An Indigenous-run business is aiming to reduce Inuvik’s diesel reliance.
Nihtat Energy Ltd., is receiving $800,000 in prize funding from the federal government for a variety of clean projects in the Beaufort Delta, according to a press release.
Inuvik currently consumes the most diesel for heat and power in the Northwest Territories.
As a result, plans are in motion for a one-megawatt grid-connected solar farm to be built near Inuvik.
The funding is also going towards training and implementing a solar project at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility, but no details have been released.
The project is being headed by Grant Sullivan, president of Nihtat Energy Ltd.
Gwich’in Tribal Council Grand Chief Ken Smith says the project is an example of collaborative work between different governments.
“The Gwich’in Tribal Council supports innovative energy projects developed by our own Gwich’in participants, like Grant Sullivan, for the benefit of our communities,” he says.
‘Everybody’s doing it’
Vince Sharpe is an Inuvik resident who installed solar panels on his house in 2016.
He says the project will be beneficial for all residents.
“Any solar project is good for the community because the sun is free,” he explains.
He says beyond being environmentally friendly, solar power can also be cost-effective as he only pays $18.90 a month for power.
Sharp says when he first began discussing the idea of solar power in Inuvik, he was told it wouldn’t work as the town doesn’t have much sunlight during the winter months.
But despite the advice, he went forward with his plan, installing 42 panels on his house.
“So I tried it, now of course everybody’s doing it,” he says with his laugh.
Since doing his own house, Sharpe has installed solar panels on about five other homes in Inuvik.
Sharpe says the panels absorb enough sunlight in the summer months, that he’s able to bank it to be used for winter months.
Work on the Inuvik solar project is scheduled to start in 2021 with plans to be completed in 2022.