Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Heliene gets $1.45m to diversify into smart grid market

Steve Rogerson
July 5, 2017

Canadian solar photovoltaic module maker Heliene is to receive $1.45m government funding to accelerate diversification through proprietary smart grid technology.
The company wants to diversify its product and service offering, while continuing to grow its core manufacturing business, through proprietary technology development to gain a foothold in the rapidly expanding smart grid sector.
Parliamentary secretary David Lametti announced, on behalf of the Canadian government details of funding towards this project. It will be funded through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), which works with Canadian companies to bring clean technologies to market.
The company will use these funds to develop a solar smart grid application. The module with a brain, named Intelligent PV (IPV), is the latest in a series of moves by the company to achieve diversification through innovation.
“Striving for operational excellence through flexibility and rapid innovation has been the key to the company’s resilience and success thus far,” said Martin Pochtaruk, president of Heliene. “Looking ahead the $3.3m IPV project will introduce a new revolutionary product targeting the fast-growing smart grid market that will meaningfully diversify Heliene’s business model beyond the existing manufacturing and service streams. Heliene’s bright future is supported by pent up and expanding demand in the key target market segments.”
IPV is an integrated solar module system that addresses the market in two ways. First, it provides real-time data visibility and voltage control for utilities and local distribution companies for monitoring and controlling their distribution lines, an unfulfilled need for the jump into the smart grid era, and with it a new revenue stream for the company.
Secondly, it is a plug-and-play system for easy installation, it generates power and corrects power factor.
The core of the IPV product is driven by a proprietary close-coupling integration of intelligence into a high quality solar photovoltaic module. This includes a string optimisation inverter, resulting in optimised energy harvesting, and a control system able to generate reactive power all while providing real-time communications to be used for grid visibility and control.
Real-time communications and grid control, as provided by IPV, are functions needed with the continued penetration of intermittent renewables into the grid and are not currently available in the market.
For this project, Heliene is part of a consortium including Dressel, EPower from Queen’s University, Cistel Technolog, Letrika Sol of Slovenia, and the Sault Ste Marie public utility commission.
SDTC is an arm’s-length foundation created by the government of Canada to promote sustainable development and support projects that develop and demonstrate technologies to address issues related to climate change, air quality, and clean water and soil. It invests in Canadian companies that, through their technologies, contribute positively to Canada by creating jobs, driving economic growth and protecting the environment.
Established in 2010, Heliene makes solar photovoltaic modules in Canada and the USA with its products installed in North America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.