Southern First Nation installs solar panels on its community buildings
- EFN Staff | October 04, 2018
A small First Nation in southeastern Saskatchewan recently celebrated a green energy milestone for their community. The Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation located near the Village of Kisbey, 180 km southeast of Regina, held a feast and ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of solar panel systems on all of their community buildings.
Chief Ira McArthur said this project was the brainchild of Elders.
“During community discussions they continually raised the concern of “how do we leave a better world for our grandchildren and the generations yet to come?” he said in a media release. “Through this dialogue the recurring concept was to lead by example, and a solar project for our community buildings seemed to be an obvious and achievable goal.”
Fifty-six panels forming 5 systems totaling 16.8kw installed on 5 different buildings brought this initiative to life, forming a base average replacement comparison ratio of 110% for each building’s consumption. Panels were provided and installed by TruGreen Energy of Emerald Park, SK.
President and CEO of TruGreen Energy, Miguel Catellier, said they are grateful to partner with Chief Ira McArthur and the forward-thinking and progressive peoples of Pheasant Rump Nakota Nation.
“There’s free energy falling from the sky and all you need to do is catch it. Pheasant Rump is now a green energy producer that’s protecting our natural world and saving thousands on their energy bills for decades to come,” said Catellier. “At the end of the day, everyone wants cleaner, cheaper power.”
Although not large in scope, this project represents a huge step forward for the community of 444 members, with less than 130 members residing on-reserve, and from their perspective it also represents a huge step forward in doing their part to reduce the carbon footprint of the community as a whole. With community members in attendance ranging in age from infancy to elderly, 5-year-old Avra Beaudry cut the ribbon as Pheasant Rump Nakota Council and community members, TruGreen and SaskPower representatives cheered.
Joined by Wavell Starr, an Indigenous Liaison for SaskPower, Chief McArthur stated this project was truly dependent on the partnership of various institutions.
“Taking advantage of SaskPower’s net-metering program made this project affordable and a wise business decision. Who wouldn’t want to consistently reduce community operational costs?” said Starr.
FSIN Chief candidate Bobby Cameron said projects and investments like these are leaving a safe healthy vibrant path for future generations.
“Pheasant Rump is a prime example of our Inherent and Treaty Right to a healthy environment,” said Cameron.
Chief McArthur noted that, although no representatives were in attendance, funding for this project was provided to the community by Enbridge Pipelines.
Jamie Honda-McNeil, Manager of Community and Indigenous Engagement for Enbridge, stated that natural resources and green spaces are precious to every community and they recognize that the way they care for their land, air and water matters to everyone.
“It is particularly important to the Pheasant Rump Nakota Nation. At Enbridge, we take responsibility to environment seriously, and when the Elders, Chief and Council approached us to support retrofitting community infrastructure with solar panels, we knew this was an initiative that aligned with our core values,” said Honda-McNeil. “We want to congratulate Pheasant Rump for their vision to capitalize on renewable solar resources and to realize tremendous savings in energy bills over the next 20 years, and invest those savings in other community priorities.”
Enbridge is happy to be a partner with the Pheasant Rump Nakota Nation and to have played a role in helping them realize these positive outcomes, added Honda-McNeil.