Lower Nicola Indian Band installs largest community-owned solar panel system in B.C.
The Lower Nicola Indian Band near Merritt has built B.C.’s largest community-owned solar panel system.
A First Nation in the Nicola Valley has installed B.C.’s largest community-owned solar panel system.
The Lower Nicola Indian Band near Merritt, home to 1,200 members of the Nlaka’pamux Nation, last month installed 330 panels of photovoltaic solar panels to generate up to 85.8 kilowatts of electricity.
Chief Aaron Sam said the system, launched Friday, is designed to help power the community’s school and feed electricity back into the local grid.
“It’s great that it’s come to fruition,” Sam said. “We’re very excited.”
Sam said the community and council were pleased to make the long-term investment after discussing renewable-energy options for several years. He expects the system to generate returns for the community in the forms of energy-cost savings, education for youth, a scholarship fund and community pride for years to come.
“Us installing the panels and having renewable energy at our school and in our community is something that really reflects our values as indigenous people, being stewards of the land,” Sam said.
“It’s not just investing in renewable energy. It’s about investing in our children and our grandchildren and our future generations, and it’s about investing in our environment and taking care of our water and lands and our animals. We think it’s a deeper investment than just a financial one.”