The Hesquiaht First Nation is located on the central west coast of Vancouver Island. Situated as the most northern of the 5 Central Region Nuu-chah-nulth Nations, Hesquiaht First Nations is accessible by an hour boat ride from Tofino, or by seaplane, with zero road access. The Hesquiaht First Nation is made up of two communities, one located at the Hesquiaht Harbour and another at Hot Springs Cove.
Previously relying on diesel generators to provide electricity, the Hesquiaht First Nations Community set out to change that, looking to convert their diesel system to hybrid energy system incorporating renewable energy generation.
The region serves not only as the home to local communities, but is also designated as a biosphere reserve, making a functional, dependable, renewable energy system exceedingly vital. Early stages of the project development proved the Hesquiaht Place of Learning to be the ideal building to host the installation of a solar array. The Hesquiaht Place of Learning, a community center for the region, hosts a large surface area standing seam metal roof, perfect for mounting solar. The Place of Learning is a significant space for the community, it was built by the community, and constructed with the use of local resources. These factors contribute to the overall significance of the space.
The Hakai team was grateful for the opportunity and took on the challenge to design, install and commission an integrated hybrid energy system. The solar array consists of (323) 405W solar panels which have a system capacity of 130.81kW. The solar energy system is complimented by the Ahtaapq Creek Hydro Generation project, which reduces the overall community dependence on diesel-electric generators. The Hesquiaht First Nation now has access to reliable, renewable energy for decades to come.