The second phase of a hybrid solar project for the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation is scheduled for completion in September 2018.
The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation announced Wednesday that the $2.4 million second phase of the project received $250,000 in equity funding from B.C.’s First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, with federal funding, provincial contributions, and a bank loan providing the balance.
The project which uses leading-edge solar technology backed up by lithium-ion batteries is expected to power 67 homes and eight community buildings.
It’s also expected to reduce diesel consumption by 143,000 litres per year, representing savings to the community of more than $150,000 every year. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is estimated at 382 tonnes per year.
“The First Nation was given a mandate by the community to provide reliable, renewable energy to all members at an affordable rate,” said project manager George Colgate. “This system is designed to do that.”
Xeni Gwet’in will also have to establish a contingency fund to begin replacing the expensive backup batteries in 15 to 20 years.
The batteries can carry the load for one day of cloudy skies before the generators – propane for Phase 1 and diesel for Phase 2 – will have to be turned on.
Phase 1 of the project was commissioned in May 2017.
The Xeni Gwet’in community is located in the Nemiah Valley, 90 kilometers from the nearest BC Hydro grid.