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Successful solar pilot at CF Chinook Centre project paves way for lower carbon future

October 6, 2022  By Staff


An innovative solar pilot by ENMAX Power and Cadillac Fairview (CF) has successfully addressed an exporting challenge affecting similar electricity grids across North America, paving the way for increased customer choice while building a lower carbon future.

The pilot, which began construction in early 2021 with funding from Natural Resources Canada and Alberta Innovates, involved installing 1,900 solar photovoltaic panels atop CF Chinook Centre spanning 53,000 square feet, approximately the size of three professional hockey rinks. Not only are those panels generating electricity, they are exporting excess energy back to the grid – a first for specialized secondary networks which supply power to dense urban settings including downtown Calgary.

“The success of this pilot is an exciting step forward in enabling customers on our secondary network to adopt renewable energy options such as solar and battery storage,” said Jana Mosley, President ENMAX Power. “This innovative solution will give urban customers – both in Calgary and potentially across North America – more choice in how they generate and use electricity while maintaining a safe, reliable grid.”

Most parts of Calgary’s electrical system are capable of two-way power flow and customers are eligible for credits for electricity they export back to the grid. Up until now, that hasn’t been possible for customers in high-density areas like some shopping malls and downtown. That’s because they get their power from an interconnected web of transformers, known as a secondary network, which provides high reliability but wasn’t capable of exporting power.

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ENMAX Power set out to change that. ENMAX Power and CF announced their partnership in April 2021 as the first on-site customer implementation to test the two-way technology at CF Chinook Centre, Calgary’s latest retail complex. The network’s highly specialized hardware, software and communications systems were carefully modified to facilitate two-way power flow while maintaining system safety and reliability.

“This groundbreaking initiative marks an exciting turning point in Cadillac Fairview’s corporate sustainability journey and our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint,” said Karen Jalon, Vice President, Sustainability, Energy and Smart Technology, Cadillac Fairview. “Through our partnership with ENMAX, we’re able to make collaborative and impactful environmental change that will help to efficiently power neighbouring communities moving forward.”

ENMAX Power will continue monitoring and reviewing the results of the pilot this year with a goal to make the technology more available to customers on the secondary network going forward.


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