.  (Photos and graphics courtesy of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin)

The Oneida Solar Energy project will assist in the purchase and installation of solar hot water and photovoltaic systems within the Oneida Nation Reservation. The purpose of this project is to increase the use of renewable energy on the Oneida Nation Reservation through the installation of approximately 52 solar hot water and 18 photovoltaic systems.

The aim of the Oneida Solar Energy Project is to increase the use of renewable energy on the Oneida Nation Reservation through the installation of solar hot water and photovoltaic systems. Homeowners receive financial assistance for the installation of photovoltaic and solar hot water systems, and also receive free consulting from Bruno Zagar, Project Manager of the Oneida Solar Energy Project. Furthermore, the Oneida Solar Energy Project provides education about renewable energy at events throughout the State of Wisconsin. The focus of this education is the solar energy trailer, which contains solar hot water and solar electric systems. Most importantly, the Oneida Solar Energy Project represents collaborations between the Oneida Environmental Resource Board, Environmental Health and Safety Department, U.S. Department of Energy, the Wisconsin Department of Administration, the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, and multiple consultants and tribal contractors.

Commercial Solar Hot Water System Installation at Tsyuhekwa Greenhouse

The featured activity for solar hot water system installations is a commercial size installation at the Tsyuhekwa Greenhouse. This greenhouse is operated by the Oneida organic farm, which had previously relied exclusively on fossil fuels for its heating needs. Richard Lane of Public Energy Systems is the project engineer, and is working with tribal contractors to install the system. The system will be the primary heating system for the building. The system will also provide hot water for the preparation and processing of vegetables and chickens in the summer. It is projected that it will provide 70% of the heating and hot water needs for the greenhouse. The labor for the system was funded by U.S. Department of Energy. The State of Wisconsin and the Oneida Nation funded the material cost.

Installation of 10 KW Solar Electric System on Oneida Grocery Store

The featured solar electric activity is the installation of a 10-kilowatt solar electric system to supplement the power for the new Oneida Co-Operative Grocery store. This system is mounted to the side of the grocery store. A heat recovery ventilation system was also installed in the building, and Bruno Zagar has worked steadily with the design team on energy efficiency design. The labor for the system was funded by U.S. Department of Energy. The State of Wisconsin and the Oneida Nation funded the material cost.

Home Energy Audits for Oneida Community Members

The Oneida Nation has been working collaboratively with the Wisconsin Energy Star program to provide home energy audits to Oneida Nation members. These audits have been occurring prior to solar hot water and solar electric system installation and are also occurring independently of installations. Tribal and non-tribal contractors have been performing the energy audits. The Wisconsin Energy Star Program and the Home Performance Program are paying for the energy audits and giving financial rewards to homeowners for home energy improvements. During the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2001, approximately 24 audits were performed.

Marketing, Promotion and Education

Additional mailings and distribution of the Oneida Solar Energy Project brochure is being planned for the spring through the Tribal Enrollments Office. This brochure has been distributed in the Oneida Nation twice, and one final mailing is planned before the end of the project grant period.

The solar trailer has been featured at several events during the fall, including the Oneida Nation Pow-Wow, Tsyuhehkwa Harvest Festival, Menominee Nation Education Days, Van Ert Electric Company employee training, local school events, and also utilized by the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation in their educational and promotional activities.

Major Accomplishments of the Oneida Solar Energy Project

Fall 1999

  1. Convened meetings of technical advisory committees (3 each) to select systems and develop technical manual to include operational and maintenance plan for the solar hot water and solar electric systems.

  2. Solar electric installation training session is held at the Oneida Nation. Electricians from three contracting firms attend the weeklong training. Electricians learn from classroom education and by installing the first system for the Oneida Solar Energy Project.

  3. Planning of business and marketing activities, especially the solar trailer and the Oneida Solar Energy Project Brochure.

  4. Home-site inspections for interested homeowners. Project Manager provides technical assistance to homeowners when selecting dimension of system and location of system.

  5. Initial promotion of project through the Oneida Kaliwisaks newspaper and the hosting of a series of community meetings about the Oneida Nation Solar Energy Project.

Winter and Spring 2000

  1. First installations are started with most of the work being completed by Community Builders. Four solar hot water systems are installed on four separate residences.

  2. Construction of the solar trailer begins. Chris Laforge engineers the installation of the solar electric system while Bill Hurrle and Richard Lane engineer the installation of the solar hot water system. The trailer is the only system in the Midwest featuring both a complete solar hot water system and a complete solar electric system for educational purposes.
  3. Oneida Nation high school students, under the guidance of science teacher Becky Nutt, utilize a renewable energy curriculum package obtained by the Oneida Solar Energy Project.

  4. Continued planning of business and marketing activities in anticipation of educational efforts focused at Wisconsin tribes and the general public.

Summer and Fall 2000

  1. Continued home-site visits for tribal members interested in renewable energy.

  2. Oneida Nation Solar Energy Brochure completed and mailed directly to over 1,000 tribal residences.

  3. Solar trailer promoted in numerous locales throughout Wisconsin such as the Oneida Nation, Menominee Nation, Madison, Milwaukee, Appleton (see Appendix III for complete list). Information available to the general public includes brochures, articles, and website addresses, and several posters, charts, and diagrams are posted inside the solar trailer to further explain renewable energy systems and the benefits of renewable energy.

  4. Solar hot water installation training session is held at the Oneida Nation. Ten individuals (mostly Oneida tribal members) firms attend the weeklong training. Participants learn from classroom education and by installing the two systems on a duplex for tribal members. From this training, three contractors register as licensed Oneida vendors to install solar hot water systems.

Spring and Summer 2001

  1. A 2-kilowatt field laminated solar electric system is installed on the Oneida Community Center. The system was inspected by the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and is set-up as a grid-tied system with net metering. Once the Community Center officially opens, the system will be featured in a lot of promotional pieces in the upcoming year.

  2. Plans are drafted to install a 10-kilowatt system for a new Oneida Grocery Store.

  3. 30 Oneida Nation High School from two separate science classes tour the trailer as part of a class project on renewable energy.

  4. The Solar Electric brochure is created to compliment our brochure regarding Solar Hot Water systems. This brochure was created by utilizing information provided by the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, but specifically customized for Oneida Nation tribal members.

  5. The solar hot water system installation and education video is completed and 20 copies are distributed through the Oneida Nation, the State of Wisconsin, and the Department of Energy.

Fall and Winter 2001

  1. The beginning of the installation of a 10-kilowatt solar electric system at the new Oneida Nation grocery store. The system will be a grid-tied system with net metering. The system will be featured as part of several promotional tours during the upcoming year.

  2. Installation of commercial solar hot water system at the Tsyuhekwa greenhouse. The system will greatly reduced costs to heat this exposed facility.

  3. Continued installation of solar hot water systems for individual homeowners.

  4. Continued home energy audits for individual homeowners.

  5. Pursuing continuing funding for the renewable energy projects, especially State of Wisconsin grants through the Focus on Energy Program.

Planned Activities

  • Solar Electric System for Casino:

    Design and bid 10-kilowatt system for Oneida Nation Airport Casino. Also design and propose 5-kilowatt system for Main Street Casino.

  • Pursue Energy Efficiency:

    Continue work with Energy Star Homes and Energy Audits.

  • Education:

    Continue education program on Oneida Reservation and also at special events including the Oneida Nation Pow-Wow and the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair.

  • Installing solar systems:

    Continue the installation of domestic solar hot water and solar electric systems.

Project Location

The Oneida Tribe is a member of the Iroquois Confederacy of Five Nations, which formed in the 1500's. The Iroquois League initially was composed of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca Nations. In the early 1700's the Tuscarora Nation became a member of what is now known as the Six Nation Confederacy. Iroquois homelands are located in central New York State.

In the 1820's, Oneida's settled along Duck Creek about 10 miles from the City of Green Bay. The original 5,000,000 acres of land purchased by the Oneida's from the Menominee Tribe in the 1820's was reduced to 65,000 acres by the U.S. government. In 1838, the U.S. government formally signed a treaty recognizing the present boundaries of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, which encompasses the Township of the Oneida in Outagamie County and the Township of Hobart in Brown County.

Project Status

The project is complete. For additional details see the Final Report (PDF 1.4 MB) Download Adobe Reader. For current project status or additional information, contact one of the project contacts.

Project Contact

Bruno Zagar
Oneida Environmental, Health
and Safety Department
P.O. Box 365
Oneida, WI 54155
(800) 261-2163
Telephone: (920) 497-5812
Fax: (920) 496-7883