Navajo Solar Lighting Project 2013


We are partners in this project with the Durango Daybreak Rotary Club. We will be donating $2000 as a District Grant and will send a team of members to help with the installation. Your support is appreciated. Below is a recent email describing some details of the project.

Our Rotary club (Durango Daybreak) has now finished installing the 30 Solar Light Kits that we purchased with our fundraising and 2013-2014 District Grant ($8,000 project). In the process we learned to effectively manage and perform the installations in a manner that should work well for your eClub to participate.

We made two weekend trips to the Reservation with roughly 12 Rotarians making each trip. In October, we traveled to the Monument Valley, UT, area and installed lights in 15 homes. In November, we traveled to the Navajo Mountain area, UT, and installed lights in another 15 homes. We focused on homes of elders as well as homes with children; roughly a 50:50 split.

We would like to begin the planning for your funding and installations. Once we receive your club’s funding (plus that of a few others that wish to donate), we will order as many light kits as possible to install in the spring 2014. We think the months of April, May and perhaps very early June, will be the best time for installations; the temperature should be nice and it is before the monsoon season that begins in July.

The Monument Valley area will likely be the best area for us to install your light kits; assuming that your members still wish to join in the installation. If they do not wish to do the “hands on” work, we still would very much appreciate the donation and we will do the work We stayed at Goulding, UT in the Goulding Campground which was very nice; electricity, water, flush toilets, and showers. There is also a Goulding Lodge if people prefer a hotel room versus camping. I have not been inside the Lodge; however, I am sure that it would be good accommodations.

Key things that we have learned are as follows:

  • An efficient installation team consists of 3 to 4 people plus a Navajo guide. One team can complete the installation for 3 to 5 homes in one day; depends on the complexity of the installation, the distance between homes, etc.
  • At least one of the team members needs to have experience in the installation. We now have many experienced installers that we can provide with each trip.
  • A few people with carpentry skills are nice; however, the installation is simple and most anyone that can run a power drill can do the job.
  • A 4 person team would consist of (1) a “driller”; drills hole in roof/walls for the conduit and wires to pass (2) a “helper”, carries tools, ladder, screws, etc. (3) a “roofer”, person that climbs on the roof to install the solar panel and seals the roof around the conduit and (4) a “talker/photographer”, person that talks to the recipient to explain how to use the lights, takes down the names of the people that live in the house and takes memorable photos.
  • Each team will have a specialized tool kit, ladders and appropriate mounting hardware that we will provide. - A pickup truck is essential for each team; preferably 4 wheel drive. Our members that go on the trip can provide those.
  • In addition to the installation team members, a “camp host” to prepare the meals, do cleanup, etc. is invaluable.

For your installation, your members could fly or drive to the area and we could meet you there. Perhaps a better way would be for your members to meet us in Durango. They can stay at the homes of our members and then we can drive out together; roughly a four hour drive. As you know, Durango is a very nice vacation area and your members can visit the area for some time either before or after the installs.

Also, the Monument Valley area is spectacular. You may wish to spend extra time around there. You can check out the scenery on the Goulding’s Lodge website; http://www.gouldings.com. The website has nice “marketing” photos and a video of the area.

Finally, I am enclosing a few photos of our installations. You will notice a photo of a family with a cardboard sign thanking the Oconomowoc, WI Rotary Club. That was our “spur of the moment” approach to thank them for their unsolicited gift of $485; based on the RI Magazine article. In the future, we can do that with a bit more class Check out our website (www.durangodaybreakrotary.org ) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/durangodaybreak ) where you will find a few more photos.

We really appreciate your interest in joining this project. All of our members that have made the trip have found it most rewarding and fun. Hopefully, your members will have the same experience. As I recall, your club is planning on a donation of $2,000; that will cover the cost of 8 homes. We hope to raise another several thousand dollars so that we can light 15 to 30 more homes in the spring 2014.

SoJ PoC is Pat Crane


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