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Outdoor Solar Inverter Test Facility Info Session

2015-07-15, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

The Sustainable Energy Applied Research Centre (SEARC) at St. Lawrence College is excited to launch this unique applied research and learning project. Please join SEARC at an information session to learn more:

Outdoor Solar Inverter Test Facility Information Session
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Alumni Fireside Room, Kingston campus
4:30pm – 6:30pm

About the Project

The Outdoor Solar Inverter Test Facility (OSITF) will be a unique facility that will be used to perform medium to long term (12-18 months) testing and evaluation of inverters used in solar photovoltaic (PV) applications.  It will provide additional education and research infrastructure that will strengthen knowledge and expertise in the renewable energy field at St. Lawrence College.  In addition, it will form part of the expanding research capabilities at St. Lawrence College which will allow for new collaborative development opportunities with industrial partners.

The facility is unique in Canada, serving our renewable energy industry in partnership with the Canadian Standards Association and a variety of manufacturers. It is an impressive step forward for the college’s programming in Energy Systems Engineering Technology, Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technology, and others.

The project is fully funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Ontario Research Fund (ORF).  A number of industry partners are also making contributions to the project.

This facility will be constructed on the northwest field of the Kingston campus of St. Lawrence College.  Preliminary construction tasks are expected to occur in 2015.  Staff and students of the Sustainable Energy Applied Research Centre (SEARC) at St. Lawrence College are involved in every aspect of the project.

Inverters designed for outdoor installation will be tested in a “real world” setting where they will be fully exposed to the climatic conditions encountered in the eastern Ontario region.

Conceptual Renderings of the OSITF

A conceptual rendering of the Outdoor Solar Inverter Test Facility to be built on Kingston campusA conceptual rendering of the Outdoor Solar Inverter Test Facility to be built on Kingston campus

Proposed OSITF Location on St. Lawrence College Kingston campus

An aerial image of the proposed location of the Outdoor Solar Inverter Test Facility to be built on Kingston campus

How many solar PV panels will be erected for the project?

Power to the test inverters will be produced by 9 PV solar arrays with a collective output of 90 kW.  Altogether, 336 PV panels will be used.

How large will the facility be? 

The entire site will be a fenced in area of 64m length x 44m width.  Buffer strips (5m wide) will separate the PV solar arrays from the fence lines.  As the PV solar arrays will be ground mounted, the highest points on the angled arrays will be 3.5m above the ground.  The OSITF will include a small shed (3m x 3m area) for the data acquisition and monitoring systems. 

What about safety and security?

A 2.4m high chain-link fence will surround the OSITF.  Privacy slats will be installed through the chain –link on the north and west fence sections for better visual aesthetics.  Pedestrian and vehicle gates will be installed on the east fence section.  These gates will be locked to prevent entry by unauthorized personnel.  

A 10m high camera pole will be installed at the site for a security camera.  The camera will be able to monitor activity within the OSITF site and the immediate vicinity.  This camera will be under the control of St. Lawrence College Safety and Security personnel.  

What are the benefits of the project?

Students and staff associated with the project and in the Energy Systems Engineering programs will benefit from the opportunity to learn and perform valuable research with the test facility.

What are the timelines?

The project has received support from our funders, industry partners, and the City of Kingston. We will begin construction in 2015 and it will be operational for research and learning in 2016.

Will this facility be noisy?

A noise study for the OSITF was conducted in early 2015.  The results from the study indicate that the combined noise emissions from the inverters will produce very low levels of noise.  At the northern boundary of the campus, noise levels of approximately 42 decibels may be encountered.  This is equivalent to the noise levels typically encountered in a quiet home.  At the campus’ western boundary, noise levels of approximately 34 decibels may be encountered.  This is slightly higher than the noise level of a quiet whisper. 

For more information about the project, please contact the SEARC office: 613-544-5400 ext. 5511 or


Denise Wing
Communications Officer
Marketing & Communications
St. Lawrence College
Brockville, Cornwall, Kingston
T 613-345-0660, ext. 2261