Humboldt State University

Schatz Energy Research Center

Energy Upgrades to Tribal Office Buildings

A SERC engineer tests solar panels on a roof with the Klamath river in the background.

Jim Zoellick measures shading on a PV array on the Weitchpec Yurok Tribal office building.

The Yurok Tribe of northern California recently completed energy upgrades at their Klamath and Weitchpec Tribal offices. This included the installation of a 15.7 kW AC solar electric array in Weitchpec and energy efficiency upgrades at both locations. SERC provided the Tribe with technical support for the project from start to finish.

Initially, SERC helped the Tribe secure American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the project and worked with the Tribe to define the scope of project activities. In addition to ARRA funding, SERC helped the Tribe secure a rebate from the California Solar Initiative program. This offset part of the cost of the solar electric system.

Once the Tribe secured funding, SERC developed a preliminary design for the Weitchpec office solar electric system. This information was then used to develop a bid specification, and SERC supported the Tribe throughout the contractor bidding process. When the solar electric system and energy efficiency upgrades were complete, SERC verified proper installation of the equipment, including performance testing of the solar electric array.

Finally, SERC provided staff training and education and outreach services to the Tribe. This included the installation of a performance monitoring system for the solar electric array, as well as an interactive educational display in the lobby of the Weitchpec Tribal Office. The interactive display features a touch screen monitor that provides information about the project and allows viewers to check out the hourly power output from the solar array. SERC also developed a web page and a brochure to help with the Tribe’s outreach efforts.