Victoria Company Will Build Canada's Largest Solar Project

Friday, March 2, 2007

A Victoria company has been awarded a contract by the federal government to build the largest solar power project in Canada.

Carmanah Technologies Corp. (TSX:CMH) confirmed yesterday it will begin erecting a 108-kilowatt solar power system on the roof of a federal building in Charlottetown, P.E.I. starting May 1.

The contract with Public Works and Government Services Canada is worth $1.42 million and will eclipse the capacity of a 100-kilowatt system that Carmanah installed at Exhibition Place in Toronto last year.

Richard Wayte, Carmanah's project lead, said in an interview from Vancouver the array of 539 solar modules on the Jean Canfield Building will measure 148 feet long and 54 feet wide.

It is designed to supply an estimated 10 per cent of the power the building will require, added Wayte.

The project is expected to be complete July 1.

The four-storey building, which will house 500 civil servants in downtown Charlottetown, is still under construction. The federal government wants to achieve gold certification under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, and solar power is one step in that direction, said Wayte.

Carmanah's system will include web-based monitoring technology that will provide live content to a lobby display, enabling workers and visitors to view the system's energy generation performance in real time. A similar system was included with the Exhibition Place contract.

Carmanah, which has been designing and manufacturing solar lighting and signs for more than a decade, has found itself thrust further into the spotlight as provincial and federal governments grasp for green initiatives.

"I've been doing solar power for 13 years and we've done a lot of `small` systems," said Wayte.

"Now there is interest in the bigger systems, and we're obviously happy about that.

"We want to be the pioneers. We want to get these systems out there and show people how they work."

Shares in Carmanah rose five per cent, or 16 cents, on the news, to close to $3.36 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

For a web camview of the Jean Canfield Building, click