Engineers Canada National Award

Engineers Canada Award National Award for an Engineering Project of Achievement was presented to Michel de Spot, President and CEO of EcoSmart for the SunMine project at a ceremony in Charlottetown, PEI.

Initiated by Michel de Spot, P.Eng. of EcoSmart Foundation Inc., SunMine is British Columbia’s first grid-connected solar facility as well as the first such facility to be built on a reclaimed mine site. With 4,000 solar cell modules mounted on 96 solar trackers that follow the sun, the site provides about 40 per cent more energy than a traditional fixed system. Owned and operated by the City of Kimberley, BC, SunMine’s success was the result of the exceptional collaboration of its key partners, Teck Resources Ltd., the City of Kimberley, BC Hydro, and EcoSmart. SunMine has also become a centre of excellence, showcasing leading edge solar technologies.

Globe and Mail Announcement

Photos of the Award Ceremony in PEI

APEGBC sustainability award 2015 video – SunMine

The 2015 Sustainability Award of the Association of Professional Engineers of BC went to SunMine, the first large scale solar power plant outside Ontario. It is also the first redevelopment of a former industrial site into a solar plant in Canada, the first solar project supported by a mining company (Teck) in Canada, the first solar power contract with the local utility (BC Hydro), and the first and only solar plant owned and operated by a Canadian municipality. SunMine showcases many innovations such as dual-axis trackers, distributed inverters, 1000 V DC  and more…. The video explains the project.

SunMine Partners & Quotes


The EcoSmart Foundation is a not-for-profit Canadian corporation based in Vancouver, BC. Canada. EcoSmart develops activities and projects fostering technical solutions and innovations towards a sustainable economy. In the past five years, it has increasingly focused its efforts on renewable energy, in particular PV solar energy. EcoSmart operates out of Vancouver and is a governed by a board of directors, made up of volunteer members, from across the country, who represent research, government, and the private sector. EcoSmart has been primarily responsible for developing and incubating SunMine. Continue reading SunMine Partners & Quotes

Solar Maps of Canada

Solar maps of Canada based on monthly data provided by NRCan.
Click on an image to view it in more details.
The maps give the average solar energy DC output in kWh/kW from PV modules installed on various mounting systems: Fixed, Vertical-Axis Tracking,  Horizontal Axis Tracking,  2-axis tracking.

The calculations take into account the angle of incidence, the ratio between direct and diffuse irradiation, the average ambient temperature and their effects on PV efficiency.
The maps are based on a 10 km x 10 km grid, i.e. each ‘pixel’ represents an area of 10 x 10 km,  an extremely fine resolution.

Other maps:

Solar Resource Information (SRI)

Solar Resource Information is a key component at any stage of a solar project lifecycle.

  • Early development analysis
  • Site prospection.
  • Collect of solar data
  • Preliminary design.
  • Long-term energy assessment
  • Economic viability.
  • Design parameter support.
  • Utility connection.
  • Performance verification
  • Utility forecasting.

The proper siting of any renewable energy system is critical to its success. However, siting a solar energy system can be particularly challenging because of the varying nature of the sun. Daily weather fluctuations and seasonal position changes can have significant effects on a system’s performance. – NREL

EcoSmart has developed a series of tools to provide accurate SRI at any step of a solar project. We offer expert advice to make a solar plant as efficient and cost-effective as possible. Our services include:

Early Stage

  • On site data measurement
  • Acquisition of high-quality solar data
  • Data analysis and long-term energy yield prediction
  • Uncertainties and statistical analysis
  • Economic analysis (P95 and risk assessment)

Design Stage

  • Selection between fixed and tracker systems
  • Tracker optimization
  • Array tilt optimization
  • Shading and area optimization
  • PVSyst analysis
  • Simulations
  • … and more

Solar energy in the NWT

What is the solar energy potential in NWT?

The Government of the NorthWest Territories (NWT)  has published a report outlining  the NWT solar energy deployment strategy  EcoSmart prepared the attached notes  offering some comments and suggestions based on our expertise and recent progress in solar technologies.  Our document presents also an example of feasibility for the town of Fort Providence, NWT.   In that example, the most cost-effective solar size in a hybrid soalr-diesel system would be 1.25 MWp with a cost saving of about $660,000 per year.  

Our analyses confirm that as,  NWT Solar Energy Strategy indicates, the region has great solar energy potential.   We believe that this potential could be further improved in various ways such as:

  1. Using trackers to harvest more solar energy during the long summer days.
  2. Bringing down the price of solar equipment to level at par with the world market.
  3. Optimizing dispatch of solar energy to achieve greater diesel displacement without using storage.

Document: NWT solar strategy