Canada’s largest solar rooftop became operational in early 2010. Located in Mississauga, just outside Toronto, it is the first system that feeds electricity into the Ontario power grid under the high profile provincial Feed-In Tariff program.
In this multi-part case study, we will look at the pioneering system’s design and installation, hardware components, Feed-In Tariff program application, financial analysis, its effect on the corporate culture, and some of the surprises.
Let us begin with a project overview. The new 50,000 square foot building is a customer call centre of LoyaltyOne, operator of the popular Air Miles reward program used by approximately two-thirds of all Canadian households.
The building’s construction was completed in Fall 2009. About 300 call centre employees work at the facility, in addition to other support staff. The building’s landlord is Bentall. RESCo Energy, a local renewable energy services firm, was retained by LoyaltyOne as the main contractor for the solar system.
The solar system consists of two parts. Spanning the entire rooftop is the rooftop solar array (see photo). This part has 711 photovoltaic solar panels that generate electricity into the Ontario provincial power grid.
At the building’s adjacent carport is the carport solar array (see photo). This part has 80 photovoltaic solar panels that also feed electricity into the power grid. In addition, it also has 4 thermal solar panels located at the top centre of the array (partly shown in photo). These panels preheat incoming water as it enters the building’s water heater.
Together, the solar panels form a system with a nameplate capacity of 165 kW, which, according to LoyaltyOne, is currently the largest solar rooftop system in Canada. This title, however, might not stand much longer as there are a great number of solar systems currently under construction in Ontario and are expected to be part of the provincial Feed-In Tariff program. (See earlier post Ontario Feed-In Tariff Program: $8 billion of Deals So Far.)
That’s a quick overview. If you or your company is in the process of installing similar systems or is considering doing so, be sure check out the later parts of this case study. We will talk to Debbie Baxter, Chief Sustainability Officer at LoyaltyOne and Kevin Monsour, Vice President of Partner Development at RESCo Energy and get into the behind-the-scenes details on the system, including design and installation, hardware components, Feed-In Tariff program application, financial analysis, and other interesting aspects … stay tuned. In the meantime, check out this featured video put together by Energy Management Canada on this pioneering project.
Photos courtesy of RESCo Energy.