Located in southern Ontario, Six Nations of the Grand River is the largest First Nations community by population in Canada. This community is actively involved in multiple large-scale renewable energy projects, including solar and wind farms.
Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a leading climate change activist in Canada and the host of Power to the People, visited Six Nations to learn more about how this community established an energy corporation, Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC), that generates both sustainable power and economic prosperity.
The Grand Renewable Energy Park solar farm is 249 megawatts, which generates enough energy for 17,000 homes and was the first project that Six Nations got involved in. Niagara Regional Wind Farm, a 230 megawatt facility, was then created through a collaboration with Boralex and Six Nations and generates enough energy for 76,000 homes.
A 500 kilowatt rooftop solar installation at United Business Park. (Power to the People)
“All the funds that Six Nations Development Corporation makes actually goes back to benefit our community. We are able to invest in things like fire trucks and water line expansions and housing developments for our people,” said Tabitha Curley, a Six Nations member and manager of Communications and Stakeholder Relations at SNGRDC.
“We're participating in a societal shift on how we generate energy in Canada.”
In the episode, Laboucan-Massimo also tours Silfab Solar in Mississauga, which is the largest solar panel manufacturing facility in North America. The solar cells, which are considered to be the “engine” of the solar panel, are thinner than the width of a strand of human hair, and Laboucan-Massimo quickly learns why robots handle these delicate sheets instead of humans.
Laboucan-Massimo (right) taking a tour at Silfab Solar. (Power to the People)
“There's enough sunlight on the Earth's surface every hour to power the entire world,” said Geoff Atkins, an executive advisor at Silfab, as he leads Laboucan-Massimo through the Silfab Solar headquarters.
“Being able to see how one solar cell is built into a solar panel and how hundreds of thousands of these are employed across Turtle Island is pretty exciting to see as we usher in the renewable energy future,” said Laboucan-Massimo at the end of her tour of the facility.
Watch the video above to learn more about solar energy and how Six Nations of the Grand River generates an impressive amount of renewable energy.
Thumbnail image: A field of solar panels at Six Nations of the Grand River. (Power to the People)