Here comes the green power: Makkovik installs new solar panel unit

The Makkovik Arena recently had a 192-panel solar unit installed in order to cut down on electrical costs. (Community of Makkovik website)

The town of Makkovik is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint with the introduction of a 192-panel solar unit.

The unit, which was installed on the roof of the local arena, made the switch from diesel to solar power last week.

The cost was over $260,000 — but with financial assistance from the Nunatsiavut Government — the town of about 360 will soon see the benefits of going green.

Town Angajukĸâk Barry Andersen says one of those benefits is cutting down on electrical costs.

“We’re hoping to save at least a month, a month and a half worth of hydro bills during the winter months,” he said.

“From the initial study, we’re looking at saving the hydro plant here anywhere from 11,000 litres to 14,000 litres of diesel fuel.”

Those younger generations — they’re really up on the climate change and saving energy.– Barry Andersen

Makkovik will also be the first community in Nunatsiavut to make use of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro’s Net Metering program.

If the town has excess power from the solar panels, it will send that electricity to Hydro, saving the community even more money.

Andersen said the idea of installing a solar unit came from concerns about the changing climate.

“If we could cut back and do our small part in savings or cutting back on burning some of those fossil fuels by using renewable energy, we can help our future generations, I think, in the long run,” he said. 

Students at J.C. Erhardt Memorial School are excited about the addition of a solar panel unit that’s been installed on their local arena. (Community of Makkovik website)

Younger residents on board

After the solar unit was installed, a presentation was held at the school in Makkovik, and Andersen said the youth in the community are especially excited about the town’s decision to use an alternative power source.

“The students there had some really informed questions and [were] really excited to see what’s going on there,” said Andersen.

“Those younger generations — they’re really up on the climate change and saving energy.”

With winter closing in, less sunlight will be available, so Andersen says it won’t be until next fall until he finds out how much the solar unit will have saved the arena.

But he hopes more places around Makkovik will also use the same system to go green.

“Hopefully down the road, we could use this system of power to power some of our office buildings,” said Andersen. “Hopefully, some pump houses that burn a lot of energy as well.”

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