One of the largest on reserve solar farms is months away from beginning operation on the Montana First Nation.
Located about an hour south of Edmonton, the solar array has over 12,000 panels and will generate annual revenue of $800.000 for the nation.
Bradley Rabbit, the former chief and current councillor said the project is one of the proudest day of his political career.
“Today, history is being made,” he said of the project.
The $12-million solar farm was financed with an $8-million grant from Alberta’s Indigenous Green Energy Development Program, created by the previous NDP government.
The federal government provided $1-million, with Montana providing the rest of the money.
Vickie Wetchie, general manager of Green Arrow Corporation, a company owned by the nation who worked on the project, said she’s thankful for the Alberta grant.
“So at the time, the government of Alberta was very green. Lots of green energy programs, and grants were available for Treaty use,” she said.
One hundred per cent of the energy generated from the plant will be sold to the grid.
According to the band, the money generated from the project will go into infrastructure, including expanding into more solar projects.
“We are already discussing site two… this really is a gift and a door opening to our future generations,” Wetchie told APTN News.
Montana has a decade long history with solar, beginning with small installations for their band office, school and some homes.
It has been talking to other nations in Alberta and Saskatchewan, offering advice on how to proceed with their own solar installations.
The solar farm in Montana still needs wiring to be completed.
Testing will begin around Halloween, with the expectations that the plant will go live on Dec. 30.