Lutsel K’e 35 kW Solar PV Installation

Posted 2015-05-04
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Over the last year, the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation (LKDFN) has worked with the GNWT ENR and MACA, Bullfrog Power, Arctic Energy Alliance, Government of Canada’s ecoENERGY for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Program, and many others on its 35 kW solar PV installation. It is a very exciting and challenging project, and once the contract was awarded, things really started to happen.

 

 

The installation part of the project began with training in Lutsel K’e for interested community members. Eight people started the training, four completed the training, and two people chose to work on the physical installation from start to finish.

 

The weather was amazingly kind to the installation crew. Serious cold and snow held off till we were done.

 

 

All the materials were chartered into the community and moved to the site using a loader and pick-up truck.

Gabion baskets were used as the engineered support ballast for the solar array. These are 3m x 1m wire mesh baskets, lined and filled with gravel.

 

Two parallel rows of gabion baskets support each row of panels. Pedestal bases (in yellow) were installed in the centre section of each gabion basket, levelled and squared to support the racking.

 

 

 

 

The triangular and parallel racking was then installed. The racking forms the supporting structure to the solar PV panels.

 

 

 

 

Once all 144 solar panels were installed, the panels were wired in series and then into the electrical shed. Each row of panels was wired into a separate inverter - one inverter for each row of the array.

 

 

Electrical work took place the week of April 20, 2015 on both the solar and the NTPC side.  This was followed by an electrical inspection of the solar install.  Next steps include putting up a fence around the site, preparing the online monitoring of the installation and finalizing the Power Purchase Agreement.  The projected commissioning date is now late May /early June.

 

 

This photo shows some of the many people whose hard work and vision are making this project happen. From left: Laura Jane Michel (trainee), Lutsel K’e Chief Felix Lockhart, Sudhir Jha (MACA), Donald Andre (Northwest Solar), Mod Casaway (LKDFN), Wayne Barnes (Northwest Solar), Derek Michel (LKDFN).