Celebrating One Year of Alternative Energy
Last July, EQUS opened the doors to our new Corporate Office in Innisfail and shortly after that we switched on our innovative alternative energy system. The decision to include the energy system in the construction of the building was rooted in a desire to create value and sustainability for EQUS members and our community.
The system consists of a 55-kilowatt ground-mounted solar array that takes advantage of over 2,000 hours of annual sunlight, a 15-kilowatt battery to store excess electricity generated during peak times, and a highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP) system which generates both power and heat. A smart building management system integrates these elements to optimize the generation, storage, and usage for maximum efficiency. Excess heat from the CHP is recycled through a sidewalk melt system in the winter months reducing maintenance costs.
Long-term projections for the system expect to see a 95 per cent reduction in grid power used, a 59 per cent cost savings on utilities, and a 31 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Since the system came online in September, 2020, EQUS has seen a carbon footprint reduction equivalent to 400 trees planted, with 70 tonnes of CO2 saved. We have also exported over 70,000 kW to the grid, receiving over $5,000 in credits.
The system also includes an electric vehicle (EV) charging station which has seen steadily increasing traffic, providing over 275 charges to EVs travelling Highway 2. Visitor feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with many drivers commenting on how they enjoy charging their vehicles in the shadow of the 140 solar panels that are connected to the charger. The charger is part of the Flo Network, that allows users to leave in-app feedback including these comments:
“Big thank you to EQUS for the charge! Powered by an awesome solar farm on a beautiful sunny day.”
“Beautiful solar powered charger!”
“This charger is getting popular! there were 3 EVs there at the same time today. 2 Konas and my egolf.”
The installation of the EV charger was supported in part by the Town of Innisfail, and Natural Resources Canada provided funding to cover approximately 25 per cent of the total energy system project cost.