Fort Folly First Nation goes solar

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Four Fort Folly First Nation buildings will soon be fully solar powered, as part of a move towards renewable energy in Mi’kmaw communities across New Brunswick.

Chef Rebecca Knockwood said the project is an investment in the future.

“As First Nations people, we are the protectors and stewards of the land and the environment. And we want to try to reduce our carbon footprint, ”she said.

In Fort Folly, about a 40-minute drive southeast of Moncton, near Dorchester, solar panels are installed on the roofs of the band office and community center, and on floor stands in front of the old hall. bingo hall and the building that houses the community fisheries. habitat restoration strategy.

When completed, these buildings will be completely carbon neutral.

Reduced carbon footprint

Natural Forces, a Halifax-based renewable energy company, approached communities interested in submitting proposals for the federal government’s low-carbon economy fund.

The grant covers the initial cost of installation.

Fort Folly First Nation looks to solar power for its future

This Mi’kmaw community is installing signs on four buildings that will become completely carbon neutral and reduce their electricity bills. 1:59

Seven Mi’kmaw communities in New Brunswick, including Fort Folly, are installing 17 solar panel projects in schools, daycares, band offices and other buildings.

Roby Douglas, Vice President of Operations for Natural Forces Solar, said the change in sustainability for these First Nations will be significant.

“Especially here in Fort Folly, it’s a relatively small community and so it’s going to have a significant impact on the overall electricity bills that are paid here and the overall carbon footprint,” he said.

Roby Douglas is vice president of operations for Natural Forces, a renewable energy company. (Alexandre Silberman / CBC)

Roby said solar power has a reputation for being expensive, but costs have come down in recent years.

“It is now much more economical for communities and for individuals to install solar panels and start producing their own clean electricity,” he said.

“Exciting for the community”

The solar panels will take five years to pay for themselves, before generating about $ 17,000 per year. This additional income is envisioned to offset the costs of employment and youth programs.

NB Power’s net metering program allows individuals and organizations to install up to 100 kW of solar energy on a building. The homeowner receives credits for days of excess electricity production, which compensates for days of limited sunshine.

Solar panels are installed on a floor stand outside the former Fort Folly First Nation bingo hall. (Alexandre Silberman / CBC)

Knockwood said residents of Fort Folly have considered turning to wind turbines as the next step.

“We’re going to do solar power first and see how it works, and then take it from there,” she said.

“It’s exciting for the community. I’m delighted to see this happen.”

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