Alexander First Nation, First Nation Power Development (FNpower), Concord Green Energy, and the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) have reached financial close on the Tilley Solar project.

The CIB committed $33 million to the Tilley Solar project, located 200 kilometres southeast of Calgary in Newell, Alta., on Treaty 7 Territory. The total project cost is $52 million and will include the economic interests of the Alexander First Nation and FNpower, an Indigenous-owned organization dedicated to empowering First Nation community ownership and participation in the emerging renewable energy industry.

“Directly impacting the Alexander First Nation through job creation and long-term economic prosperity, our investment in the Tilley Solar Project will help foster economic reconciliation while advancing a more sustainable grid. Our collective approach to project development sets an example for future partnerships of Indigenous leadership in renewable projects that can be replicated across Canada,” said Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank.

The 23.6-megawatt solar farm, which includes 69,450 fixed-tilt solar photovoltaic panels, will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta by approximately 14,200 tonnes annually.

“I would like to thank the CIB for their tremendous support and dedication to the Tilley Solar Project. This signifies the economic viability of the project for our Nation for many years to come. With that comes long-term careers/jobs for our Nation members, consistent revenue for the Nation, and our footprint into the green energy space. I would also like to thank and congratulate Alexander Business Centre, First Nation Power Development, and Concord Green Energy for their unwavering hard work and commitment to bring this project into fruition. I am beyond excited to see the end product as a green energy source which is important to us as First Nations people who are stewards of the land,” said Chief George Arcand Jr, Alexander First Nation.

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The sustainable, large-scale energy project will support long-term socio-economic benefits for the Nation and their partners. The project will generate more than 280 full-time jobs at peak and is estimated to create $14 million in direct labour income and add $6 million of indirect labour income.

“Having worked for First Nation communities over the last 15 years, it’s been incredible to witness the evolution in economic participation. The Alexander First Nation and Alexander Business Corp demonstrate that First Nations people can create their own methods for meaningful economic participation, especially in emerging industries like the renewable energy sector. For this project we were very fortunate to have met an industry partner that understands the importance of inclusion and how to build meaningful relationships; Concord Green Energy is setting the bar for economic reconciliation within the energy industry. Most importantly, the partnership would not have been possible without the support of the Canada Infrastructure Bank who are truly looking out for the interests of the Indigenous partners,” said Firman Latimer, CEO, First Nation Power Development.

In collaboration with the Alberta Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative, led by PrairiesCan, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) contributed $1 million to Alexander First Nation towards its investment in the Tilley Solar Project. The ISC support advances reconciliation in securing First Nation ownership of the clean power project.

“It is with great pride that we were able to complete this investment that will generate a consistent revenue stream for our Nation over the next 30 years. I want to thank our partners – the CIB for their tremendous support and commitment to ensuring this investment would be financially viable for our Nation, First Nation Power Development for all their hard work to pull this project together and for including Alexander First Nation, and Concord Green Energy and Concord Pacific for their commitment to ensuring this project is majority owned by its First Nations Partners and for providing the financial support we needed. We look forward to more clean energy projects as we see combining environmental stewardship and economic participation as the future business model for our Nation,” said Ian Arcand, CEO, Alexander Business Corporation.

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Following the CIB’s recent investment in the Deerfoot and Barlow Solar projects in Calgary, Tilley Solar represents the CIB’s second Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative clean power investment to reach financial close in Alberta.

“I am truly pleased to see such incredible support from the CIB for the Tilley Solar Project. Economic reconciliation starts with action, and this is an amazing step in the right direction towards a brighter future for our province. This project will provide immense economic benefit to Alexander First Nation, creating jobs and long-term economic stability. Prosperity for Indigenous communities across Alberta is vital to ensure we all move forward together, and investments in projects like these is an amazing example of such work. I tip my cap to all the important work that went into this, and I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition,” said Rick Wilson, Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations.

Featured image: Tilley solar site in Newell, Alberta (CNW Group/Canada Infrastructure Bank)

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