First Nations solar project near Williams Lake now operational

Solar farm plugs in

A B.C. First Nations solar farm west of Williams Lake is now operational after a five-year journey. 

The largest of its kind, the 1.25 megawatt Tsilhqot’in Nation Solar Farm was completed last October, but it just started feeding into the BC Hydro grid May 28 due to some unforeseen delays. 

“I’m feeling grateful,” said Yunesit’in First Nation Chief Russell Myers Ross. “I think whenever a project succeeds I’m quite happy especially because large infrastructure projects usually take three to five years from conception to completion.” 

Owned, built and operated by the Tsilhqot’in Nation through its economic arm, Dandzen Development LP, the solar farm, located along Highway 20 at the River West Forest Products site, will generate approximately 1,500 megawatt hours of electricity annually. 

A 25-year electricity purchase agreement with BC Hydro will expire in 2045. 

“I’m also happy for the Nation,” Ross added. “This is significant for us because this is the first big project that we’ve been able to complete and have revenue brought back to the nation.” 

Ross estimates the solar farm will provide $175,000 to them each year. 

“It wasn’t anticipated to be a huge money maker but at least for us it’s a big enough project to provide us some revenue to start working on other projects.” 

Although details have yet to be released, he said some of those projects will focus on carbon offset and land restoration. 

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