Solar Project Team – Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island

Scot Merriam of SRM Projects was part of the non-profit Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island (ESVI) volunteer team working to initiate several grid-tied community solar PV energy demonstration projects in the Nanaimo area.  A request for expressions of interest was issued to shortlisted community candidates in March 2016, leading to selection of 4 interested community partners:  non-profit Nanaimo Foodshare, the City of Nanaimo, the Town of Ladysmith and Bethlehem Center.

The 2.2 kW Nanaimo Foodshare project is now complete thanks to a grant from Mid-Island Coop, donated labour from Osprey Electric Ltd and countless hours of volunteer work from Foodshare staff and ESVI members.  The project received local news coverage in the Nanaimo News Bulletin.  The daily performance of this demo project solar PV system can be tracked on the Enphase Enlighten website.


ESVI also completed the design criteria, site inspection visit, solar PV assessment, RFP issue, capital cost estimates and a comprehensive final report for the City of Nanaimo project, which focuses on the Nanaimo Ice Center (NIC) building and has a capacity between 50 kW and 100 kW.  The City remains interested in solar PV on the NIC and we expect the project to eventually come to fruition as the cost of electricity increases and the cost of solar PV equipment decreases.

170206 NIC Solar PV Layout.L - Coplanar100kW

The longer term goal of ESVI was to create a new social enterprise where individuals could invest in and gain a reliable long term return from community scale solar energy projects.  The Island Community Solar Cooperative was incorporated in 2017 and Scot Merriam continues to contribute as a founding member and volunteer.  Please see the ICSC website to register interest in the coop.

Pacific Working Group – Marine Renewables Canada

SRM Projects co-founded the Pacific Tidal Energy Development Committee (PTEDC) with Rivercorp (the economic development arm of the City of Campbell River) in 2012.  The original goal of PTEDC was to spearhead enabling initiatives, such as a tidal energy device test facility, that would promote the development of tidal energy related commercial activities in the Campbell River and greater Vancouver Island area.  Later the group mandate broadened to include wave and river in-stream energy and the group name was changed to Marine Renewables Canada – Pacific Working Group.  Membership included representatives from First Nations, the marine renewable energy industry, academic institutions and government.

Enabling initiatives, also called “incubators”, are projects that provide support for pre-commercial technologies to help offset the challenges faced by the “first movers” in new industries.  By design, these incubators typically involve a broad consortia of members who can all learn and benefit; from marine energy generation device manufacturers to communities to industry to power utilities and academic institutions.  Various public and private funding sources are accessed to give life to these important industry nurturing, cleantech economic development activities.

The Pacific Working Group determined that three categories of off-grid incubation projects were suited to development in BC: (1) Resorts, (2) Aquaculture and (3) First Nations remote communities.  While the group is no longer meeting, some individual member companies continue to explore developing demonstration projects in the above categories.  We hope to see permanently operating tidal energy projects in BC soon!