Green Lake going green with solar panel project
- NC Raine | April 18, 2017
The Northern Village of Green Lake is taking an important first step in investing in renewable energy. In participation with the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, Green Lake will be installing solar panels on its community centre this spring.
“Our village in predominately Métis, and we have an understanding that we like to find opportunities to live gently on the land. To not damage or leave as much of a footprint,” said Green Lake Mayor Ric Richardson.
The solar panels project, which is a first renewable energy project for Green Lake, will aim to provide the building's entire energy needs for the year, which will save the community an estimated six to seven thousand annually.
“Our previous and present councils have been 100 percent in support of [the solar project]. And I've never heard a member of our community that didn't like it. So the fact that we have such a high degree of interest and support in the community is what's going to make it work,” says Richardson.
Green Lake hopes the solar panel project translates to employment opportunities, with maintenance requirements for the panels, as well as future economic opportunities in developing additional renewable energy projects. In effort to become energy self-sufficient, they intend of creating a solar farm in the future, with the capacity to provide energy for the entire community, says Richardson.
“There's a high degree of interest in the north over this. A lot of it has to do with the amount of power outages we have and the distance from the source power,” he says.
“Power reliability is something we hope for with other projects going forward – developing a system that could provide all the power we need for a year.”
Private individuals in the community also stand to benefit from this project, as Green Lake will offer the same bulk purchasing rate to community members wishing to purchase solar panels for their home, in an effort to incentivize green energy.
With funding from provincial, federal, and private sources, Green Lake believes this will be the first step of many in investing in renewable energy.
“We're not just a Métis community, but have First Nations and non-Native people, and all have expressed their support of this,” say Richardson. “This project aligns itself very well with traditional values of Aboriginal people, but also the common interests nowadays of all people.”