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Innovative Approaches to Electric Renewables in the Region of Peel

Michael M.D. Ross
RER Renewable Energy Research

Full Text Report
Peel Region Corporate Energy Group

Acknowledgements:

This investigation was conducted on behalf of The Regional Municipality of Peel, which kindly consented to its publication on this web site.

Citation:

Ross, Michael M. D. Innovative Approaches to Electric Renewables in the Region of Peel. Report to The Regional Municipality of Peel. Montréal, Qc.: RER Renewable Energy Research, 2008.

Summary:

Through a number of existing and planned projects, the Region of Peel has demonstrated its commitment to minimizing the negative impacts associated with its use of energy. A number of these projects have involved photovoltaics and other renewable energy systems. While these technologies are not strictly cost-effective at present, the market created by projects today, such as those undertaken by the Region, encourages the long-term investment in manufacturing capacity and expertise necessary to make these technologies financially attractive in the future. In this way, the Region of Peel is leading by example.

Recently the Region has sought new opportunities to expand its leadership role. One possibility is to showcase innovative uses of renewable energy technologies, demonstrating either how to reduce the cost of electricity generated by renewables or how to enhance the benefits associated with renewable generation. As an early adopter of these approaches, the Region of Peel would be opening up new avenues for the application of renewable energy technology.

Part A of this report examines various innovative ways that photovoltaics could be used in the facilities of the Region of Peel. It is hoped that this will assist the Region in identifying opportunities to apply these innovative approaches in the future. This section also serves as a background to Part B, which studies the innovations that could be applied to one particular facility, the Integrated Waste Management Facility.

Although wind energy systems were not excluded from the options examined in this study, few potential innovative applications of wind energy systems were identified. Photovoltaic systems provided more fertile ground. This contrast arises from two characteristics of PV not shared by wind energy systems: first, they are modular DC building blocks (whereas wind is generally AC or a DC system specifically designed to function with low voltage batteries); and second, their output is positively correlated with peak electrical utility demand in the Toronto area, due to the correlation of sunshine and air-conditioning loads (no such correlation exists with wind power).

Excluded from this report are innovations regarding the way photovoltaic arrays are installed, interconnected, or mounted. These innovations are generally apparent through the products or packaged solutions offered by equipment suppliers. The system level optimizations presented here, on the other hand, are rarely exploited by equipment suppliers, who are generally not even aware that these opportunities exist.