Each home in Moncton’s North Branch will be its own micro-electric utility
By Anthony Capkun
December 30, 2020 – In Moncton, Solaire Homes has started construction on what is touted as “a new and innovative neighbourhood”, as it will be New Brunswick’s first solar-powered community.
The North Branch community will feature up to 100 energy-efficient and zero energy-ready homes.
Each home will function as its own “nanogrid” to optimize the home’s energy use, while also being connected to the neighbourhood microgrid. Home-generated solar energy will be traded and exchanged in a variety of scenarios, including between homes, up to the microgrid and out to the main grid.
Essentially, each homeowner will be their own micro-electric utility, trading with neighbours.
Solaire has partnered with NB Power and Siemens Canada to outfit the homes with the latest smart energy technologies, such as home energy management systems, rooftop solar panels and smart energy storage batteries.
“This project will help utilities better understand how customers want to engage with new technologies, and will demonstrate how to design new business models, create value, and analyze how incentive structures can influence behaviour,” said Faisal Kazi, president & CEO, Siemens Canada.
The Siemens Global Smart Grid R&D Centre in Fredericton will build the in-home nanogrid and the neighbourhood microgrid platforms, which will serve as the energy management systems for the homes and the neighbourhood overall.
The North Branch Smart Energy Neighbourhood Project in Moncton is part of a four-year, federally funded research and demonstration program called Smart Grid Atlantic (SGA) that includes NB Power, Siemens Canada and NS Power.
The fully outfitted homes are expected to range in price from $270,000 for a semi-detached to $400,000 for a single-family home, with energy savings expected to cover any extra costs in construction and technology.
In return for participating in ongoing research, the solar and storage home installations will be subsidized by funding from the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund and NB Power.