The Alberta government’s Indigenous Solar Program funded the installation of solar panels at some band buildings on the Little Red River Cree Nation.  Alberta government photo.

The Little Red River Cree First Nation installed solar panels on Kayas College, band office

The Little Red River Cree First Nation recently installed solar panels on two buildings on the reserve.

Chief Conroy Sewepagaham says “this is an exciting opportunity for our community to invest in green energy and support our commitment to environmental stewardship”.

The project was made possible by a $161,168 grant from the Alberta government under funding available for Indigenous climate leadership programs which are designed to offer Indigenous communities greater energy security.

According to a press release from the Notley government, the project will cut greenhouse gases, reduce energy bills and support local jobs.  The solar panels were installed on Kayas College and the band office.

It is estimated that the solar panels will save the band about $7,000 per year, and will allow the Little Red River Cree First Nation to reinvest in other community priorities.

“In addition, renewable energies, such as solar, are Treaty-friendly to our peoples for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the waters flow…” said Sewepagaham.

The solar panels are expected to generate 55.1 kilowatt hours per year and prevent about 880 tonnes greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.  This is the equivalent of taking about 190 cars off the roads.

“We are proud to support Little Red River Cree Nation, and applaud their environmental leadership,” said Richard Feehan, Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations. “This grant will help the Nation make life better for its community and for future generations.”

The Nation also received $67,247 through the Alberta Indigenous Climate Capacity Program to assist in climate-related training, and $171,745 through the Alberta Indigenous Community Energy (Audits) Program to assist the Nation in performing energy assessments on community-owned buildings to help them identify energy conservation opportunities.

According to the Alberta government, these initiatives support the Notley government’s commitment to implement the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Little Red River Cree First Nation is located approximately 750 Km north of Edmonton.