The Solar Initiative

Cornerstones has expanded its cultural landscape.  We are fully dedicated to our slogan, “Partnering with Communities for a Sustainable Heritage”, which endorses a new dimension to our preservation efforts; economic development with a 21st century thrust. 

Partnering with Remy’s Good Day Fund, we have created The Solar Initiative directed toward job training and the installation of solar systems on Tribal lands and in northern New Mexico villages.  We support job training and education for youth, the unemployed and underemployed, which enhances economic opportunity for both the individual as well as the community.  It is the goal of The Solar Initiative to invest $500,000.00 in solar projects by the end of 2021. 

New Mexico ranks second in the nation for solar potential, but, due to its extreme poverty, has been slow to act on this opportunity. Cornerstones and Remy’s Good Day Fund are steadily changing this scenario. 

As of July 2019, we have funded the following projects: 

Gallup Solar, Inc.

Gallup Solar has been granted monies for two projects.  Each is designed to train members of the Navajo Nation and the Pueblo of Zuni living off the grid in the Gallup area to install, maintain and trouble-shoot solar systems on their own homes and those of extended families. The participants have the opportunity for certification in the field and act as ambassadors for solar energy. The second program included refrigeration for medication and fresh food. 

The Pueblo of Laguna

The Pueblo of Laguna received funds to design and conduct a study of power needs for solar installation on a community building in one of their six villages. 

Ribera Community Cultural Center

Ribera Community Cultural Center was awarded funds to add solar to their re-purposed school building which now serves as a gathering place for many area activities.  Their solar implementation serves as an example of alternative energy to the community.

Pueblo of Cochiti

The Pueblo of Cochiti is also the recipient of two grants.  The initial funding supported the solarization of the Hahn Center, their community center for summer programs, classes, celebrations and receptions.  Grant #2 was funded to solarize the Keres Children’s Learning Center; Children of the Pueblo receive 50% of their instruction in their native language (Keres) and 50% in English.  By teaching the language, the Pueblo is passing on their history, values, beliefs and a worldview.  Incorporated in the second program are two scholarships for Pueblo members to learn and train in solar installation. The Solar Initiative partnered with New Energy Economy on both projects.  

Santa Fe Community College

Santa Fe Community College received a grant to buy materials and install PV on a Pole, as a prototype of solar power for students in their alternative energy programs and for community members considering a solar installation on their own homes. 

The Centro de Amistad Senior Center in the Village of Santa Clara

Cornerstones and Remy again partnered with New Energy Economy to install solar panels on the Center. For many, the Center offers the only meal of the day and the sole opportunity for socialization. Savings from the solarization has allowed more people and meals to be served. 

The Education and Career Center at UNM-Taos

The Center has twice received funding to design and implement an innovative integrated Education and Training program to prepare members of the Greater Taos community to enter the energy workforce.  This comprehensive program offers opportunity to non-traditional students for personal benefit but also for the benefit of their community.  Funding provided for two semesters of alternative energy/solar courses. Scholarships were offered, with a preference for Native American students.  

The Energy Sovereignty Institute

The Energy Sovereignty Institute has been awarded a grant to hold its “Stakeholder Summit Convening”.  “The Energy Sovereignty Institute is a social innovation initiative designed to promote the benefits of decentralized energy systems and technologies for Native American Communities, and to advance their availability and use”.  A key function will be to provide a nationally recognized clearinghouse for related information, resources, and initiatives 

The Pueblo of Nambe

A grant was made in partnership with Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative to install PV-on-a-Pole at two homes serviced and selected by the Coop.  Cost savings and the opportunity to promote the benefits of solar energy on the Pueblo were the incentives for the project. 

Zuni Veterinary Clinic

Funds were awarded to solarize the newly constructed, self-sustainable Veterinary Clinic. This will be a year-round fully functional clinic to take care of and reduce the number of stray animals and eliminate diseases through vaccines.  This Earthship will drastically reduce utility bills, provide natural heating, cooling, water and electricity and act as a showcase for off-the-grid buildings.