One-of-a-kind research facilities in Canada
The Université de Sherbrooke inaugurates its solar park
Sherbrooke, le 23 mai 2019 – With today’s inauguration of the largest solar park in Canada dedicated to applied research, the Université de Sherbrooke is launching close collaborations with leading industry players and electrical distribution networks that will give rise to technologies and expertise that can be exported around the world. Instrumented solar panels will generate a wealth of data related to temperature, current, voltage, and their energy output.
A true technological showcase, the solar park will allow our researchers to experiment on and study a range of state-of-the-art technologies in collaboration with companies such as Stace, Rackam and CANAM. Hydro-Sherbrooke also came on board the project at the development phase, while Hydro-Québec has contributed by sharing data from its solar projects.
“Thanks to seed investment from the upper levels of government, the Université de Sherbrooke has established partnerships that are creating multiple spin-offs for Sherbrooke and Quebec. We are expecting additional investment from the industry, as many Quebec and international groups have already shown an interest in these unique facilities,” says Dr. Pierre Cossette, Rector, Université de Sherbrooke. “This collaborative approach will accelerate knowledge transfer into innovative and practical solutions to tackle the major global issues of producing renewable energy and fighting greenhouse gases, and we are obviously very proud of this contribution,” Dr. Cossette explains.
The inauguration was attended by multiple government partners, including Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Member of Parliament for Compton–Stanstead, François Bonnardel, Quebec Minister of Transport, Steve Lussier, Mayor of Sherbrooke, along with many industry partners and members of the Université de Sherbrooke community.
The look of the campus has also been transformed by this solar park, which consists of:
- A smart solar generation system on the roof of the power plant for the Main Campus, as well as an experimental thermal storage system at the Parc innovation – ACELP.
- Solar panels on the roof of the Centre sportif Yvon-Lamarche and the Scale-up Centre.
- 23 solar trackers at the Parc innovation – ACELP.
- 2 solar trackers in the roundabouts of the Parc innovation – ACELP and the Main Campus.
These different installations have already produced promising results: “The solar panels on the roof of the sports centre have exceeded performance indices for cold climates, which is very encouraging. For our partners, this is an unprecedented opportunity to launch their expertise and technologies and position themselves in international solar energy markets,” explains Dr. Vincent Aimez, Vice-President of Knowledge Transfer and Partnerships, Université de Sherbrooke.
“The solar park will allow researchers to make more scientific discoveries in the renewable energy sector and will put the Université de Sherbrooke at the forefront. Supporting projects that make the environment a priority is consistent with our vision of a clean-growth economy,” says the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, MP for Compton-Stanstead and Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
“Today, the Université de Sherbrooke is once again demonstrating its leadership in innovation. Combining economic development with the fight against climate change is exactly what we want for sustainable development in Quebec. With projects as stimulating as those launched today, the Université de Sherbrooke is continuing to raise the profile of the Estrie Region across Quebec and Canada,” states François Bonnardel, Minister of Transport, Minister Responsible for the Estrie Region, and MNA for Granby.
“The City of Sherbrooke is very proud to have this one-of-a-kind research infrastructure in Canada. I want to acknowledge all partners who have done their part to make this ambitious project a reality, and I am delighted at the prospect of the many jobs it will create,” says Mr. Steve Lussier, Mayor of Sherbrooke.
Developing the park required an investment of $5.9 million, 65% of which was funded by both upper levels of government. The University covered the rest of the funding. This project is also part of the University’s energy and greenhouse gas management strategy.
With total wattage of nearly a megawatt—or approximately 15% of peak consumption of the Université de Sherbrooke Main Campus—and thanks to its very high degree of instrumentation, the solar park is now a Canadian model for the validation of future production and storage technologies associated with renewable energies, particularly in cold climates. This expertise has also led to a partnership agreement between the Université de Sherbrooke and the Research Institute for Solar Energy and New Energies (IRESEN) in Morocco, which has complementary expertise in Mediterranean and Atlantic climates, that will open the door to many international partnerships.
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Isabelle Huard, Media Relations Advisor
Communications Department | Université de Sherbrooke
819-821-8000, ext. 63395 | medias@USherbrooke.ca