Naujaat moves toward greener future with solar farm

Mayor Alan Robinson wants to reduce his community’s fuel use by 60 per cent

Naujaat Mayor Alan Robinson points towards the plot of land that he hopes will be home to 2,500 solar panels. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

There’s a plot of land near Naujaat’s quarry, about a few hundred metres north of where sewage is disposed. It’s contaminated from many years of serving as the hamlet’s metal dump. Yet all Mayor Alan Robinson sees when he looks there is the potential for a cleaner future for his community.

The Hamlet of Naujaat, in partnership with Kivalliq Alternative Energy, is in the process of building a 2,500-panel solar farm aimed at reducing the amount of fuel the community uses to generate electricity by 30 per cent. Naujaat, like every other Nunavut community, is currently powered by diesel.

“If we can start going in that direction to get off oil as much as possible — I’d really like to see that in the future,” Robinson said, adding that after the solar panels are installed in the next few years, he wants to see wind turbines.

“I’d rather we go into wind generation and solar. Because if we can save 30 per cent right here, what they’re saying, it’s possible that we can build on it and then we could get to 60.”

Naujaat’s mayor, Alan Robinson, wants to see five wind turbines installed on the ridge above the solar farm. His goal is for the community to be less reliant on diesel. (Photo by David Venn)

Kivalliq Alternative Energy is a joint-venture between Sakku Investments Group and Northern Temple Energy. Its goal is to build up renewable energy in the North, said Blaine Chislett, Sakku’s manager for the solar farm project.

Sakku Investments received $1.6 million from Natural Resources Canada’s Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative after Chislett applied in 2020. That money is for Naujaat and Coral Harbour’s solar farm projects, which cost around $12 million each.

He’s projecting that the solar farm will last for at least 30 years and will replace 11.7 million litres of diesel. That’s enough to fill about 355 six-metre sea cans.

Chislett hopes to bring green benefits to the two Kivalliq communities that won’t be served by the 1,200-kilometre Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link — a project run by Nukik Corp. that will bring internet and renewable energy to five of the region’s seven communities.

Blaine Chislett of Sakku Investments Group is managing the solar farm projects in Naujaat and Coral Harbour via a joint-venture with Northern Temple Energy, called Kivalliq Alternative Energy. (Photo by David Venn)

“I know that the communities are feeling left out with the hydro-fibre link. They’d like to get green as well — or as green as they can get,” Chislett said. “This is the first step towards pushing that front.”

Chislett, who lives in Rankin Inlet, said working on the solar farm from a distance had been a challenge in its early stages in 2020, but got better after a community engagement session at Naujaat’s old community centre in May attracted 100 people.

“I warned my colleagues that this was prime spring hunting season. I wanted to be out at my cabin so I thought everyone else was at their cabin,” Chislett said.

“We had elders come back from their cabins and their spring hunting areas that they grew up in and they love.”

Naujaat’s solar farm is in the designing stages. Chislett said he’s aiming for the project to be done by 2025, but that there’s a chance there could be delays.

The next step is finishing geotechnical surveys on the solar farm’s future location.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Atatsiak on

    Nothing beats the power of diesel combustion.


    • Posted by Blackout on

      Sorry my power just came back on, I like diesel when it’s working.

  2. Posted by Way to go on

    Way to go! We should have solar energy everywhere in Nunavut.

  3. Posted by Food for thought on

    Although arctic circle gets 24 hour daylight from spring to summer, sun is always covered by clouds and 24 hour darkness in fall and winter. All year round, there’s always wind. It may be wiser to go wind energy. Less reliant on diesel is good for all communities, we need them for our heavy equipment.

    • Posted by More thinking food on

      Yes we have dark months,but the majority of our communities see some hours of daylight thru the winter. North baffin, griese fiord and resolute do get total dark, however if a town was being powered by solar, I’d be willing to bet that the solar enegery isn’t just gone in a snap, 6 months straight sun can charge the station to work in the winter, probably better in tandem with another energy source tho

      • Posted by Observer on

        That’s not how solar works. In order to store energy, you need batteries. Very big, very expensive, very heavy and potentially very explosive batteries.

  4. Posted by Shawn on

    The old fashioned qulliq is the way to heat the house during the cold dark winters instead of using diesel. I have many other reciprocating ideas but I can’t work on it when the public housing system is f’d up.
    Now brilliance will live in darkness.

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