Six Nations elected band council is seeking input from the community in relation to a proposed 20-megawatt solar power farm to be built by U.S.-based renewable energy company First Solar.
The proposed 350-acre solar farm, called the First Solar Walpole Project, is to be located west of Hagersville on Army Camp Road. If approved, the project is expected to provide an economic impact of $400,000 to Six Nations over 20 years.
“If the project goes forward, that is a significant amount of money for our community,” said Amy Lickers, community planner for Six Nations. “Six Nations economic development is in the process of setting up a trust fund for that money and any other money coming in from similar projects, which will be put toward initiatives and projects in the community that residents will see a direct impact from.”
The solar farm will be capable of generating 20 megawatts of renewable energy under the provincial Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program.
“Ninety community members have been hired by First Solar to assemble the panels on Six Nations and have also been offered job opportunities for pre-construction at the site,” Lickers said. “The jobs are expected to last about a year. So far, there has been a lot of interest in employment and there have not been a lot of environmental or archeological concerns. It is going well.”
Six Nations residents are invited to attend two upcoming community engagement sessions to provide input on the proposed solar farm.
“It is our hope that all community members are able to attend one of the information sessions to learn more about this renewable energy opportunity,” Six Nations elected Chief Bill Montour said. “Hearing feedback to this potential partnership with First Solar is incredibly important to knowing what next steps we should take and what is best for the whole community.”
Input sessions will take place on Jan. 12 at Six Nations Community Hall from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and Jan. 15 at the Six Nations tourism office from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.
For more information about the project or to provide input online, visit www.sixnationsfuture.com.