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.”
Solar farm will be installed at Credit Union Place
The federal government has stepped in with some money for a large solar energy project on P.E.I.
ACOA is providing a grant of $1.5 million for a solar energy gathering and storage system at Credit Union Place, the major sports
facility in Summerside.
The project will reduce the city’s reliance on carbon-based energy production.
“The city of Summerside’s Smart Storage demonstration project is an excellent example of the sort of innovative solutions that
will drive our economy into the future,” said Navdeep Bains, the federal minister responsible for ACOA, in a news release.
The total cost of the project has been previously estimated at $3 million, and the city has said it is willing to contribute $1.5 million,
because it expects to save about $100,000 a year in energy costs.
The solar panels would go on green space behind CUP. There had been previous discussion of placing some of the panels in a parking lot,
which would have cost about 10 parking spaces, but that idea has since been dropped.
Gaudet said it’s difficult to have a clear estimate on costs right now because the costs of solar panels have
changed so much recently. He said generally speaking, the panels could cost between $1.2- 1.5 million.
He said that’s $2.40/watt, and overall this project would be about 600 kilowatts.
There will also be the battery system aspect of the project, and Gaudet said there is no estimate for that right now.
Mayor Bill Martin said this project could be a done deal by next summer
Mayor Bill Martin said this initiative is part of a bigger plan.
“Our long term plan is to have somewhere in the neighbourhood about a 15 megawatt solar farm,” said Martin.
“Obviously it won’t be located anywhere near downtown Summerside, but it will be connected to our grid system,
which would get us up to about 70 per cent green energy.”
Martin believes this initial project will be in the works next year.