Solar Power Seen as Key Component of Energy Production
THUNDER BAY – One of the critical issues in Northern communities is the cost of energy. Many Northern First Nations are not connected to Ontario’s power grid for hydro, and rely primarily on diesel-powered generators.
The cost of diesel fuel to power those generators is over $2 per litre and that is a price with the fairly low oil prices. That fuel must be flown into the communities or brought in during the winter by truck. It is an expensive process.
The cost of electric power in the North, according to Common Voice Northwest Co-Chair Larry Hebert is up to twenty times what it is in southern Ontario. That impacts the price of food, housing costs, and running all of the essential services across a community.
One solution is solar power. While perhaps not perfect taking in account shorter daylight hours during the winter, the improved technologies are making solar power one of the solutions.
Fort Severn Looks to Green Energy Solutions
Fort Severn (Washaho Cree Nation) has given the thumbs up for the next stage of solar development in their First Nation.
NCC Development and its EPC partner will install a 300 kW solar / 300 kW storage with a controller solution once funding is in place.
Chief Joseph Crowe said, “Fort Severn has a growing population with a new school under construction. We need more electrical power. NCC is bringing us a clean and cost effective alternative to diesel”.
Currently, the community of Fort Severn operates a 20 kW rooftop solar system on their four-bay garage. Adding more capacity will assist the community and over time reduce the need for fossil fuels.
McDowell Lake First Nation Chief Vontaine Keno, has been briefed by NCC CEO Geordi Kakepetum and David Arenberg, VP, Canadian Solar, on an innovative solar system for the tiny First Nation located north of Red Lake, Ontario.
NCC has developed a plan to install at 10 kW solar system with a battery solution that will provide the First Nation with an energy source capable of powering the community fridge.
Chief Keno will present the plan to her Council in June 2015 for review and approval.
NCC is a First Nations LP company which is owned by Deer Lake, Fort Severn, Keewaywin, McDowell Lake, North Spirit Lake, and Poplar Hill First Nations.