The 3NE Solar Farm is an $11.3 million project wholly owned and operated by Three Nations Energy. The project consists of the design, build, ownership and operation of the 2.2 MW of solar photovoltaic electrical generating facility integrated into the remote (isolated grid) community of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta.
The incorporation of Three Nations Energy GP and establishment of Three Nations Energy Limited Partnership was completed in December 2018 between Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) and Fort Chipewyan Métis Association Local 125 as equal partners in the venture. Many in and outside the community view this as a landmark achievement. When completed, this system will be the largest solar PV system in a remote Canadian community.
Located on approximately 8 hectares of land, (adjacent to the Three Nations Energy ATCO Third Lake Generating Station – near the Fort Chipewyan airport) the solar farm will include approximately 6,500 ground-mounted solar photovoltaic panels, associated inverters and control systems. The farm will also include 1,500 kWh of battery storage and is projected to be completed by November 2020. When complete, the farm will meet 25% of the community’s electricity needs.
The construction of the farm will provide an estimated 40 jobs to local community members and will bring several other key benefits to the Fort Chipewyan community. These include a reduced dependence on diesel fuel (an estimated 800,000 litres per year will be saved – the equivalent of approximately 25 large tank truck trips per year); reduced greenhouse gas emissions (a reduction of 2,170 tonnes of CO2e per year); reduced noise and odour and reduced wear and tear on the ice road.
The community of Fort Chipewyan is grateful to the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada for its financial support to this project.
Beyond the construction and operation of the solar farm, 3NE will continue to serve as a vehicle for the Nations to work together on other renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives.