Energy Conversion Devices and Enfinity are going to collaborate on a 10MW portfolio of rooftop solar installations in Ontario, Canada. They made the announcement in February and they are currently developing the plan. ECD (Energy Conversion Devices) will provide it’s new PowerTilt product and will combine this with UNI-SOLAR photovoltaic laminates. They will present this through United Solar Ovonic, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of ECD. On it’s part, Enfinity will lead the rooftop acquisition and will arrange construction debt and take-out equity financing for the projects. Enfinity is based in Ottawa. After completion of the project and it is in commercial operation, the projects portfolio will be sold to the permanent equity owners. This might be a sweet deal.

ECD’s PowerTilt product can be installed on any roof type, is very light weight and has higher energy production. This project will be on many different roofing materials so this makes the PowerTilt product the best choice. On the business end, ECD will also provide development equity during the construction phase of the projects.

This project is being done under Ontarios’ new feed-in-tariff program. The companies expect to complete construction of approximately 10MW of projects during calendar 2010.

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In Canada and in the United States there are more people talking about adding “smarts” to the power grid. This would mean investing in modernizing the infrastructure and expanding it as well. As a recent example, Google has teamed up with GE in a plan to develop a smart grid. Since there has been so little investment of time or money in the power grid infrastructure, all of this is for the better. If we want to tap the full potential of renewable energy and make the best of conservation methods then this upgrade of the grid is a must. We need a flexible and controllable grid that allows for demand management.

From what I’ve read about it, it seems that the power on the grid is flowing and it will always move towards and through the path of least resistance. What we really need are devices that allow us to use the capacity of the grid more efficiently with less waste and make the grid overall easier to manage as renewables are introduced. The devices that are currently available are called FACTs (Flexible AC Transmission devices) and they are easier to manage and they allow for a grid where distributed generation is growing.

Someone in Canada has come up with a new kind of FACT that can be “retro” fitted to existing grid equipment. This will make this option much more economical for conservative utilties who cannot afford the time and expense of a complete makeover or the introduction of entirely new equipment. I know this is kind of boring compared to building huge wind farms and constructing solar domes, but such basic engineering devices and inventions are the solutions to our real world problems right now.

In the tedious, working world of upgrading to renewable energy and encouraging the conservation of resources, the swift development, testing and introduction of these sorts of retro devices are necessary. We must add significant amounts of renewable energy to the north American power grid and the faster we do that the better. This is something that has been talked about and to a small extent toyed with, but very little has ever been done in reality. It is time for changes in this area and any idea or invention that pushes this along at a faster rate is truly priceless. If we are going to change our world for the better, it will have to happen in this way.

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