A small Oji-Cree community of approximately 980 inhabitants, Deer Lake First Nation is located roughly 180km north of Red Lake, Ontario. The community is situated in a remote area with no connection to external electricity infrastructure, and as such relied upon diesel fuel and hydro power to produce energy for the local electricity grid. About 80% of Deer Lake First Nation’s electricity was produced by diesel generator prior to the installation of a photovoltaic (PV) system.
The rooftop of the elementary school in Deer Lake First nation was selected as the site for a 152kW PV installation. The solar installation is comprised of 624 CS6P-245P modules manufactured by Canadian Solar Inc. and includes demand/response technology to intelligently switch between solar, diesel and hydro power. Approximately 120MWh of electricity is expected to be produced by the installation each year. This hybrid energy system not only reduces peak electricity demand in the community and, consequently, electricity grid strain, but it also reduces harmful carbon dioxide emissions and diesel fuel costs. Any additional electricity produced by the PV system and not consumed by the elementary school is put into the local electricity grid and is available for other buildings within the community.