First Solar And Electrical Storage Facility Opens in Summerland

November 17, 2023

The storage system will enable peak shaving which will eliminate short-term demand spikes and lower peak loads, reducing the overall cost of demand charges.

SUMMERLAND – A joint venture between Wildstone Construction Group and Skyfire Energy has given Summerland its first utility-scale solar facility, that will enable the municipality to generate and store its electricity.

The multi-phased project was a joint venture utilized battery components from EVLO Energy Storage Inc. (EVLO), a subsidiary of Hydro Quebec. Civil construction was completed by  Okanagan contractor Chute Creek, and electrical interconnection and controls were completed by Struthers Technical Solutions Ltd. of Penticton.

“On behalf of the Wildstone/Skyfire Joint Venture team, it has been an honour to work with the District of Summerland and ATCO in the development, design, and construction of the Summerland Solar+Storage Project,” says Matt Simard, Director of Corporate Development for Wildstone. “This is a historic project – the first of its kind in the province. We commend the District for its forward approach to sustainability.

“Our team appreciates being selected and trusted to implement this project and we look forward to working with the District of Summerland again.”

The opening of the new facility marks a significant step toward a more sustainable and eco-friendly future for the District of Summerland, one of five BC.municipalities to own its electrical utility. By generating power locally, the community can reduce direct energy and peak demand fees, and increase the resiliency of their power grid.

The project has successfully integrated solar power capacity and battery energy storage system technology to extend the system’s output into the hours when energy demand is highest.

The project utilized 80 percent local construction labour and Canadian-based manufacturing for the solar PV racking (Polar Racking) and the battery energy storage system (provided by EVLO). The facility was secured using a geo-ballast system that anchors the array to the ground utilizing local boulders and rocks, which helped minimize the carbon intensity of the project.

The Summerland facility features a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) capable of grid forming, peak shaving, and ancillary services, which will eliminate short-term demand spikes and lower peak loads, reducing overall demand costs. The project’s control strategy was tailored to ensure a seamless integration into the microgrid control system.

“It has been an exciting journey to be a part of this project,” says Landon Aldridge, Vice President of Operations for SkyFire. “I first sat in on the funding announcement presentation back in 2018. So, to have the opportunity to actually build this exciting project is pretty special. “Kudos to the District of Summerland for having the vision to incorporate such a unique project into their Utility. This is a great example for other Municipal-owned utilities to follow. Congratulations to the Wildstone, EVLO, Westpark, and Chute Creek teams, as well as the other consultants and partners on a successful project.”

By Mark MacDonald

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