The Forest County Potawatomi Community has taken another step toward green energy use with the installation of 15 solar panels at 15 buildings on their reservation east of Crandon.
The Potawatomi partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy to partially finance, plan and complete the project. SunVest Solar also partnered with the Tribe to provide other support. Tansy Smith is the Potawatomi Sustainability Coordinator.....
":.....the panels are intended to produce approximately 1.0 megawatt of clean, green and renewable electricity which is the equivalent of powering 750 homes.... "
In addition,the panels are likely to produce enough energy at each facility to meet at least 20 percent of the building's energy needs. Smith says they've taken several steps to reduce energy use...
"....such as moving to a four-day work week and using green building standards. in the operation and construction of tribal facilities. These efficiencies have significantly lowered the tribe's energy costs and environmental footprint..."
Since 2007, the Tribe has lowered carbon emissions per square foot of building space by more than 20 percent. Smith says that means they've eliminated 14,000 tons of emitted carbon dioxide per year. She says that is the equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of more than 2,000 passenger vehicles.
The Potawatomi also have a biodigester in Milwaukee's Menominee Valley which uses waste heat there for use in nearby buildings.
They're members of the EPA Green Power Partnership and are ranked 11th largest green power user in the nation among local government partners within the Green Power Partnership.