By: Gabriela Rios | Attorney |
Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |

In California, rooftop solar has largely been a success under the Million Solar Roofs Initiative (SB 1, 2006).  Senate Bill No.1 includes the California Solar Initiative, an incentive program that is run by investor-owned utilities, and the New Solar Homes Partnership, which supports solar energy on new homes.  However, many Tribal citizens have not taken advantage of the financial incentive programs at the state, county, and local levels.  One of the reasons may have been outreach and misconceptions about Tribal citizens’ ability to participate in the state’s solar incentive programs.

Although Tribal governments are not able to take advantage of the tax incentives offered by state and federal programs, since they are not subject to state and federal taxes, Tribal citizens can and should take advantage of the solar incentives offered by the state and federal programs.  Tribal members are subject to federal income taxes and many are subject to state income taxes if they work away from their home reservation.  Many tax advantages are transferrable to solar companies if a homeowner chooses to lease, rather than buy solar for their homes—a strategy seldom used by Tribal homeowners.  In addition, there are a host of rebate programs for customers of major utilities, including PG&E, SDG&E, and Southern California Edison, which can include Tribal members, tribal governments and their various agencies and departments.

Although many of the incentive programs have reached their budget limits and the net energy metering cap for many in California has been reached, Tribal governments and their departments can serve as an information and resource center for Tribal members to take advantage of these programs as they become reinitiated in the future, which is likely given California’s aggressive goals for renewable energy.  In addition, Tribal governments can incorporate solar into their low income housing projects funded through their Tribal governments.  Various federal programs offer funding for solar development, including the Tribal Energy Program and programs under the BIA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The Bishop Paiute Tribe is a great example of such an effort, where the Tribal community paired with a nonprofit organization to take advantage of the Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program, followed by funding and technical assistance from the Department of Energy to provide over 50 homes with solar systems.  For information on other Tribes leading the charge on solar, click here and here.

Gabriela Rios -LJR_2938Gabriela is an attorney with the Native American Law Practice Group and citizen of the Cahuilla Band of Indians. She graduated from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in 2015.


Ted Griswold

Ted is head of the Native American Law Practice Group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Connect with Ted at and 619.515.3277.



By:      Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |

Procopio has a long-standing tradition of providing growth opportunities to the communities we serve.  Procopio’s Native American Law Practice Group extends this tradition by actively investing in the future leaders of Indian Country through offering paid internships for Native American law students or law students with an emphasis in Native American law.  Please join us in identifying qualified legal students within Native American communities that may be interested in being part of this engaging opportunity.

The Native American Law Internship provides an opportunity for two Native American law students to gain hands-on experience dealing with everyday legal issues facing Native American communities.  Interns are involved in matters that deal with specific Indian law-related legal practice matters and other legal problems facing tribal governments and Native entities.  Procopio Interns reach out to local Native American youth to provide guidance and inspiration regarding educational direction and opportunities.

Interns join a nationwide network of the next generation of Native American Law attorneys in an active alumni program consisting of judicial clerks, governmental attorneys and associates at law firms.  Following the internship, we remain active with our alumni to mentor and prepare them for their success in the industry.  If you are interested in where the past interns have directed their professional paths following their summer at Procopio, see our spring 2016 update here.  Our most recent interns, Kele Bigknife and Heather Torres, have returned to their final years at University of Michigan and UCLA Law Schools.

To learn more about our practice area and legal issues affecting Native Americans, you may consider subscribing to our blog by clicking follow on the bottom left of this page.  Then, each week, you will receive up-to-date information relating to law, policy and current events in Indian Country from Procopio attorneys and guest contributors.

Applications are due Friday, October 28th by 5 p.m. PST.

Internship applications should include:

  1. A writing sample
  2. Law school transcript
  3. Resume
  4. Cover letter identifying why this is an opportunity you would like to pursue, any tribal governmental experience you have and why Native American legal issues are significant to you.

The program is ten weeks and begins after May 15, 2017.  Applications can be emailed to: or sent via USPS mail to:

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, LLP
Attention: Ted Griswold
525 B Street, Suite 2200
San Diego, California, 92101

Our team looks forward to learning more about you, your interests and adding to our nationwide network of Procopio Alumni throughout Indian Country – please apply today!

Ted GriswoldTed Griswold is head of Procopio’s Native American Law Practice Group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Connect with Ted at and 619.515.3277.