Exploring solar energy to enhance community power is the focus of a new energy plan being developed by the Okanagan Indian Band.
The band will receive $18,000 through the B.C. First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund to identify ways for the community to benefit from solar power. This includes a feasibility and business-case study on the viability of a solar rooftop system to support the community’s energy demands.
“This is an excellent opportunity for the Okanagan Indian Band as we explore clean solar power and the many potential benefits it can provide to our community,” said Chief Byron Louis, Okanagan Indian Band, in a press release. “A thorough energy plan ensures we will take the right steps to maximize energy efficiency and also create the best economic opportunities for band members going forward.”
Hedgehog Technologies has been hired to develop the plan in consultation with the Okanagan Indian Band. This includes conducting an energy audit and a cost-benefit analysis.
Potential benefits of installing a solar rooftop system include supplying the community with more reliable power, and reduced greenhouse-gas emissions. For the long-term, the plan can help the band identify revenue-generating clean solar-power projects and employment opportunities.
Capacity funding provided through the B.C. First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund is for assisting clean-energy project feasibility studies, community energy planning or engaging with project proponents.
“This plan will be invaluable to the Okanagan Indian Band as they look to take advantage of clean solar power and the immediate and long-term benefits it will bring to their community,” said John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.
“Support for projects like this is a key part of the Province’s goal of reconciliation with First Nations. “
The B.C. First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund provides equity funding of up to $500,000 and capacity development funding of up to $50,000 to support First Nations with feasibility studies or engagement with private-sector proponents of clean-energy projects.
Since the fund was introduced in 2010, more than 110 First Nations communities have benefited from nearly $8.2 million in capacity and equity funding for participation in ocean and wind energy, biomass, run-of-river hydroelectric power, clean-energy planning and related projects.