Portlands Energy Centre to be site of Canada's largest solar energy research facility
The University of Toronto (U of T), Arise Technologies and the Portlands Energy Centre (PEC) have joined forces to create Canada's largest solar research facility, to be built at the PEC site on Toronto's waterfront. Under a three-party agreement, PEC will provide land worth about $2.4 million, while Arise will design and install a solar power system incorporating high-efficiency photovoltaic (PV) cell technology developed by the company and U of T.
U of T students and Arise staff will also use the facility to conduct research on renewable energy systems and technologies. This will help develop the utilization of PV systems for commercial and utility-scale systems.
The solar park, representing a total investment of between $5 and $8 million, will create between 500 kilowatts and 1 megawatt (MW) of solar energy, enough to meet the needs of up to 1,000 homes. The project is expected to be installed in late 2008 or early 2009.
The PEC site is an ideal location for the project: its urban setting is close to the university, has access to transmission lines and offers a large tract of land with an unobstructed southern exposure.
Later this year, Arise will issue a community-based share offering that will allow residents to participate in the project. Standard Offer Contract details with the Ontario Power Authority and government officials regarding permits have not been finalized.
"We are very pleased to be involved with this and will use this project as a large-scale deployment of our high efficiency PV cells," said Arise president and CEO Ian MacLellan. "We expect that the cells used in modules for this project will be produced by one of our partner companies. This project will provide an opportunity for our systems group to study and optimize implementation of large-scale systems for deployment in Ontario," he continued.
"This is an excellent opportunity for our students to get first-hand exposure to commercial-scale solar electric systems," said U of T photovoltaics professor Nazir Kherani. Reza Iravani, an energy systems professor at the university, added that "the facility will provide a research venue for large-scale, grid-connected photovoltaic systems."
The PEC is a high-efficiency, combined-cycle, natural gas-fuelled generation plant designed to meet downtown Toronto's urgent need for electricity. The facility is expected be operational in simple cycle mode and delivering electricity to the city in the summer of 2008. When completed in 2009, the plant will provide up to 550 MW of power, about 25% of central Toronto's needs. PEC is a limited partnership of Ontario Power Generation and TransCanada Energy, a subsidiary of TransCanada Corporation.
Arise Technologies, based in Kitchener, Ont is dedicated to accelerating the use of solar energy in mainstream North American markets.
More information is available from Ian MacLellan at Arise, 519/725-2244, FAX 519/725-8907, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, Web site www.arisetech.com, or from Ted Gruetzner at the PEC, 416/592-3867.