A solar initiative to supplement the existing micro-grid sourced by diesel generators and a hydroelectric facility.

Klemtu School Solar Initiative

Klemtu, British Columbia

52.586364, -128.520878

December 23, 2019

Klemtu, located on Swindle Island in the Great Bear Rainforest, is a community that envisioned a solar initiative that would supplement the existing micro-grid sourced by diesel generators and a hydroelectric facility.

HAKAI Energy Solutions worked with the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais First Nation to design, install, and commission the 23 kW solar facility. The result was increased reliability, reduced risk of brown-outs, and affordable and sustainable addition to the remote energy system. When isolated communities rely on diesel generation they face fuel price instability, high operating and maintenance costs, dependence on shipments, and reduced generator lifetimes due to continuous operation.


“This project is a landmark in achieving energy independence through environmentally sustainable forms of electricity generation” Doug Neasloss, Chief, Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation


While Klemtu is fortunate to have hydroelectric generation on-site, such production can compromise the community’s access to freshwater ecosystems, particularly during years of low rainfall and drought. In 2015 the community experienced dry summer conditions that utilized the full capacity of Baron Lake, leaving the reservoir empty for two months. As a result, the community had limited drinking water and the diesel generators became the exclusive producer of energy.

The Kitasoo/Xai’Xais First Nation is now able to access photovoltaic renewable energy that is less expensive and more sustainable than other components of their existing micro-grid. With a payback period of 7.9 years and a minimum lifetime of 25 years, the community savings will exceed $346,3002.

Solar PV has proven to be more cost-effective compared to alternative diesel-fueled generation. With the high costs of fuel, operation, and maintenance associated with diesel generation the community saves $0.65 per kWh generated by the photovoltaic system2.

In summers when water reservoirs are low due to drought or low winter snowpack, the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais Nation is able to rely less heavily on limited freshwater from Baron Lake for hydroelectric energy generation. These resources can instead be allocated for residential use in the growing community or to support the ecosystems surrounding Klemtu.

HAKAI Energy Solutions is dedicated to working with communities to develop energy systems that are sustainable and cost-effective while providing reliable power year-round.


System Specifications

Location Peak Capacity Commissioning Date System Type Photovoltaics Inverters
Klemtu, Central Coast BC 23 kW October 2015 Roof-mounted photovoltaic connected to hydroelectric and diesel micro-grid 100 x 230W polycrystalline 4 x SB 6000TL-US


System Performance Highlights

Annual photovoltaic energy generation Average annual energy yield (kWh/kWp) Cost savings per kWh compared to diesel alternative Lifetime savings Payback period Lifetime reductions in CO2 emissions
23,565 kWh 1,025 $0.65/kWh $346,300 7.9 years 403,200 kg


  1. Annual generation calculated based on regional variables and equipment specifications.
  2. Compared to $0.91/kWh (BC Hydro 2014 CEP), including O&M, a direct offset of diesel, performance depreciation of 0.7% per year, net present value with 2.5% discount rate.

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