Toronto's Exhibition Place to Install Largest Solar System in Canada

Friday, January 6, 2006

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada, January 5, 2006 (ENS) - The City of Toronto is poised to install the largest solar power system in Canada on the roof of the Horse Palace at Exhibition Place.

Scheduled for completion in the spring, the 100 killowatt system is expected to reduce the facility's greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 94.7 metric tons per year.

Exhibition Place, located just west of downtown Toronto along the shores of Lake Ontario, holds large-scale world-class events, including the Canadian National Exhibition, the Molson INDY, the Caribana Parade, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and World Youth Dayon on its 192 acres of parkland. Each year, 5.2 million people visit the site.

The city has sent a letter of intent to buy the million dollar system from Carmanah Technologies Corporation of Victoria, British Columbia, a publicly traded company.

"We're extremely pleased to be selected as the technology partner for this very important solar power project," said Carmanah CEO Art Aylesworth. "Carmanah will provide Exhibition Place with a complete turn-key package as a model of sustainable energy for the City of Toronto."

Richard Morris, manager of the energy efficiency office at Exhibition Place, told the "Toronto Star" that if all goes well, Exhibition Place will expand the solar PV system to one megawatt or more in 2007. "What we'll end up doing is just covering that entire roof to the extent we can," he said.

Carmanah's solar power system will be tied to the electricity grid. It will use high-efficiency solar modules and a unique penetrationless tracking system. An educational lobby display will show the public how much power is being produced, give environmental conditions, and offer historical system performance data.

Toronto's Exhibition Place
Toronto's Exhibition Place will be the site of the largest solar power system in Canada this spring. Photo credit: City of Toronto.

Rob McMonagle, executive director of the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CANSIA), said the installation will help move Toronto toward a more sustainable future.

"Solar energy will play an important role as part of Ontario's future power generation," McMonagle said. "Toronto has a mandate for cleaner air and reduced dependence on fossil fuels. Carmanah's installation at Exhibition Place will show how rooftops across Canada can be efficiently utilized for sustainable electrical generation."

The Horse Palace project is being partly funded by grants from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund and the Green Municipal Fund.

CANSIA applauded the Toronto Atmospheric Fund and the City of Toronto for launching the project, and McMonagle said he expects "many municipalities to follow their example."

Aylesworth sees the project as a model for other communities to follow. "With the successful implementation of this project, we will also set an example to other cities striving to reach their renewable energy goals," he said.

Carmanah's core business has been solar-powered LED lighting systems for marine, transport and aviation clients. Municipalities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago and London have bought the company's systems for bus shelters instead of digging up streets to install electrical lines.

Last summer, Carmanah expanded into the broader solar market by acquiring Soltek Powersource Ltd., a supplier and manufacturer of larger solar systems. With Soltek under its corporate umbrella Carmanah was able to win the Exhibition Place project.

The solar system on the Horse Palace roof will join other renewable energy systems operating at Exhibition Place, which is the location of the first city-sited wind turbine in Canada. A fuel cell demonstration project was introduced in 2003.

A 10 million kilowatt trigeneration project is planned in partnership with the Toronto Atmospheric Fund. Trigeneration is the simultaneous production of cooling, heating and power, in one process. The project is expected to provide an annual reduction of 7,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Exhibition Place's goal is to become energy self-sufficient by 2010, and ultimately to become a net exporter of clean electricity.

The Board of Governors of Exhibition Place says it is "committed to advancing the environmental agenda to make Exhibition Place a showcase" within the City of Toronto to promote sustainable development and emergent green technologies in partnership with the private sector and climate change agencies.