Leveraging Solar Photovoltaic Technology for Sustainable Development in Ontario's Aboriginal Communities

Dirk V. P. McLaughlin, Nicole C. McDonald, Ha T Nguyan, Joshua M Pearce


The Ontario feed-in tariff (FIT) for solar photovoltaic (PV) technology has provided Ontario's Aboriginal communities with an opportunity to i) weaken the cycle of poverty; ii) directly counteract climate change by producing renewable energy; and iii) become more self-sufficient. This paper critically analyzes the technical, cultural, and economic viability of leveraging the FIT for PV to provide green electricity and revenue to assist First Nations communities in sustainable development. A generalized free GIS-energy-based protocol was developed to determine the PV potential for Aboriginal communities. This model was applied to a case study of the Constance Lake First Nations community and an economic analysis showed financially-viable rates of return over 20 years. By generalizing these findings to Ontario, the potential PV deployment on First Nation rooftops alone is over 200MW, which clearly provides an opportunity for developing pride associated with owning a community-led, environmentally beneficial, local energy project.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/jsd.v3n3p3

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Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online) Email: jsd@ccsenet.org

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