Energy Manager

Concordia University installs state of the art solar tech

The new John Molson School of Business (JMSB) is showing its enthusiasm for innovative ideas by playing host to a demonstration of innovative Canadian technology conceived at Concordia: solar panels covering the top two floors of one facade of its building. This world first demonstration of this type of combined solar heat and power technology integrated into a non-residential building is also the largest solar-electric installation in Quebec.

January 22, 2009  By Newswire

Covering approximately 300 square metres, the solar panels will generate electricity for the building and heat fresh air during the heating season. Integrating a combination of solar heat and power in a commercial building is a first step in the development of the next generation of buildings that not only produce energy for their own use, but generate enough power to provide it to the electricity network, thereby transforming buildings from passive consumers of electricity to net energy producers.

”The construction of the new JMSB Building provided our researchers with an opportunity to integrate state of the art innovative solar technology, developed right here at Concordia, into a building which will set new standards for construction,” said Judith Woodsworth, Concordia President and Vice-Chancellor.

This innovative technology was designed by the Canadian Solar Buildings Research Network (CSBRN), led by Dr. Andreas Athienitis and housed at Concordia University. The development of this new technology was funded by Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY, with significant contributions made by the Agence de l’efficacité énergétique as well as three industrial partners: Conserval Engineering, suppliers of the Solarwall; Day4Energy, suppliers of the photovoltaic panels; and Sustainable Energy Technologies, supplier of the electronic components converting the solar electricity for use by the building.

“Our Government is committed to increasing the supply of clean, renewable energy for Canadians,” said the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources. “Investing in projects like this one at Concordia is helping us do just that.”


Construction of the new JMSB building will be completed in the summer, with classes starting in the building in September 2009. When it begins operation, the public will be able to consult an energy display in the lobby to view the real-time energy captured by the sun and used by the building.

Integrating solar power into new buildings on a cost effective basis requires a shift from custom engineered solutions to standardized, modular building blocks that are built into the building envelope in an aesthetically attractive way, like any other building product. Sustainable Energy Technologies’ patented inverter technology overcomes critical obstacles to making this a reality.

Building integrated photovoltaic — referred to often as "BIPV" — presents a wide variety of challenges, including shading from normal building congestion, variances in the orientation of the solar panels due to building design constraints and new paradigms in system maintenance.

By reducing the impact of non-ideal and non-uniform illumination on overall system performance, Sustainable Energy’s unique parallel system architecture enables a standard building block approach while optimizing solar power output over the entire building envelope.

"We are delighted that our leading inverter technology was selected in this state of the art solar project," stated Michael Carten, CEO of Sustainable Energy Technologies who is also a graduate of Loyola College of Concordia. "BIPV will be a much larger part of the solar landscape as the most cost effective solution for making solar power part of the energy mix of industrialized countries. A key to this is the "parallel system architecture" which eliminates many of the challenges to making BIPV a reality in our cities."

For more information about the Solar Buildings Research Network, visit

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