Wakaiagon Innovations, LLC

Wakaiagon Innovations, LLC

Installation of solar PV and solar water heating solutions in the Wakaiagon housing development on Minnesota’s Leech Lake Territory.

Challenge

“This is the first initiative to introduce a holistic approach to sustainable living, economic development, education, and job creation for Indigenous Americans in over half a century,” said Wakaiagon Innovations CEO Mike Myers.

The pilot phase calls for 24 sustainable homes to be built and ready for occupancy on Native American lands by summer 2017.

As part of the deal, Saga Solar will be relocating its main production facility from St. Paul to Cass Lake Minnesota. Where it will become the first and only solar panel manufacturer to be indigenously owned and located within the territory of a First Nations’ tribal land.

“The key to this partnership is our shared vision to deliver clean tech solutions for Native American tribal communities. Right now, the average Native family spends upwards of 40% of their income on living in their house. As a result, families are having to share households in order to make ends meet. We want to turn that around. Our selection of Sun Bandit’s new hybrid solar water heating and storage system is really at the center of this strategy.” said Saga Solar CEO Maria Zola.

Solution

Saga Solar will be delivering modules used to power the homes and—as a Sun Bandit Preferred Partner—will provide panels that can be seamlessly integrated into Sun Bandit’s patented, PV-powered solar water heating systems, which can be grid-tied or provide hot water and storage independent of the grid.

To create a sense of ownership where historically there’s been none, Waiakagon is sitting down with design charrettes Leech Lake residents can use to customize their new homes, replete with the lower energy costs solar delivers. Myers says it’s a way to create economic, environmental, cultural, and social sustainability—and a means of fulfilling Indigenous peoples’ Seventh Generation responsibilities.

Result

“Indigenous people have lived sustainably for centuries. But when the federal government took the land, told us where we were going to live and how, we lost the gift of sustainable living,” recalls Myers. “This project brings us to a better place—one that aligns with the Seventh Generation philosophies of Indigenous Americans.”

The educational and economic opportunities this partnership provides—combined with the privilege of delivering quality sustainable solutions for Native Americans—aligns perfectly with the President’s desire to prepare tomorrow’s workforce for Made In America manufacturing jobs. It also aligns with Aki Development, Saga Solar, and Sun Bandit’s shared vision of making solar available to everyone.

“For us it’s about spreading this opportunity out,” Myers said. “Educating, creating jobs, living more sustainably—and letting the ownership of these ideals flow to the communities.”

Who owns the sun? With partnerships like these, we all do.

Wakaiagon Innovations, LLC - Sun Bandit® Success Story

The key to this partnership is our shared vision to deliver clean tech solutions for Native American tribal communities. Right now, the average Native family spends upwards of 40% of their income on living in their house. As a result, families are having to share households in order to make ends meet. We want to turn that around. Our selection of Sun Bandit’s new hybrid water heating and storage system is really at the center of this strategy.

R. Marie Zola CEO, Saga Solar

What questions do you have?

Whether you are a homeowner, solar professional, builder, architect, or engineer—there is a Sun Bandit® hybrid solar energy system for you.

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