bc-090717-solar-planes

Chief Gordon Planes says the band is eager to share its knowledge. ((CBC))

A native community on Vancouver Island has become the largest solar energy producing community in B.C.

The T'Sou-ke First Nation has unveiled its solar power project that will see solar energy power the band office, fisheries building, canoe shed and 25 homes on the reserve. Nine band members have also been certified as solar panel installers.

The T'Sou-ke First Nation, in Sooke on the southern end of Vancouver Island, will also provide 50 hot water tanks to another nearby village.

Chief Gordon Planes says the $1.5 million project is intended to become a blueprint to help other communities reduce their carbon footprint.

At a two-day conference hosted by the band that started Friday, Planes said the band wants to share what it knows about solar energy.

"We need to educate British Columbians [and] Canadians as a whole. We need to all get in the same canoe and go forward, and for us, like the potlatch style of giving away, we have information to give away, and this is where it starts," he said.

bc-090717-solar3

The T'Sou-ke First Nation unveiled its solar power project Friday. ((CBC))

Guy Dauncey, the president of the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association, was one of many speakers to congratulate the T'Sou-ke First Nation on its project.

Dauncey used the anniversary of the moon landing to underline what he believes is a historic moment.

"One small step for a house in the T'Sou-ke Nation, but one giant leap for the First Nations of British Columbia, Canada and the world," he said.

Planes said the band intends to take its green ideas even further. He said they're also looking at wind power and organic farming in the next steps of their economic and ecological evolution.

"I guess you could say we're the new warriors. We're educating our young people to be able to take on this task and it takes a whole community to do that," he said.