I’ve got an article in the Toronto Star today about an Ottawa-based company named Menova Energy, which has what hockey fans might call a “hat trick” solar technology. The company’s Power-Spar array is a concentrated solar power system (1,000 suns), a solar thermal system, and a solar lighting system (using fibre-optic redirecton) in one. Menova announced today a $6 million project, half of it paid for through a loan from Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation, that will see a solar PV/thermal combo built on the rooftop of a Wal-Mart Canada Supercentre being constructed later this year in Markham, Ontario. Wal-Mart is testing the technology to see if it could be used in other locations across the Canadian, and possibly U.S. chain. What’s interesting is that the Power-Spar units will be manufactured in Toronto at an automotive tool and die facility, which has been devasted by a decline in the Ontario automotive sector. It’s encouraging to see that one struggling sector can adapt to take advantage of green-collar jobs.
The low-profile array is unique in its design (I’ll go into details in a later article), but perhaps most interesting is that it sits on a turntable-like system that rotates the entire array as it tracks the sun, allowing for two axis tracking. The Wal-Mart project will be 850 kilowatts in size, but will have the equivalent amount of heat energy. The solar lighting part, which the company is experimenting with for biofuel algae production and thermal storage applications, won’t be included in the Wal-Mart project.