Solar projects in Inuvik awarded $800k

Nihtat Energy Ltd. was recently awarded $800,000 from the federal government to move forward with solar projects this summer.

Solar roofs and farms are set to come to Inuvik

A file photo of solar panels in Colville Lake, N.W.T. Nihtat Energy Ltd. was recently awarded $800,000 for two solar projects in and around Inuvik. (John Last/CBC)

Less gas, more green.

That is the motto behind the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative, a federal program that recently awarded $800,000 toward green energy projects in Inuvik — one of the biggest consumers of diesel in the north. 

The money was awarded to Grant Sullivan, president of Nihtat Energy Ltd., a Gwich'in development corporation. 

Sullivan said he is hopeful to put the money to use this summer. 

"The Gwich'in Tribal Council supports innovative energy projects developed by our own Gwich'in participants, like Grant Sullivan, for the benefit of our communities," Gwich'in Tribal Council Grand Chief Ken Smith said. 

Two solar projects slated

The new funding is set aside to pursue solar projects in the Beaufort Delta region, according to the federal press release.

The projects include a 2021 solar project at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility, with funds to help with implementation and training, and planning for a grid-connected solar farm in Inuvik, slated to start in 2021 and be completed by 2022.

Nihtat Energy Ltd. has a history of green initiatives and collaborations in the north.

Last year, the company teamed up with The North West Company to install 640 solar energy panels on the roof of the Inuvik Northern store, saving approximately $60,000 in electricity expenses annually. 

The announcement comes four months after the federal government also pledged $8 million for eight clean energy projects in the territories.