Regional District of Mount Waddington Chilton Arena, Port McNeill

Known as the first hockey rink in Canada to have a solar powered electric Zamboni, the Port McNeill Chilton Arena is no stranger to solar energy innovation.

April 3, 2023

In 2022, on the roof of the Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill, Hakai Energy commissioned a 100kW solar energy system. The 2022 installation was an expansion to the original 2017 built 7kW solar array. Now combined and commissioned, the 100kW energy system offsets electrical demands of the zamboni ice resurfacer, and other electrical loads within the arena.

Converting the previously propane powered Zamboni to a solar-charged electric power saves the Chilton Arena significant financial operating costs. The cost savings from the solar PV system allows the community to reallocate funds previously devoted to the buildings’ electricity bills, towards infrastructure upgrades and other community investments.

The Chilton Arena now possesses a grid tied solar PV system which has been built in a way to allow the capacity to be expanded. Ample roof space, a significant amount of electrical load, a large electrical distribution system, and the fact that it is a long-term community asset make this location an ideal location for solar PV. This photovoltaic project has reduced the costs of municipal operations while bringing an awareness to local residents, government, and tourists as to the potential of solar energy and importance of establishing reliable, renewable energy sources for future generations to come.

In addition to the solar PV expansion in 2022, Hakai Energy was commissioned to integrate two Telsa Powerwall batteries into the system. These lithium-ion based rechargeable batteries provide seamless power security in the event of a utility outage. Unlike generators, Tesla Powerwall’s do not require any fuel, and produce no noise or fumes while operating. They are integrated into the solar PV system and charged from either PV energy yields or electricity from the grid. Paired with its own critical loads sub panel, the Powerwall automatically starts powering the critical circuits while the main panel is deenergized from the grid. Uninterrupted energy security and reliability is critical for community recreation buildings such as the Chilton Arena. Incorporating the Powerwall batteries allows the arena to maintain emergency lighting systems and critical electrical demands for the arena operations during power outages.

Hakai Energy’s installation includes a real-time data monitoring system connected to the solar PV energy system. This monitoring display located in the foyer of the building allows the renewable energy system to become more tangible and engaging with arena users. Local residents and visitors are then able to track and view actual energy yields.

Hakai Energy Solutions was pleased to deliver this project, and continues to be dedicated to working with communities to develop energy systems that are sustainable and cost-effective while providing reliable power year-round.