Dzawada’enuxw First Nation (DFN) is an off-grid community of 100 people, about 120 km northwest of Campbell River. There are 45 homes and eight other buildings in the community, supplied with electricity from four diesel generators operated by DFN. These generators presented challenges: they were expensive to run, operationally unreliable and unsafe at certain times of the year, and environmentally unfriendly.
DFN conducted an energy baseline survey in 2004, and later canvassed energy efficiency options with help from Smart Planning for Communities. Energy savings were targeted. This included promotion of CFL lighting and EnergyStar appliances, distribution of home energy saving kits, and a look at recommissioning a micro-hydro system.
In 2011 DFN began a solar hot water demonstration project in four homes, with help from mentor George Colgate of Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, and funding from the RCI program, Solar BC and DFN. The pilot homes gained an alternative, clean source of energy that proved reliable even on cloudy days, and achieved cost savings.
Robin Dawson, Dzawada’enuxw First Nation, Capital Projects Manager