School District 27 is receiving a Clean Energy BC 2019 community improvement award for a solar and battery project at Naghtaneqed Elementary Junior Secondary School in the Nemiah Valley that is expected to reduce the district’s entire carbon footprint by eight per cent.
“I think it’s wonderful. It’s exciting,” said Alex Telford, manager of facilities and transportation for the district, of the project. Telford accepted the award on behalf of the district in Vancouver on Thursday, Nov. 7.
Telford applied for a grant through the Ministry of Education’s Carbon Neutral Capital Program (CNCP) in June of 2018 and received full funding for the $450,000 project in March of 2019.
This past summer the district used the funds to invest in a hybrid energy system that integrates solar energy production, advanced energy storage and an expandable inverter platform which is designed to offset diesel consumption by reducing generator operation by 6,900 hours each year — or 80 per cent.
The project will also save the district, which spends roughly $79,000 per year in diesel for Naghtaneqed, close to $65,000 per year.
Telford expects that Naghtaneqed Elem-Jr Secondary School will recoup its investment, which the ministry funded, in seven years through a reduction of fuel consumption of approximately 38,400 litres every year, plus generator maintenance and replacement cost avoidance.
“Emissions reductions are estimated to be 2,534,000 kg of CO2 over the 25-year lifespan of the system, equivalent to 19,500,000 kilometres driven by a car,” Telford added.
Naghtaneqed Elementary Junior Secondary School is a remote school located in the beautiful and rugged Nemiah Valley, located about three hours west of Williams Lake.
The school enrolls about 20 students predominantly of Tsilhqot’in First Nations ancestry from Kindergarten to Grade 10. Tsilhqot’in language is taught as the second language credit and there is a strong focus on integrating cultural teachings and activities throughout the curriculum.
In recent years, Grade 7 students from Williams Lake have been welcomed into the school for its annual Culture Week activities every spring, which is run by school staff and Xeni Gwet’in elders.
The school is located within the Xeni Gwet’in community, which is part of the historic Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal title case.
Telford noted School District 27 is leading the province in finding ways to reduce its carbon footprint, and the Naghtaneqed is just one example of their success.