Rankin Inlet will soon become the largest independent power producer in Nunavut thanks to the installation of solar panels on the community’s new arena.
The hamlet planned to develop the system as part of Qulliq Energy Corporation’s new Commercial and Institutional Power Producer program (CIPP), which is designed to allow existing commercial and institutional customers to generate electricity using renewable energy systems and sell it to the corporation.
“Rankin can now pride itself to not only be the first to take part in the CIPP but also the largest solar system in Nunavut,” said Klaus Dohring the president of Green Sun Rising Inc., which installed the panels.
Once up and running the system will be capable of generating a total of 110 kilowatts. Kugluktuk, which has plans to build a 500 kilowatt system is currently the largest producer with 60 kilowatts worth of solar panels on their arena.
“Rankin has dethroned them with this new system,” said Dohring.
The new system has been in the works ever since a meeting between Flynn, the president of QEC and Dohring at the Kivalliq Energy Trade Show in 2019.
It was supposed to be installed last summer but COVID-19 led to delays in materials being shipped up.
According to Rankin Inlet SAO Darren Flynn, the electricity generated by the panels will be sold to QEC.
“All the electricity entering the building goes into an inverter then goes up to a 600 volt transformer that allows you to plug into the power grid,” Flynn said.
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada covered the majority of the more than $500,000 price tag for the solar panels through a grant, with the hamlet picking up a small fraction of the remaining costs, according to Flynn.
Flynn said the power bill for the new arena is approximately $400,000 per year. The hamlet estimates it will be able to sell $40,000 worth of power to QEC, annually.
In order to save energy the system is designed to put itself to sleep when it is working at less than 10-per-cent capacity.
Flynn said the average between the 24 hour sunlight summer months and the dark winters will even out over the course of the year.
“In the winter we’ll probably have six weeks where it’s dormant,” said Flynn. “In the summer months… —should be pretty close to 100 per cent.”
The community is still waiting on an electrical inspection from QEC before the system can go live. It is expected that should happen within the next few weeks.