First Nation completes largest solar panel project of its kind in Metro Vancouver

Dec 2 2020, 2:27 am

Construction on the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s solar electricity project at its reserve in North Vancouver District has reached completion, and it is set to be publicly unveiled this Thursday.

Five south-facing arrays have been built into a gravel slope between two parking lots next to the First Nation’s administration building at 3178 Alder Court, located near the waterfront just north of Dollarton Highway.

It is the largest ground-mounted solar project in the Lower Mainland and the largest solar project on the North Shore to date. Construction was swift, beginning in August 2020.

The solar arrays, supported by a steel structure anchored into the ground, are part of the First Nation’s plans to bring the recently completed administration building one step closer to becoming a net-zero energy building, and the long-term goal of having all of the energy it consumes balanced by the energy created on the reserve.

With 350 panels, it will generate 134 kW of solar electricity.

tsleil-waututh nation north vancouver solar panels

New solar panel project on the reserve of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver. (Tsleil-Waututh Nation)

This project cost approximately $600,000 to construct, with $150,000 coming from a clean energy fund dedicated to First Nations in BC that is jointly supported by the federal and provincial governments.

It is estimated the solar arrays will result in energy cost savings of $29,800 annually, along with an internal rate of return of 8% and a payback period of 12 years from being hooked onto BC Hydro’s grid.

The energy generated during the sunny summer months will offset the energy costs during the winter, especially with the North Shore’s heavy rainfall and snowfall due to the orographic uplift effect of the mountains.

Over 30 years, the First Nation is expected to see energy cost savings of about $894,000.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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