First Nation communities across Alberta are becoming energy independent through solar power.
Lubicon Lake First Nation, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Louis Bull Tribe and Fort McKay First Nation have each installed solar power systems on their community owned buildings drastically reducing their energy bills and carbon footprint. The projects range from 20kW to nearly 200kW in capacity and will offset thousands of tons of C02 emissions and save hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime.
Multiple other Nations are also developing solar power systems for their communities, setting a positive example for others to follow.
Solar represents more than just a way to save money - it is a sign of change.
In September 2017, the Fort McKay First Nation installed 155.2kW of solar PV capacity on their community arena. The project will generate upwards of 130,000kWh and offset over 80t of C02 emissions annually. The solar modules are warrantied for 25 years which will guarantee clean energy production and community savings for decades to come.
With over 388 solar panels, The Fort McKay Arena Solar project is the largest First Nation roof-top PV array in Alberta.
Kuby Renewable Energy was the solar PV system installer, working for Clark Builders.
Beaver Lake Cree Nation (BLCN) successfully installed a 24.9kW solar PV array on the Amisk Community School in 2016/2017. The Amisk Solar Power System was completed in stages and received funding through the Alberta Indigenous Solar Program and Keepers of the Athabasca.
The 94 solar panels installed over two roof faces will generate over 24,000kWh/yr and offset over 350t of C02 emissions over the project life.
Additionally, community members were provided with in-class and hands-on solar installation training. Through the training local members gained new skills and education surrounding renewable energy.
The installation represents a significant positive beacon of change in the community which was previously powered solely by fossil fuels
“There are a lot of myths out there about solar, and this will dispel all that… Our children are growing up in an oil and gas economy, our children are growing up in the exacerbation of fossil fuel projects – pipelines and all the associated infrastructure – that’s what they know. By bringing this energy sovereignty project into our community, and showing what banking on the sun is versus on the scarcity of a non-renewable resource [we are] changing the language for our children” Crystal Lameman, Amisk Solar Project Coordinator
BLCN is currently expanding their community’s solar development onto an additional three buildings for a total generating capacity of nearly 100kW. The next series of projects will provide solar power for the Health Centre, Treatment Centre and local Store.
Kuby Energy completed the engineering, procurement and construction for each phase of solar PV development.
Louis Bull Tribe of Maskwacis, AB are advancing solar energy throughout their community. Louis Bull has over 85kW worth of solar panels installed across various buildings and also provided training opportunities for community members and former oil & gas workers on this project.
The Lubicon Lake Band installed this breathtaking solar array in 2015. The array features 80 solar panels mounted on the top of 10 poles which powers the community health centre. The array is tilted to optimize the energy generation from the sun while providing enhanced safety for children of the adjacent school.
The clean energy installation was a welcome change given the communities previous dealings with fossil fuels. In 2011, a pipeline leak spilled close to 28,000 barrels of crude oil near Little Buffalo.
"We need something that will make our ancestors and elders proud. This is reflective of our own indigenous philosophies; having a reciprocal relationship with the earth — not taking more than you need and thinking and working for the future generations." Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Lubicon Lake Solar Project Coordinator
There are multiple other Nations leading by example with solar power. Montana First Nation, Cold Lake First Nation, and others are actively pursuing solar power systems as a means to generate sustainable energy for their communities.
There are numerous financial incentives for indigenous communities to research, develop and implement renewable energy and energy efficient technologies. Through these programs, indigenous communitites can develop, implement and benefit from renewable energy technology with minimal financial risk.
Kuby Energy will well versed in each of the aforementioned programs. Ask us how your Nation or organization can benefit from these initiatives.
Alberta Indigenous Community Energy Program (AICEP) – This program provides up to 100% (up to $200,000) of eligible costs for community building energy assessments. This program will outline the efficiency of existing buildings, assess potential energy saving and cost saving measures, provide detailed information to make informed decisions moving forward and help maintain and improve building performance moving forward.
Alberta Indigenous Energy Efficiency (Retrofit) Program (AIEERP) – This program provides up to 100% (up to $1,000,000) of eligible costs for retrofitting existing buildings or new buildings with energy efficient upgrades. This program will support upgrading new buildings and improving existing buildings. For existing buildings, and AICEP assessment must be completed.
Alberta Indigenous Climate Planning Program (AICPP) – This program provides up to 100% (up to $100,000) of eligible expenses for the development of Community Energy Plans and Clean Energy Opportunity Assessments. Community Energy Plans will show baseline energy use, future energy needs and provide a tangible plan to support community needs while reducing GHG emissions. Opportunity Assessments will outline the feasibility of various potential clean energy projects for the community.
Alberta Indigenous Climate Capacity Program (AICCP) – This program provides up to 100% (up to $100,000) of eligible expenses for Climate Leadership Coordinators, climate leadership training sessions, elder/youth awareness programs and tran-the-trainer sessions intended to increase local capacity in climate leadership delivery. This program seeks to increase climate leadership and knowledge within indigenous communities, prepare indigenous communities for clean energy developments and increase awareness of how local actions can be taken which will decrease community and organization GHG emissions.
Alberta Indigenous Green Employment Program (AIGEP) – This program provides funding through ASETS agreement holders to train indigenous people in jobs which lead to the reduction of GHG emissions. The program will increase participation of indigenous communities leading to reduced GHG emissions and promote low carbon employment.
Alberta Indigenous Green Energy Development Program (AIGEDP) – This program provides up to 100% (no cap) of eligible costs for implementation of large-scale renewable energy projects (1MW to 5MW) and up to $60,000 for pre-feasibility analysis and up to $550,000 for feasibility studies and business plans for said projects. The funding channels are separated into Project Development and Project implementation for commercial-scale renewable energy projects
Alberta Indigenous Solar Program (AISP) – This program provides up to 80% (up to $200,000) of eligible costs for the development and implementation of renewable energy projects up to 1MW in capacity. Read more details on the AISP grant.
Solar power installations are exponentially increasing year after year and many indigenous communities are at the forefront of the growth. This progression from paying fossil fuel companies to becoming energy sovereign is something that all communities can be proud of. Solar power for First Nation communities has never been more affordable thanks to natural decreases in market costs as well as newly available grant opportunities.
To find out how to get your community started on the path towards renewable energy, please contact us.
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