Minister Feehan and MLA Bruce Hinkley along with members of the Ermineskin Cree Nation Council and Neyaskweyahk Group board in front of the new solar array.  Government of Alberta photo.

Solar panel system will save Ermineskin Cree Nation about $8,000/year

Ermineskin Cree Nation has installed solar panels on one of the band’s buildings, under the Alberta Indigenous Solar Program.

According to a press release issued by the Alberta government, the 61.2-kilowatt solar panel system will save the community nearly $8,000 a year in utility costs.

Chief Craig Makinaw of Ermineskin Cree Nation says “Our Nation is committed to making the world better for our children and for future generations”. He added “All of us must take action to make a real difference.”

The system will allow Ermineskin Cree Nation to invest in other community priorities.

The solar array, which consists of a group of solar panels, will produce the equivalent energy of powering 10 homes over the course of a year.

“Ermineskin Cree Nation has shown great leadership in taking action to help combat the effects of climate change,” said Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations, Richard Feehan. “We are proud to support the Nation in their efforts to make life better for their community and for future generations.”

The solar array was installed at the Maskwacis Mall and are expected to generate 73.4 megawatt hours yearly and prevent almost 980 tonnes of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.

The $184,304 Alberta government grant for this project is part of $35 million in funding available in 2017-18 for Indigenous climate leadership programs that the Alberta government says helps Indigenous communities respond to climate change and provide greater energy security.

These initiatives support the province’s commitment to implement the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Along with the money to install the new solar array, Ermineskin Cree Nation also received the following:

  • $194,304 through the Alberta Indigenous Community Energy Program to examine potential energy-conservation measures for a number of community buildings and homes.
  • $87,556 through the Alberta Indigenous Green Energy Development Program to support the development of two new solar photovoltaic farms. Photovoltaic refers to the process of converting sunlight directly into energy.
  • $100,000 through the Alberta Indigenous Climate Planning Program to study the Nation’s electricity distribution system.

These grants will help the community reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make energy bills more affordable and support local jobs.