One day in the not-too-distant future, Torontonians may look forward to sunny days for more than just their warmth – more sunshine will mean more clean, renewable energy for the city, thanks to a new project led by U of T researchers.
This past winter, the university joined forces with ARISE Technologies and the Portlands Energy Centre to design the city’s first solar power research facility. The centre will feature a full-fledged commercial generating unit that will begin feeding solar power into the Toronto Hydro electrical grid in 2009. This will be the first time solar energy will be introduced to a grid in Ontario on a large scale, notes Professor Reza Iravani of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, one of the project’s lead researchers. The facility will be built on a four-acre parcel of land near the waterfront (in the eastern portlands near Cherry Street) that will be covered in solar panels about two-and-a-half to three metres high. Iravani says the facility will produce an estimated 1,000 kilowatts of power – enough for about 200 homes.