Amp Solar powers change

Solar storage solutions are added to the energy mix

Dave Rogers, founder, president and CEO of Amp Solar Group Inc.

Dave Rogers, founder, president and CEO of Amp Solar Group Inc. — Photo courtesy Amp Solar

Amp Solar Group Inc., which owns and operates renewable energy assets in Canada and globally, targets projects that allow the company to generate energy where it is most required. “Which, as time goes on, is always going to be more relevant to the energy mix,” said Dave Rogers, founder, president and CEO of Amp. “Today, distributed generation is causing fundamental shifts in the energy industry.”

Amp's focus on cost-savings and flexible, customized storage has led the company to its current partnership with Alectra Energy Solutions. The goal is to provide solar storage solutions for Class A electricity customers.

The rise of sun power

Rogers and his business partner, Paul Ezekiel, founded Amp in 2008, “in the height of the crisis,” Rogers said. The pair had worked together in the past. When they saw a need for sustainable solutions to power, they started their own venture.

Why solar? “At the time, you could see the trends around solar starting,” said Rogers. “First, the cost was starting to come down for solar. It was getting a lot of momentum globally in the energy market. My view at the time was that solar had far more potential than wind long-term.”

Both Rogers and Ezekiel believed in renewables from more than just a business standpoint. “The company was built on creating a legacy,” Rogers said. “The company is rooted in the value of the greater good, along with ensuring that the company is sustainable from a profitability standpoint as well as an environmental standpoint.” Their team has rapidly grown, and continues to grow as solar sees more opportunities across the globe.

AMP and Alectra offer energy storage solutions

Amp and Alectra Energy Solutions have combined forces in a 50/50 joint venture to collaboratively develop, finance, own and operate battery storage energy assets onsite for Class A (industrial) customers in Ontario. “Alectra is the second largest municipally owned utility in North America. They have a large reach in Ontario, and their CEO is the most progressive I’ve ever met,” Rogers said. Amp is pleased to have Alectra as a partner as they tackle sustainable innovation for their Class A customers.

The partnership will provide timely energy solutions: “The utility business model is under stress today because of things like distributed generation and battery storage,” said Rogers. “Given the opportunity is substantial in Ontario, going it alone was an option, but we believe that with us and Alectra, one plus one would equal five.” Amp provides organization and engineering skills, and will also be managing the assets. Alectra’s lengthy experience, including microgrid ownership and predictive energy algorithms, will allow the partners to appropriately predict peak power times and to manage the battery flow to their customers.

“The basics are for us to own the battery storage so these customers can reduce their peak demand charges and global adjustment charges,” Rogers said. Amp cannot name companies in question at this early stage of the project, but Rogers desribed them as "some of—if not the largest—energy users in the province.” Twenty-five sites will be installed over the winter to be ready for operation by the end of May 2018.

How Amp and Alectra’s solar storage will work

Rogers described how Amp and Alectra's solar storage system will work, nothing that the energy discharge time and rate is flexible. “When energy pricing is high—let’s say during a hot summer day—we believe it is going to be a peak day,” he said. “We discharge the battery at the plant, so the power the plant uses at that time is just supplied by the battery, and not from the grid.”

This lowers the demand at peak times, increasing the power available to all using it, and decreasing the cost for Amp’s customers. “It will relieve some congestion on the grid. It will also lower their cost during those peak times,” Rogers said.

Moving forward with batteries solving sustainability problems

These large-scale energy storage solutions for their Ontario industrial customers will allow Amp and Alectra to provide reliable and flexible energy, while reducing costs for their customers. Indirectly, the lowered demand from Ontario’s grid supply will benefit Ontario residents.

Similar battery storage will continue to solve the sustainable power problems into the future. “Battery storage is still fairly new,” Rogers said. “I think that long term, a combination of solar, battery storage, and other technologies to create microgrids that are then digitally connected to create virtual power plants is how I want to see this technology implemented in the future.” For now, Amp and Alectra can offer their customers reliable, flexible, low-cost renewable power.

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