By Joey Krackle
ALDERVILLE FIRST NATION – Chief Jim Bob Marsden says that the council and citizens are very pleased to have the first and only solar farm in Canada that is 100% First Nation owned.
“We are proud of our renewable energy project,” says Chief Marsden. “It will bring a sustainable revenue stream to our community. At the same time, this project will allow this community to contribute to Canada’s economy now and in the future.”
He further urged Canadians to recognize the importance of environmental stewardship during these critical times of climate change.
Alderville First Nation has 300 members who live on reserve and about 650 residing off reserve. Alderville is recognized as a progressive First Nation and has about 30 small businesses
The community adopted the Alderville Community Trust in 2002. The Vision of this trust is: “The Trustees will work towards achieving a vision of the First Nation as a financially secure community that uses trust funds wisely in accordance with its mission.”
The Alderville First Nation started the development of its solar energy project in 2009 and received a 20 year Feed –In-Tariff (FIT) contract from the Ontario Power Authority in April 2010 and selected its solar panel manufacturer in 2011. After overcoming many start – up challenges, Alderville received $1.25 million from the federal government for this project. This solar farm has been operational since 2013.
This five megawatt project located on the south shore of Rice Lake has 23,000 ground mounted solar panels on 45 acres of First Nation property. The project created 25 community jobs during construction and provides ongoing employment.
Earlier Alderville received $373,000 in federal funds for in class and on the job training for 18 Alderville citizens as welders and solar wracking installers who will be able to find work anywhere in Canada.
It is estimated that this solar farm could generate as much as $56 million for Alderville First Nation over the next twenty years and produce enough energy to power 600 homes.
Solar panels create green energy electricity by absorbing the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating. A photovoltaic (PV) module is a packaged assembly of typically 6X 10 solar cells. Solar Photovoltaic panels constitute the solar array of a photovoltaic system that generates and supplies solar electricity in commercial and residential applications. Each module is rated by its DC output power under standard conditions and typically ranges from 100 to 365 watts.