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Solar Power

Dr. David Suzuki Public School - Solar Grid-tie SystemThe 38 kilowatt solar grid-tied photovoltaic system installed on the Dr. David Suzuki Public School was engineered and constructed by Canadian-based solar technologies company, Carmanah Technologies Corporation.

A solar grid-tie system uses roof-mounted solar panels to convert energy from the sun into usable electricity. The electricity generated by the system is synchronized with that of the local utility grid and fed back into general distribution. A separate utility meter is installed to track the energy production and system's owner is compensated for the renewable energy production via a transaction method called a Feed-In Tariff contract. In the case of the Dr. David Suzuki Public School, the annual energy production will equate to approximately 10 per cent of the School's total electricity needs.

The Feed-In-Tariff program operated by the Ontario Power Authority reimburses owners for their power production based on several capacity tranches with compensation ranging from $0.54/kWh to $0.80/kWh. The solar system installed on the Dr. David Suzuki Public School will receive $0.712/kWh and earn receive approximately $34,000 annually which will provide a simple payback in approximately ten years. Following this, the solar system will act as a revenue-generating tool for the Greater Essex County District School Board.

View the Solar Renewable Energy Monitoring Page.

Download the Photovoltaic Array Specification.

Carmanah Technologies CorporationRevenue generation aside, the Carmanah solar grid-tie photovoltaic system will also bring the Public School closer LEED Platinum certification. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized accreditation for sustainable building design, with Platinum-level representing the highest level of green design that a building can achieve. Once awarded, the Dr. David Suzuki Public School will represent the first public school in Canada to receive the environmental honour.

Carmanah's solar grid-tie PV system was incorporated early in the building design process; allowing the solar system to act as a functional power source as well as a visible representation of the school's commitment to sustainable practices. As visitors, staff and students enter the building, sustainable power generation in the form of a solar PV system are expected to inspire and teach the spirit of earth stewardship, which the School embodies. The 170-panel system design allows the panels to extend downwards, forming a canopy over the main entry of the building. The azimuth and slope of the solar array optimize solar production while also providing significant aesthetic value.

Greater Essex County District School Board