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Banking woes send consumers looking for safer alternatives, some Indiana communities resist a dollar chain store "invasion," and a permit to build an oil pipeline tunnel under the Great Lakes is postponed.

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Republicans say it is premature to consider gun legislation after the Nashville shooting, federal officials are unsure it was a hate crime, and regulators say Silicon Valley Bank was aware of its financial risks.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Nez Perce Tribe First in ID to Receive Tesla's Large-Scale Solar Battery

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Thursday, November 18, 2021   

BOISE, Idaho -- Idaho's first large-scale solar battery from Tesla has been installed by the Nez Perce Tribe.

The Tesla Megapack is about the size of a shipping container and will store energy from solar panels to power the Lapwai Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Josh Powell, CEO of RevoluSun, the company bringing the Tesla Megapack to the Nez Perce, said the battery reduces the tribe's dependence on hydropower dams in the region, which stand in the way of salmon populations.

"So it gives the community a lot more resilience, but it also allows people like the Nez Perce to control their energy where it's being produced where they have lands," Powell explained. "And traditionally, Native American lands... the grid is the weakest on their lands. So it's a natural place to create that support."

The tribe is calling for the removal of four dams on the lower Snake River because they are an impediment to endangered salmon and steelhead populations making their way from the Pacific Ocean to Idaho.

Powell pointed out members of the tribe were part of the operation.

"We actually trained tribal members to do the solar installation," Powell noted. "The first battery was delivered in September of this year, and that's being integrated into the system now."

Powell added some of the changes utilities have proposed for solar could slow its growth in Idaho. For instance, Idaho Power wants to change rates for net metering, the process for compensating people with rooftop solar who contribute excess energy to the electric grid.

Powell observed there have also been arguments claiming solar is only possible for higher-income people, but it has not been his experience.

"People do it for economy, typically," Powell stressed. "That's certainly what's driving the Nez Perce to do it."


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