Minister Feehan, Chief Trevor Mercredi and Peace River MLA Debbie Jabbour along with band councillors outside the Beaver First Nation administration office.  Solar panels have been installed on the reserve’s office.  Alberta government photo.  

Beaver First Nation, Alberta government fund solar panel installation

The Beaver First Nation, located in northern Alberta, has partnered with the Alberta government to install solar panel systems on a number of community buildings to help cut their power bills.

The project, funded by the province’s Indigenous Solar Program, will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create local jobs.

According to a press release, the band has installed solar panels on its administration office, daycare, two fire halls, community centre and carpentry shop.

Chief Trevor Mercredi says “It was important to Beaver because of the impact it would have on our energy bills and also we wanted to prove that solar power can work here in northern Alberta”.

With the solar panels generating 50.57 kilowatt hours per year, the Beaver First Nation is expected to save about $6,500 per year on utility costs, which will allow the band to reinvest in other community priorities.

The renewable energy will also prevent about 800 tonnes of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.  This is the equivalent of taking 170 cars off the road.

“Beaver First Nation is taking action to combat the effects of climate change and make a better life for future generations. We are proud to support them in their efforts and their environmental leadership,” said Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations.

The $153,718 grant is part of the $35 million available in funding in 2017-18 for Indigenous climate leadership programs that help Alberta’s Indigenous communities respond to climate change as well as provide more energy security.

“We are big advocates of green energy and are very proud to participate in the Indigenous Climate Leadership Initiative with the province and we hope to see more projects like this in the future,” said Mercredi.

The Alberta government says initiatives such as these support the its commitment to implement the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Beaver First Nation is located approximately 680 Kilometres north of Edmonton.