Ileah Mattice & Rhonda McIsaac —

On August 18th, the day before the Haida Heritage Centre’s anniversary, youth from Hiit’aganiina Kuuyas Naay Skidegate Youth Centre were invited to learn about solar panels and how to install them on an art project at Kay Llnagaay.

The solar array project, known as Jiigawaay Naay Unguu Sun on Top of the House, which is providing electricity to the Haida Heritage Centre was unveiled at the Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay Anniversary on August 19, 2017. Installed on four south-facing roof tops are 385 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels capable of producing 100 kilowatts of energy, and, it’s the largest First Nation-owned community solar project in BC!

In addition to this large array on the Centre’s roof, an art project was designed to complement the buildings architecture, and in front of the far building, near the museum, lays, what looks like part of a longhouse roof laying on the ground. The SolArt installation is designed to look as if a longhouse had “toppled” over with one side still supported. The art is the work of Arthur Pearson of Tanu Wood Products Enterprises who designed, built and installed the piece.

Following instruction on how the solar panels worked, the youth assisted in the installation of the 12 panels that finished off the art work. Once the panels were placed, the youth noticed a space in the middle that had no panels and were curious as to why?

The project wouldn’t be complete until two more pieces of art were added; Sea lions on a white background, hand drawn and designed by Jaada Xamjuu Tristan Gravelle and hand painted by Jaada X̲amjuu and friends, was fixed to the “toppled” roof. The second piece is an etched glass design by Gwaai Edenshaw. This piece will be backlit with LED lights so you can see the design, Raven Stealing the Light, at night as well.

W Dusk Energy Group Inc. also installed a solar powered projector. The energy that is collected by the panels throughout the day is used to project the Skidegate Band Council logo of an eagle and raven on to the walls of the Haida Heritage Centre at night!

Photos: Haida Laas/Rhonda Lee McIsaac

Brett Freake; Community Planner with W Dusk Energy Group explains how solar panels work and how the youth from the Skidegate Youth Centre will be assisting in the placing of the panels.

Hudson Mclellan putting the panels into place.

Lining up the panels.

The old growth cedar frame.

Securing the panels.


Hiit’aganiina Kuuyas Naay (Skidegate Youth Centre) and the W Dusk Energy crew worked together to complete the center piece for the ‘toppled’ longhouse roof with a painted Sea Lion design.

Securing the last few panels.

Form and function meet on the shoreline with the SolArt installation near complete. Up close the solar panels reveal a nice ocean-blue colour that blends nicely in the landscape.

With a final push and pull the team gets the panels fit into the rectangular structure.

W Dusk Energy Group Inc. brought Farhan Umedaly; a videographer with VoVo Productions, who used a camera drone to take aerial shots of the Skidegate community and in particular the installation of the solar arrays. The youth celebrate the successful installation of the solar panels onto the SolArt piece. PC: VoVo Productions

Sea lions, a design by Jaada Xamjuu Tristan Gravelle is framed by twelve solar panels that will be displayed for a year. “I was inspired” by the place and by other artists, says Jaada Xamjuu.

The completed art piece inlay, with cedar. View from the Kay Llnagaay.

The completed frame.

Categories: Clean Energy


Steve Charles · November 19, 2017 at 11:15 pm

The Haida nation is to congratulated on their farsightedness by installing large scale solar systems. It is the way of the future. More are needed along with battery storage.

Allan Richard Dampier · March 31, 2018 at 11:44 am

If the residents of Haida Gwaii are interested in a unique clean energy system, let me know.I tried to send a link to my Wavekiss website, but your spam filters are too blocking to allow it to be sent. Please respond by regular email if you need the direct link. Thanks Al

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