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From the 92nd action from the Truth and Reconciliation Committee to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as an organization Prairie Sun Solar felt like we needed to do more. From the report:
We commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with business development.
We commit to ensuring that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities by training and hiring members of the communities to work on projects we design and install, to help Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from their solar projects.
In addition, we commit to provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples.
What we are doing differently? We don’t give you the fish, we’ll teach you how to!
We commit to learning about your community. We commit to listening to your people and we will not just try to sell a product. We offer an education program where we train someone from your community on how to set up and install solar. We want to help create more jobs in the future and training folks on how to install, troubleshoot and fix solar panel is one way to do that.
Kawacatoose First Nation and their renewable energy journey!
A great example of how we team up with a community is our project we completed with Kawacatoose First Nation.
First we offer community solar education and assessment at no charge (that’s a bad electricians joke). Before we do any work on the community we like to introduce ourselves and have an informal meeting with community members whether that be with the Chief & Council Members or an assigned community member. (Don’t worry we will bring the coffee and donuts!)
At our initial meeting, we will ask the community what their renewable energy goals are and provide as much education to explain how solar works and as well as the cost benefits of reduced energy bills. After receiving permission from the chief and council we will do a tour of the community buildings reviewing the electrical systems in each building and assessing the solar potential of each building. We will then put together a full assessment, for each community building, laying out the order in which we recommend installing solar panels based on several factors including:
– Recommended System Size
– Solar Potential
– Roofing Conditions
– Social Impact
– Solar Training Opportunities
– Employment Opportunites
Kawacatoose First Nation Solar Panels Installed on the Water Treatment Plant, The School and the Band Office
Example Community Report We Provide
After putting together a detailed solar package, we then look to meet with the community and present the findings and provide recommendations. If the community would like to further explore, we are then able to help them with administration from end to end for the solar projects and actively provide funding opportunities for the installation of the projects that also include paid jobs and training for community members.
Our goal is to teach members how to install systems so they can be independent and provide themselves with jobs and employment opportunities. We enjoy every part of working with our first nation communities, from the initial meetings to the hands-on job site training with members to the follow-up with the community ensuring the system is running at full capacity all year round!