CBJ attends pioneering green energy event


July 6 marked the ribbon-cutting of the largest solar installation project in the Greater Toronto Area—and it’s community-owned! The SolarShare WaterView Project features a 438 kW system covering 2.5 acres of the rooftop of the Daimler Buses North America Ltd. manufacturing facility near Lake Ontario in Mississauga.

VIP guests Ontario Minister of Labour Charles Sousa and Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion cut the ceremonial ribbon on the project to the applause of onlookers and supporters. Guests participated in afternoon rooftop solar tours led by SolarShare Renewable Energy Co-op (system owners), technology providers Uni-Solar, installers Advanced Green Technologies (AGT) and roof hosts Daimler Buses.

WaterView is the largest of 18 solar power installations in Ontario that form the SolarShare Co-operative portfolio, totalling over 600kW of capacity and representing over $3 million of investment. SolarShare goes to market later this month with community solar bonds, allowing all Ontario residents and businesses to become members and invest in solar through the co-op.

“This landmark event is a precedent-setting example of community and commercial collaboration in clean energy development,” pronounced Mike Brigham, President of SolarShare and Chair of the TREC Renewable Energy Co-operative, the organization that incubated the SolarShare co-op. “The WaterView project has brought together cutting-edge technology, industry-leading design and local human resources in a project that allows residents in Mississauga and across the province to invest in, and benefit from, clean solar power.”

Judith Lipp, Executive Director of TREC, agreed. “TREC established the first renewable energy co-op in Ontario when over 400 citizens pooled their funds to build the iconic WindShare turbine at Exhibition Place. SolarShare is the next evolution of community-owned power in Ontario. It exemplifies what the Green Energy Act and the Feed-in-Tariff program were designed to enable—profitable businesses generating green energy and green returns to the community.”

“Uni-Solar is proud to be a part of this important and unique Ontario rooftop solar project, partnering with TREC SolarShare as system owner and Daimler Buses as site host,” said Christopher Bala of United Solar. “We have deployed our innovative PowerTilt system, which enables a high yield output from the solar array while limiting weight and impact to the roof structure. We expect this to be the first of many Uni-Solar systems on large commercial and institutional rooftops throughout Ontario.”

Added Graham Smith, Executive Vice-President of AGT Solar, “AGT and our Canadian subsidiary AGT Solar have installed many rooftop solar projects around the world, but this project stands out and is special. We are proud to have played a small part, and congratulate Solarshare, UniSolar and Daimler for their visionary commercial and community partnership.”