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Upper Nicola Band looking to construct largest solar farm in Western Canada.

In partnership with Fortis BC, the band is planning to build a $30-million, 56,000 panel, 15-megawatt (MW) solar farm on the Quilchena reserve.

Chief Harvey McLeod says they have been working on a potential on reserve alternative energy project since 2011.

"It falls right in line with our mission statement, we want to be in harmony with the land. And, this is a terrific opportunity to do that. By no means will it stop there, there are other things that are going to be happening in the community to support this, and all our members will benefit. So, it's really exciting."

A referendum is planned in April, where members will vote on whether or not to approve a commercial lease for the 200 acres needed for the project, and an additional 200 acres, for other potential business ventures.

Should the lease be approved, and testing on site through the summer months by Fortis BC continues to produce positive results, construction could begin sometime in 2019.


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