Solar energy is a proven renewable energy used throughout the Northwest Territories (NWT) to off-set the use of fossil fuel for heating and electricity. The department of Infrastructure offers several funding programs for solar energy development and testing in the NWT.
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As a result of the Solar Energy Strategy for the Northwest Territories (the Strategy), released in 2012, the use of solar in the NWT has increased. The Strategy contains nine actions that lay the basis for solar energy development until 2017. The Strategy has already helped enable several large projects across the NWT.
Communities such as Colville Lake and Fort Simpson are already demonstrating the use of solar in remote diesel-fueled communities. Solar energy in these communities has been assessed and proven to be cost effective by the work of the Aurora Research Institute. Other communities, such as Lutsel’ke, are looking to emulate these successes.
As of April 1, 2015 the department of Infrastructure is responsible for developing renewable energy technologies and the implementation of the Strategy. The Strategy will last until 2017 and will then be reviewed by PWS.
Through the Net-Metering Program, which built on the success of the Net-Billing Pilot Program, solar energy generators can sell unused electricity back to the grid that they are connected to, receiving electricity credits in return. This has resulted in an increase in the number of grid interconnected systems requiring no battery storage and feeding directly into building electrical systems, helping to offset diesel use throughout the grid and decentralizing electricity generation.
Coupled with the decreasing costs of solar photovoltaic modules, solar energy is becoming increasingly popular throughout the NWT.