Altona Towns microgrid community in Pickering officially opened

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Published November 16, 2021 at 1:39 pm

A new microgrid community in west Pickering is giving new homeowners more choice and control over their electricity production and consumption.

The Independent System Electricity Operator (IESO), Opus One Solutions, Elexicon Energy and Marshall Homes have partnered to create the Altona Towns community – 27 homes that comprise a fully integrated microgrid. With about 35,000 new residential homes built in Ontario each year, the project will demonstrate how microgrids can benefit homeowners while reducing the amount of electricity needed from the grid, helping make the provincial electricity system more affordable for all Ontarians.

“Pickering is growing and that means growing electricity needs,” said Lesley Gallinger, President and CEO of the IESO. “This microgrid community represents the future of residential development, showing how communities can be built in away that reduces costs for homeowners, improves grid resiliency, and helps us as the system operator manage the provincial grid more cost-effectively.”

The project works through the coordinated use of solar panels, electric vehicle chargers, and energy storage which let homeowners save money and reduce emissions while demonstrating how microgrids can defer investments in traditional electricity infrastructure.

“Local microgrid communities like this one are just the type of innovation we need in Ontario to help us meet our future energy needs,” said Energy Minister Todd Smith.

Many communities across Ontario are increasingly looking at emerging technologies in the electricity sector to achieve economic and environmental goals. Funded by the IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund, this project will demonstrate how communities, local hydro companies and developers can work together to create cleaner and more energy-efficient housing developments.

For residents living in the microgrid community, the use of solar panels and battery storage will allow them to reduce energy costs by supplying their own power needs. It also can provide another option to improve the resiliency of the local electricity grid when faced with extreme weather, providing backup power if there is an outage.

Each home in the community Altona Towns houses come equipped with a 250 kW/500 kWh battery; 25 kW of rooftop solar; one electric vehicle charger; smart panels in the home enabling the microgrid to limit power to critical usage during islanded operation; and real-time visibility into home end-uses for customers via a Sense Home Energy Monitor.

“Elexicon Energy is proud to be a part of this historic microgrid project and to partner with like-minded thought-leaders in the energy sector,” said Indy Butany-DeSouza, the CEO of Elexicon Energy. “Altona Towns in Pickering is just the beginning

of what can be offered to customers in the future.”

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