published on Social Enterprise Canada,
On another brilliantly sunny day in the northern Alberta hamlet of Little Buffalo, history was being made earlier this week. The home to about 500 people was abuzz with a kind of activity not seen there before – the installation of a brand-new 20.8-kilowatt solar panel system.
Melina Laboucan-Massimo, who is from Little Buffalo, described the scene at one point. “We have the (solar) panels on the ground; we’re just going to be putting them up with the racking system today. We’re really excited about it,” she said.
The Piitapan Solar Project installation in process this week in Little Buffalo, Alberta.
The new solar-panel system is a pole-mount model, meaning the panels sit atop a pole looming about 15 feet into the air.
Electricians, solar contractors and community members are on-hand all week to complete the installation and/or train, learn and observe.
The goal is to have the system, called the Piitapan (Cree for Sunrise) Solar Project, installed by Aug. 21.
This will be followed by a Solar Feast this weekend, in which all generations of the hamlet will have an opportunity both learn more about what this new feature to their place means, as well as celebrate its installation as a truly historic moment.
For Melina, a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation, seeing the solar-panel system take shape has special meaning.
She was born in Little Buffalo, which is encircled by oil and gas development and large scale industry. Little Buffalo is part of the Lubicon Lake Nation.