A sun-powered school

Another green energy project has sprouted up in the Southern Interior.

As construction continues on a pair of wind farms in the Pennask and Summerland areas, the Lower Nicola Indian Band has announced it is launching the largest community-owned, solar power installation in the province.

Three hundred and thirty solar panels are being placed on the roof of the Lower Nicola Indian Band school gymnasium. These panels will generate up to 85 kilowatts of electricity to power the school.

The band will also sell excess energy back to the electrical grid.

The system is expected to be fully operational in time for the start of school next week.

“This is most likely the first step of a phased approach on making our community more energy self-sufficient,” said Chief Aaron Sam.

In the near future the band council will be considering a program to support community members in making their own homes more self-sufficient with solar panels.

The solar garden will also be integrated into the school curriculum, teaching students about sustainable energy, and the need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and other energy sources that negatively impact the environment.

“The cost of solar panels has come down significantly in the last 10 years, which has opened an opportunity for communities such as the Lower Nicola Band to take an active role in energy production,” said David Isaac, president of W Dusk Energy Group, the company brought in to manage the solar project.

The band will host a barbeque Sept. 9 at the Lower Nicola Indian Band School to celebrate completion of the project.

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