The City of Summerside has partnered with international tech giant Samsung to test a
massive solar energy battery.
Summerside Mayor Bill Martin shakes hands with Steve Cho, president of Samsung Renewable Energy, during an announcement
at Credit Union Place Thursday.
The pilot programs’ proponents are touting it as a first in Canada.
Samsung Renewable Energy Inc. and city made the announcement Thursday. The project will coincide
with a solar energy project the city had previously announced for Credit Union Place (CUP) in an effort to
shrink the facility’s massive electrical bill. The city pays more than $380,000 annually to power the facility
and the battery and solar panels are expected to save the CUP a little more than $100,000 annually.
Thursday’s announcement was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a string of people from P.E.I.
to Korea, where Samsung is based, said Summerside Mayor Bill Martin. “This was a year in the
making … our agreement for this project is 510 pages long, for Phase I. So it took a lot of work,
a lot of back and forth. So I would say (I’m) a combination of extremely excited, proud and relieved,”
Other Samsung Renewable Energy Inc. projects going on in Canada
Martin also said that this is phase one in what could be a three-part project with Samsung. It all
depends on how this initial pilot project goes, but the two parties have signed a memorandum of
understanding regarding all three phases. Phase one involves constructing a shipping container-sized
battery and integrating it into CUP’s electric system. The battery will be fed power from 1,300
solar panels the city plans to build on a portion of the facility’s current parking lot. The battery
will store excess energy and pump it into the building during peak use hours. To accommodate
the build, one of the outdoor beach volleyball courts will be moved. The city does not expect to lose
any parking spaces as a result of the solar panels. Phase 2, if it happens, will include the construction
of a new solar/wind farm. This phase would bump the percentage of electricity the city gets from
renewable sources from 46 per cent to 70 per cent. Phase three would include investment in more electric
pilot projects, such as infrastructure for electric vehicles and a smart grid system. Martin said he expects
Phase 1 to be completed sometime this fall. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is providing $1.5 million
to the battery project, as is the city, for a total of $3 million in public funding. Steve Cho,
president of Samsung Renewable Energy Inc., said Thursday that his company has been welcomed
graciously into Summerside and they are looking forward to getting to work. “Summerside has the
great potential to evolve into the best smart grid community in Canada,” said Cho.
“We believe that Summerside is the right place to adopt more emerging technology and build energy infrastructure
on the community scale. “Today’s announcement is the first step towards achieving this great vision … and
we are very excited to enter into the more refined design stage of the project.”