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Battery energy storage system (BESS) and intelligent
management controls

The solar farm has received financial support of approximately $10.7 million from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to help enhance the solar farm into a complete micro-grid system by including a battery energy storage system (BESS).

The proposed solar farm will allow EPCOR to:
  • generate local, renewable energy
  • reduce our greenhouse gas emissions
  • reduce our electricity demand from the grid
  • provide our customers with clean water made from clean energy

The micro-grid system enhancements, which are being supported through NRCan, will enable the solar farm to use the latest innovative technologies to:

  • add resiliency to the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant
  • reduce reliance on the electrical grid
  • provide another tool for EPCOR to optimize its load from the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant and solar power exports to the grid
  • offer unique research and learning opportunities related to large-scale renewable energy and smart grid technology – the first of its kind in Canada.

This system presents collaboration opportunity for EPCOR and local post-secondary institutions to study the application of intermittent renewable generation with a load and use of significantly sized battery energy storage system.


EPCOR will be installing batteries similar to the example shown on the image above. The system consists of three enclosures similar to sea-can containers that are approximately 3m high, 3m wide and 14m long and two transformers. The engineered enclosures contain the batteries and their controllers as well as the power conversion system (also known as inverters) which converts electricity between direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC).

Battery Considerations

EPCOR has worked with external experts to determine if there are any considerations which must be taken into account in the design and implementation of the battery project. A third-party environmental consultant has determined that the BESS will not result in any significant adverse environmental effects and the conclusions of the environmental evaluation for the proposed solar farm remain unchanged with the addition of this project.

The noise assessment completed for the proposed solar farm has also been updated to include the addition of BESS components. Once the BESS is installed, we do not anticipate an increase in noise level in the area and the project remains in compliance with the regulator's guidelines for noise control (AUC Rule 012).

Regulatory Approvals

In August, EPCOR received approvals for this project from the AUC. The proposed re-zoning for the E.L. Smith Solar Farm project is approved, the tentative schedule of work will be as follows:

  • Construction of the solar farm and installation of the battery is expected to begin in early 2021.
  • Completion of the solar farm and BESS project by Spring 2022.

Please note: These timelines are estimates and may change based on weather, procurement of materials and construction conditions.