Hydropower, Solar

Canadian Government Supports New Solar Company

The Canadian government will provide a grant of almost $1 million to develop a new solar energy company.

TORONTO, Ontario, CA, 2001-05-22 <SolarAccess.com> The federal government will contribute $925 000 for the commercialization of a solar water heating system to be developed by EnerWorks and a manufacturer of pumps. The money will come from the department of Natural Resources Canada and the Technology Early Action Measures component of the Climate Change Action Fund. EnerWorks will receive $750 000 while the Canadian pump manufacturer will receive $175,000. EnerWorks will obtain private financing for the remainder of the $4 million project. The pump manufacturer in the project has yet to be determined. “Heating water accounts for 20 percent of a home’s energy needs and produces about two tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually,” says NRCan minister Ralph Goodale. “Solar water heaters can reduce these emissions by 40 to 50 percent. This project will make solar water heaters more economically feasible for the average consumer, helping to address climate change and create jobs.” In total, residential water heaters in Canada emit 15 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year. EnerWorks will develop a solar water heating system that is more affordable than systems currently in use. The first 100 residential systems will be installed by this summer with the help of Toronto Hydro, Guelph Hydro and Kingston Hearthmakers. The installed system will cost less than C$2,000, and the units to be installed in three cities will reduce carbon emissions by 100 tonne in the first year and aggregating 522,000 tonnes over ten years. EnerWorks expects to sell more than 100,000 units over the next decade and will create 155 new jobs in the next five years. The pump will use a technology that works under low water flow and pressure, so the tubing can be thinner, the pump can be smaller to circulate as little as 1 litre of heat transfer fluid per minute, and the solar absorber can be constructed with 40 percent less material. The system will have a controller and energy meter to monitor performance and energy savings, and the pump will use half the electricity of conventional units. Testing indicates that the EnerWorks unit can supply 7.18 kWh a day, which is half of a family’s daily hot water needs in Canada. “Projects like this demonstrate that Canadian companies are realizing the benefits of renewable energy to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring cleaner air and sustainable development,” adds federal environment minister David Anderson. “The government of Canada is pleased to support domestic actions that reduce greenhouse gases and address climate change.” Government funding for this project is funded through the federal $150 million Climate Change Action Fund established in the 1998 budget and extended for an additional three years in the 2000 budget. “At EnerWorks, we are focusing on providing innovative, clean energy solutions to homeowners,” explains Mike Noble, President and CEO of EnerWorks. “Following our commercialization next year, we will be offering a solar heating product that is priced to deliver solar energy at a rate competitive with Ontario residential energy rates. This is an exciting innovation in a market where renewable energy is priced at a premium.” EnerWorks is based in London, Ontario, and has been developing its solar technology since 1997. It says its partnerships with energy utilities will make a cost-competitive solar water-heating system commercially available. Export potential for the new unit exists in European and Asian markets, where the market for solar water heaters has increased by 20 percent per year in Germany, or 80,000 units each year. In China, the market has doubled to more than one million systems during the past decade. The federal Climate Change Action Fund provides $360 million to support projects that reduce GHG emissions, as well as increase understanding of climate change. The TEAM portion supports investments in technology projects to reduce emissions, while sustaining economic and social development.