June 20, 2016. The Louis Bull First Nation officially began the first phase of its solar project this spring and expects to complete work by summer. Phase 2 to follow will see solar panels go up on the administration building, community health centre and school. By the end of the project, 300 solar panels will be installed on four buildings. The solar initiative first came about as an expressed interest from the former chief and Councillor Desmond Bull in the fall of 2013. Bull initiated contact with Gridworks Energy Group, an Indigenous-led solar installation company, and through that met Mike Hudema, from Greenpeace. “This solar installation is an opportunity for the Louis Bull tribe for capacity development in this industry, installation practices, employment, with economic opportunities as this industry develops,” wrote Bull in a recent blog. Bull suggests that First Nations create a co-operative for alternative energy opportunities in solar, wind, hydro and thermal in order to benefit from bulk buying of hardware, capacity development channels, and installations personnel. Bull was recently appointed by the province to the Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel, which will meet with Albertans, Indigenous organizations, and stakeholders to determine the types of energy savings programs that Energy Efficiency Alberta can deliver in the short and medium-term. The panel will makes its recommendations to the government this fall. The goal is to have new programs and services in place early in 2017.
Work on installing solar panels on the Louis Bull First Nation should be completed by summer. (Photo: greenpeace.org)