Addressing Regulatory Challenges to Tribal Solar Deployment: Preprint

Laura Beshilas, Scott Belding, Karin Wadsack, Elizabeth Weber, M. Anderson, Kelsey Dillon, Sara Drescher, Jake Glavin, Reuben Martinez

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Although Tribal land represents more than 5% of the solar photovoltaic technical potential in the United States, this resource is largely untapped due to a range of barriers, including complex project economics, Tribal technical and human resource capacity, project funding and financing obstacles, and regulatory challenges. To identify and better understand the regulatory barriers, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Midwest Tribal Energy Resources Association (MTERA) engaged Tribes, utilities, and regulators. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the 3-year effort seeks to address regulatory challenges or barriers that affect Tribal solar projects differently - specifically or disproportionately because they are located on Tribal lands. This paper, largely excerpted from a comprehensive (draft) guidebook released by NREL and MTERA, provides an overview of 13 key regulatory barriers identified through this research, as well as potential short- and long-term solutions. In addition, the paper points to potential pathways for addressing key barriers through case studies highlighting successful Tribal solar projects along with considerations for stakeholders working with Tribes. These resources can support stakeholders in creating meaningful relationships and pursuing workable solar projects.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2022
EventASES Solar 2022 - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Duration: 21 Jun 202224 Jun 2022


ConferenceASES Solar 2022
CityAlbuquerque, New Mexico

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-7A40-82725


  • tribal energy resources
  • tribal solar development
  • tribal sovereignty


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