Installation demonstrates economic and environmental potential of vacant rooftop spaces

Toronto-based Helios Energy Inc. has donated a 5.32 kilowatt rooftop solar PV system to The York School in downtown Toronto. In addition to enabling the school to produce its own renewable energy, Helios plans to use The York School’s rooftop solar system – which includes 28 solar panels valued at more than $50,000 — as a demonstration project for businesses and commercial enterprises to illustrate how they can use an often underutilized space (their roof) for economic gain with zero capital cost – all while showing their environmental leadership. 


The recently announced Green Energy Act and its Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Program offers potential solar energy producers in Ontario one of the highest incentives in the world (up to $0.802/kWh produced by solar systems). But perhaps one of the greatest trickle-down benefits of the FIT Program is the creation of a new wave of green-energy firms that are presenting real estate holders, without solar expertise or know-how, with an opportunity to participate in the green economy.


“Education is the key to inspiring environmental leadership and effecting positive change in society,” said David Anderson, Principal, Helios Energy. “This rooftop solar system will provide The York School’s students with the opportunity to learn about solar power.  It also serves as an illustrative example of how building owners can employ a previously overlooked and underutilized piece of their property to achieve both economic and environmental benefits.”


In keeping with the school’s experiential learning model, the Helios Energy solar system will serve as an educational tool for students.  Monitoring software will allow the school to measure the amount of electricity being generated and teachers will be able to access this data to teach students about renewable energy in action.


“At The York School, our faculty and students are continually looking for innovative ways to enhance their commitment to the environment,” said Ezio Crescenzi, Head of The York School. “Last year, our students made their voices heard at City Hall in support of the ban on plastic bags. Now, with this new solar system, we can shout the sustainability message from our rooftop. Not only will we be able to reduce our carbon footprint and save on our energy bills, but we will be able to foster a living laboratory that links what is being taught in the classroom to real-life green energy applications.”

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