Solar panel project powered up in Regina Lane, an OCH community

An array of solar panels covering an area equal to five tennis courts on our Regina Lane townhomes is now powered up and connected to the grid.

Feb. 23, 2018 – Today, the provincial Minister of Energy, Glenn Thibeault was joined by OCH staff and our partners – Hydro Ottawa and SPARQ Systems Inc. – to announce the completion of a project that has been in the works since 2016.

Thanks to a contribution from the Smart Grid Fund, aimed at supporting projects that test, develop and bring to market the next generation of energy grid innovations, SPARQ Systems was able to access funding to develop special inverters that allow for variations on the grid.

Ottawa Community Housing was happy to provide a place for the project and accelerated plans to replace the roof on top of the 32 townhomes to make way for the solar panels.

OCH made an application to the province’s Feed-In-Tariff program to be able to connect the grid. Hydro Ottawa upgraded the transformers to accommodate the output from the panels. The labour and materials were donated by the utility company.

“As a community company, part of being a good partner and collaborator, means helping our customers achieve their green energy goals,” said Bryce Conrad, Hydro Ottawa President and CEO. “This solar array project between SPARQ and Ottawa Community Housing Corporation will not only help inform our understanding of Smart Grid infrastructure on our electricity grid; it will contribute city-wide to the betterment of the largest social housing provider in Ottawa. We are honoured to lend our time and expertise to this exciting project.”

The 640 solar panels will produce 200,000 kWh annually – enough to power 12 homes – and will generate $40,000 in revenue each year.

The lifespan of a solar panel is 20 years, which means the project will generate a total of $800,000, which will be reinvested into our communities.

“We are building more green, sustainable, affordable housing and continuously looking to improve our existing buildings, as part of our Eco2Plan,” said OCH CEO Stéphane Giguère. “It’s through partnerships like this that we will be able to achieve our goals and benefit our tenants. As the city’s largest social housing provider and a sector leader. It’s important for Ottawa Community Housing to find innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Pankaj Jain, Program Director for SPARQ, said the future is all about the intelligent grid.

“…And this project demonstrates how smart inverters and community collaboration can play a role in achieving this vision.”

The Regina Lane installation is one of 32 solar panel projects in OCH’s portfolio.

The other projects have a combined output 350,000 kWh and generate $300,000 annually, based on a rate of $0.8/kWh.

About OCH

Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) provides approximately 15,000 homes to over 32,000 tenants, including seniors, parents, children, couples, singles and persons with special needs, within many communities across the City of Ottawa. OCH houses a diverse population of varying languages, ethnicity and cultures. OCH is the largest social housing provider in Ottawa, managing two-thirds of the City’s social housing portfolio, and is the second largest in Ontario. In 2017, OCH celebrated its 15th anniversary.

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