Indian Canyons Trading Post goes solar
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. –– Just as summer temps are pushing higher, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has gone green with a totally “off-grid” solar system at the Indian Canyons Trading Post.
The Tribe’s Trading Post gift shop in Indian Canyons, where hikers can stop to cool off with an ice cream or snack, has gone from a noisy propane generator to a new solar panel and battery system that runs completely independent of the energy grid.
The batteries, which weigh more than 300 pounds each, collect the solar energy during the day, storing enough to run a swamp cooler, fans, a microwave, lights, and a refrigerator and freezer. The Trading Post previously relied on propane to generate power, although the rate had tripled over the past few years, costing more than $15,000 annually.
The Tribe also installed new ceiling fans and added increased roof insulation, negating the need for an air conditioner unit as opposed to the less energy-hungry swamp cooler. For emergencies, a backup generator operating on less-expensive diesel fuel has been installed.
The improvements will begin to show a positive return in just six years. Over the next 20 years of operation, the Tribe expects to save over $233,000 in total operating and maintenance expenses.
“We’re very pleased to be able to utilize our abundant sunshine in a way that will help us save money in the long run, while reducing our carbon footprint,” said Richard M. Milanovich, Tribal Chairman. “When our equipment started breaking down and the roof needed updating, it just made sense to take the plunge into solar and do it right all at once.”
The Tribe contracted with Renova Energy Corporation to install the system, which includes 30 roof-mounted 275-watt photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, producing a total of 8.25 kilowatts (kW). It’s enough power to ensure the facility is 100 percent operational year-round.
For more information about Indian Canyons, call 760-323-6018.
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About the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is a federally-recognized Indian Tribe located in Palm Springs, Calif., with 32,000 acres of reservation lands that spread across Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, and into the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains. The Tribe’s developments include two Palm Springs golf courses, the Spa Resort Casino and Hotel in downtown Palm Springs, and the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage, which includes the 2,000 seat concert venue, The Show. It also operates the Indian Canyons preserve, an environmental paradise open to the public.