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A Canadian band government has launched development of a 100 megawatt solar facility that, when completed, will stand as one of the top 10 renewable energy sources in Canada. 

The Ocean Man First Nation, a band government between Assiniboine, Cree, and Saulteaux tribes, has partnered with Greenwood Sustainable Infrastructure (GSI,) a clean energy subsidiary of global business conglomerate Libra Group. Together, the two organizations will develop and eventually manage a solar project titled Iyuhána Solar, or Iyuhána. 

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The project has started off with support from local utility provider SaskPower through a power purchase agreement. While the GSI statement did not disclose the amount of the agreement, the organization writes that the agreement is the largest such utility contract in Canada since 2015. All told, the two partners in the Iyuhána project plan to invest $200 million to construct the solar facility. 

“We are proud to bring the transformative power of solar energy to Saskatchewan by working with partners such as Ocean Man First Nation,” Mazen Turk, CEO of GSI, said in a statement. “This unique collaboration shows the power of renewable energy to harness resources and empower communities responsibly. This work is core to our ethos as a Libra company, and we look forward to continuing to help support a clean energy future across Canada and beyond.”

The solar facility will provide enough electricity to power the equivalent of roughly 25,000 homes. As a founding partner, the Ocean Man First Nation will have an ownership stake in Iyuhána. Tribal members will receive solar maintenance training as well as employment opportunities. Iyuhána will also support scholarships, internships, and research projects in pursuit of clean energy solutions in Saskatchewan.  

“Our partnership with GSI and SaskPower will bring great opportunities for Ocean Man First Nation, including employment and revenue that will provide stability and sustainability for our Band,” Chief Connie Big Eagle, Ocean Man First Nation, said in a statement. “We are proud that this project, which is able to generate clean power, will be known as Iyuhána Solar, which, in Nakotah translates to ‘everyone’ or ‘all of us.’ This is derived from our Nakotah belief that everyone and everything is related and therefore we must care for each other.”

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