The Cherokee Nation is investing in renewable resources for some communities to help reduce their electric bills.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr said, when he took office, one of his first projects was to invest $30 million into a "Sustainability Plan." Now Oklahomans in smaller towns are seeing that plan take root.
The tribe unveiled new solar panels Thursday on top of a community center near Stilwell.
Chief Hoskin said this is the third installation the nation has done. He said those panels will account for about two-thirds of the center's utility costs.
"We also want to give these community organizations, which operate on a pretty lean budget, more opportunities. So, I think if you combine those two things - the sustainability and helping a community organization do more locally - that is really giving a boost to the grass roots and we ought to do it," Hoskin said.
Hoskin said he wants to Oklahomans to think more about climate change and reducing the use of fossil fuels. He said investing in solar energy is a great start.
"Now, they can direct more resources to that instead of electric bills. Also, I think it educates people, particularly young people, about how to have a sustainable plan, and what a great day to do that as we celebrate Earth Day," Hoskin said.
More than a half dozen organizations applied to be in the program and the Cherokee Nation plans to build more solar panels for those recipients soon.