The community of Kugluktuk, Nunavut, is cashing in on its 24-hour summer sunlight after installing solar panels on its recreation complex.

The solar panels have only been in place for one month but they've already produced 1,680 kWh of clean electricity — saving about $2,000 in diesel fuel.

"We were looking at how we can effectively bring costs down," said Bill Williams, economic development officer for the Hamlet of Kugluktuk.

The newly installed panels are expected to save the hamlet $9,000 in energy costs for the recreation complex per year. On average, the hamlet says it pays about $170,000 a year in energy costs for the complex.

The 10 kW solar system was installed in June after the community received a $95,000 grant from the federal government. The recreation building houses an arena, youth centre, community kitchen and an area for toddlers.

Williams says the hamlet is also looking at getting more solar panels installed on other community buildings.

"We're hoping to expand on the one at the recreation complex to completely eliminate our bill there," Williams said.

Williams said the hamlet expected July to be one of its best months for solar power because of the 24-hour sunlight. The sun doesn't go down in the community between May 27 and July 17.

"We'll be interested to see when we get into December and January," Williams said.

"Our peak power generation right now is happening between about 8 a.m. and noon, 1 p.m. So we're hoping that in the winter we're still getting that peak solar power. But we'll have to see."

William says the money saved will go right back into recreational programming.

"Whatever community you're in, whether you're in Ontario or Nunavut, recreation is unfortunately the first place where costs get cut."

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the hamlet expected to save 500 litres of diesel fuel over the course of a year. In fact that was the estimated fuel savings for the month of July.
    Aug 09, 2016 2:41 PM CT