Solar Canada Game Changer Award Winners

The CanSIA (Canadian Solar Industries Association) Game Changer Awards are given to companies and individuals who have helped position Canada as an international leader of the solar industry.

The awards, sponsored by Grasshopper Solar and presented at the 2017 Solar Canada Conference, are awarded by the aggregate points scored on a variety of criteria: Innovation of Approach, Economic Benefit, Stakeholder/Customer Engagement and Corporate and Sustainable Responsibility.

The judging panel was made up of active leaders in the Canadian renewable energy industry:

There were 25 nominees accepted in five categories and in addition to the corporate winners individual awards were presented by WiRE (Women in Renewable Energy) and ELSE (Emerging Leaders in Solar Excellence) to individuals that they believe exemplify the best attributes and futures of their respective organizations.

And…….The 2017 Solar Canada Game Change Award winners are:

Remote/Indigenous Solar Project
JAZZ Solar Solutions in partnership with Lac Des Mille Lacs First Nation

The Lac Des Mille Lacs Ontario First Nations (LDML) community has been using a 24/7 diesel generation system to meets its electrical needs along with propane to heat the community centre. In 2017 JAZZ Solar designed, constructed and implemented a Community Solar microGrid.

The microGrid will save the community an estimated $1,500,000 in fossil fuel consumption over 30 years with CO2 reduction of more than 1600 tonnes over the same time.

Aside from the financial and environmental benefits, the project is notable for it aesthetics and safety considerations. It is located in a spectacular natural setting adjacent to Lac des Mille Lacs. An 8 foot natural wood fence was constructed around the ground-mounted solar array to improve the visual impact the project and to protect children and wildlife from potential electrical hazards. In all aspects, this Game Changing project is a model for all remote/diesel communities in Canada.


Solar Developer of the Year
City of Toronto

In 2007 Toronto’s City Council approved a Climate Change Plan which set as a target an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050, with an appended direction for the City to “lead by example” by installing 24 MW of renewable energy by 2020.

The project portfolio consists of installations ranging in size from 3 kW to 500 kW, and includes a 10 kW ground-mounted solar carport. The total size of the FIT and microFIT portfolio is 10 MW DC. Plans for an additional 6 MW of large scale ground-mounted and rooftop net-metered systems are well underway. 

To help achieve these goals the City of Toronto and its Local Distribution Company, Toronto Hydro, are partnering to develop solar PV installations on City-owned facilities. While many municipalities retain LDCs to carry out solar installations on their buildings, they typically follow a standard design/build project model, with 100% municipal ownership. In this case, both partners are active participants in the entire construction and ongoing ownership process.

Current and contracted projects are generating GHG savings of 525,000 kg and revenues of $3.83 M annually. Planned projects should generate 300,000 kg of GHG reductions and $440K of electricity cost savings.


Smart Energy Innovation
Panasonic Eco Solutions Canada Inc.

The micro-grid Panasonic Eco built for the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Micro-grid Research and Innovation Park is a fully integrated micro-grid project  that encompasses an Energy Storage system and Solar PV generation system that connects with a natural gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generator.

The system combines a new Lithium-ion battery system and Solar PV system with an existing natural gas CHP generator.

One of the main considerations in designing and implementing the system is that a significant electric wind-tunnel in UOIT’s General Motors Center for Automotive Excellence draws 2.5MW of power, causing 90% power factor as a reactive load on the grid. This challenge led to the development of an innovative approach worked out in cooperation with the local utility, Oshawa Power.

While this complex system has many benefits, among the most significant is the students and faculty ability to use the micro-grid as a “living lab” and learn from use case scenarios. In turn this helps develop UOIT’s reputation as a centre of excellence for innovative technology, attracting further resources to the university.


Solar PV Project of the Year
Oxford Properties Group

To reach Oxford Property’s long term sustainability goals, they installed  a green roof on Toronto’s world-renowned Yorkdale Mall in 2012 and in 2017 added the integration of solar PV. 

As the ambient temperature of green roofs is much lower than traditional roof systems, the expected result is improved performance of the PV modules, and with over 230MWh of clean electricity generated annually, this project is equivalent to taking nearly 40 cars off the road every year.

During construction special attention was paid to mitigating the impact on the thousands of patrons who visit Yorkdale every day as well as the major consumer brands and retailers who are the mall’s tenants. With diligent logistical planning involving Oxford, Yorkdale, consultant Great Circle Solar and EPC RESCo Energy the project was completed on time, on budget, and with no business interruption.

On a continuing basis, to further engage patrons and tenants, a real-time view of the PV generation figures can be seen through Yorkdale monitoring displays.


Solar Service Excellence
Apricity Renewables Inc.

 Apricity Renewables Inc. (ARI) helps commercial and industrial clients manage costs and maximize value of their solar installations, focusing on Ontario and Alberta customers. As the Ontario solar market shifts from Feed-in-Tariffs to a Net-metering framework for Commercial & Industrial projects, the requirement for cost control is all the more pressing.

ARI was engaged to provide QA inspection and technical due diligence services for the purchase of 42 commercial rooftop solar projects.

In response they developed a mobile device application that could be filled out by in-field inspector to ensure a detailed 300+ point checklist was completed in a consistent manner across all sites.  The checklists and supporting photos could then be immediately uploaded to a cloud based server, for post-processing and approval by ARI’s Principal Engineer.

ARI estimates that the average downtime for the projects in this portfolio will be reduced by 8 hours/year as a result of critical deficiencies flagged and identified as part of the detailed automated QA inspection process.

Over the lifespan of the projects, this will result in an additional 450MWh of renewable energy being delivered to the Ontario power grid, saving approximately 250 Tonnes of CO2 emissions when compared against natural gas fired generation.


WiRE Woman of Distinction Award for Solar
Janice Ashworth, Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative

Partnered with CanSIA, Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE) presented the Woman of Distinction Award for Solar to Janice Ashworth, General Manager at the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative.

“This year marks the third year of the annual Solar Power Woman of Distinction Award,”, said Joanna Osawe, WiRE Co-Founder and Co-Chair. “Janice’s impressive track record was well received by the adjudication panel.”

All nominees are evaluated on their merits of excellence in leadership, advocacy, research and development, community engagement and efforts to increase the adoption of solar power technologies.

​“Janice’s valuable contribution to her community and to the solar sector more broadly is clear,” said Rebecca Black, WiRE Co-Founder. “She represents the  leadership that we need as we transition to a sustainable energy future, driven by strong diverse  perspectives”.


ELSE Emerging Solar Leader
Alexander Palkovsky

The ambition, energy and creativity of the Canada’s young solar professionals ensures our industry continues to move upward. ELSE’s Emerging Solar Leader award celebrates those new to our industry whom have contributed significantly to solar in 2017 and show promise to continue on as future leaders.

​After receiving many Emerging Solar Leader applications, ELSE awarded Alexander Palkovsky.

Alexander started his career in the solar energy industry in June of 2015 with Solar Flow Through Funds (“SFF”) after finishing his undergrad studies at the Ivey School of Business.

Over his two years and half years with SFF, Alexander brought 31 commercial rooftop projects from FIT contract award to COD, financed nearly $50MM of small FIT projects, and led SFF through the development of the company’s first portfolio of ground-mount projects to a construction-ready stage. By the end of 2017, this aggregate portfolio will amount to nearly 15 MW of solar energy capacity added to Ontario’s electrical grid.

Alexander has recently joined Brookfield Renewable.


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