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Clean Energy News

About the Haida Gwaii Community Solar project

Valine Crist

This article was submitted by Kim Mushynsky, Chief Administrative Officer, Village of Port Clements

In 2012 the Village of Port Clements was successful in a funding application to the Union of BC Municipalities Strategic Priorities Fund for a project to replace the High Pressure Sodium streetlights with LED streetlights in Masset, Queen Charlotte, Skidegate and Port Clements. This project was meant to reduce the municipalities' carbon footprint and operational costs.  At the time of the initial application, Old Massett and Sandspit were invited to participate but both declined.  After the funding was granted it became apparent that the streetlights on Haida Gwaii are owned by BC Hydro and they were not ready at that point to commit to changing to LED streetlights – they were just beginning to investigate this as an option and their vetting process was going to take longer than the funding window would allow.  So in late 2014 we asked the funder if we could change our application from LED streetlights to solar panels and the following year we were approved. 

The project consists of:

  •  40.28 kilowatt installation on the roof of the Queen Charlotte Municipal building that will generate, on average, 35,000 kilowatt hours per year which would be a savings of 80% of their annual consumption of electricity.
  • 50.35 kilowatt installation on the roof of the George Brown Recreation Centre in Skidegate, which will generate, on average, 46,000 kilowatt hours per year which should almost cover their entire annual electrical requirements.
  • 42.4 kilowatt installation on the roof of the Multiplex Building in Port Clements and a battery backup system for the solar panels to feed into for support in a power outage.  This system will generate, on average, 36,000 kilowatts hours per year which equates to a savings of 45% of electricity every year
  • 16.96 kilowatt installation on the roof of the Masset Municipal Airport along with a battery backup and an 25.44 kilowatt installation on the roof of the Public Works building in Masset.  These installations will generate, on average, 37,500 kilowatt hours per year and will represent an annual savings of approximately 65% of their electrical requirements

The successful company in the tender process for this project is Terratek Energy out of Penticton.  We had four respondents to our request for bids on this project.  Terratek was chosen based on price point, experience in the industry and previous work on Haida Gwaii.

The entire project will cost approximately $600,000 and is entirely covered by grant funding.

Overall the entire installation will save Haida Gwaii an average of 154,500 kilowatts of power annually, over 50% of which is diesel generated electricity.  This equates to approximately the energy needed to power 12-13 houses per year.