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If you live or work in the north, there is a high probability that you're relying on diesel fuel to generate your electricity.

Indeed, the vast majority of nearly 200,000 Canadians who live in off-grid or remote communities rely on diesel generation for the production of electricity, except for a few local  hydro  grid-tied  communities  in  the Yukon,  Northwest  Territories  and  Quebec.

The impacts of relying on diesel consumption are threefold.

Economically, the cost of diesel is high and fluctuating making electricity expensive (ranging from $0.30 to $2.60/kWh).

Environmentally, the use of diesel for electricity production inherently causes greenhouse gas emissions and localized air pollution, (4.6 vs. 2.6 tons of CO2e per capita).

Socially, load capacities limit the growth and economic potential of communities, not to mention the health and well-being of residents from the invasive noise and air pollution emissions.

Renewable energy option

Companies such as Canadian Energy are revolutionizing how off-grid communities generate electricity with the delivery of renewable energy options such as solar energy.

The Canadian-owned and operated company is a leader in the distribution of batteries, power management, power conversion, circuit protection and renewable energy products. Its expertise in stored energy helped power the world’s first off-grid aircraft hangar.

The innovative pilot project at the Brantford Municipal Airport in Ontario was a collaborative joint-venture between Canadian Energy, Legacy Building Solutions and Solar Ship Inc. and recognized in May by the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) as a Game Changer of the Year solar PV project.

Solar needs storage

Canadian Energy's senior engineer, Huang Iu, explains how the company's expertise in battery energy storage can be applied in remote, off-grid settings. 

"A solar inverter’s main job is to convert DC power generated from the array into usable AC power,” says Iu, “but inverters for grid-tied applications can only provide power based on what the array can immediately generate from the sun.”

"Solar PV cannot just be connected to a diesel generator or local distribution system and be expected to work immediately," he says.

In an off-grid application, batteries combined with a battery based inverter/charger and solar array convert stored energy from the batteries and create a microgrid so that while the sun is shining, the solar array charges the battery bank and when it’s not, the stored energy is providing power.

Containerized universal battery

TheBrantford project illustrates beautifully how solar and stored energy combine to deliver an affordable and renewable alternative to diesel generators.

The off-grid 40,000 square foot hangar features a 50 kW solar PV rooftop system, integrated directly onto its roofing. The energy storage, power conversion and control systems are packaged in standard 10-foot shipping containers.

Iu says “the idea of a container to house the energy storage, power conversion and control systems came about in understanding the unique challenges of accessing remote locations, not to mention sending equipment and a workforce to install it.”

The containerized universal battery, or CUB, is a turnkey solution that can be shipped anywhere in the world and, once delivered, requires very little labour to get the system online and producing energy.

Most of Canada’s 292 remote communities are electrified by diesel generators, according to Natural Resources Canada.

The transition from diesel generation to renewable energy has begun with a demand for expertise, innovative products and integrated solutions.

To learn how Canadian Energy can help in your next renewable energy project, contact Ryan Magee, Renewable Program Manager, at (905) 716-2583 or RMagee@cdnrg.com.

For more information on Canadian Energy and its products, click here.


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