Two solar projects in Nova Scotia are breaking new ground in the movement toward environmentally friendly energy development in the Atlantic region.

Emera Technologies and Halifax-based Novonix Battery Technology Solutions are working together to develop battery pack systems to support microgrids that will provide solar power directly to homes.

And Halifax Water and Natural Forces have completed the installation of a 75 kW solar project, which is now generating power to the Nova Scotia Power electrical grid.

Emera Technologies launched BlockEnergy in the fall of 2020, the first utility-owned community microgrid platform, and partnered with Lennar homebuilders to implement the technology in a new residential community in Florida.

For the past year, the Emera Technologies team also has been working with Novonix, a Halifax-based battery technology company, to develop a battery pack including innovative designs, custom manufacturing and control systems to support the direct current BlockEnergy microgrid.

“Emera’s BlockEnergy platform is a great example of applying our technology to real-life projects and developing systems with specifications not available currently in commercial products, and that have tangible downstream applications,” Chris Burns, co-founder and CEO of Novonix, says in a news release.

“This project brings the opportunity to partner not only in development but also manufacturing of new battery systems with significant market opportunities. The target market is not limited to the United States but will also include a focus on opportunities and customers here in Canada.”

Emera Technologies and Novonix plan to field test the first demo units in 2021, which will help inform final decisions around system specifics and design.

The Natural Forces Solar team completed the design, installation, and commissioning of the 226-panel solar photovoltaic system for Halifax Water.

The panels have the capacity to produce in excess of 100 megawatt hours per year of electricity, which is equivalent to the electricity used by 11 Nova Scotia households, and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 70 tonnes annually.

“I am thrilled to see this project come to fruition,” Roby Douglas, vice-president of Natural Forces Solar, said in a recent article posted online. “Building a solar project on an existing facility in the middle of downtown Halifax has been a wonderful experience. We’re very proud that we were able to take Halifax Water’s vision and make it a reality.”