New observatory in Canada will run off renewable power.
The plans to build an observatory in the Madawaska Highlands, a range of hills in Southern Ontario, would not only mean the construction of an observatory equipped with the most powerful telescope in Canada, but a building that would be powered using green technology, which would make it the largest off-grid commercial building in North America.
The Madawaska Highland Observatory would be home to the largest public telescopes in the world.
The project started in 2007 and was founded by entrepreneur, inventor and businessman, Frank Roy. After collaborating with a Pennsylvanian company to design a wide-angle telescope, Roy came up with the idea to build an observatory that would feature multiple telescopes that could be used by the public and would also be useful for research.
The location of the facility is in a dark and remote region of the Madawaska Highland, which is located just west of Ottawa, Canada’s capital. This area was selected to provide optimal night sky viewing, since it is located far from large cities, towns and regular utilities. Roy said that “There is so much more to this project than looking at the stars.”
The green technology that powers the facility will be made up of different renewable energy sources.
Due to the fact that the observatory is far away from regular utilities, it will be relying on alternative energy to power its operations. As part of its green energy strategy, the facility will use a combination of geothermal heat pumps, thermal panels, solar electric panels, and lithium-ion batteries with a back-up propane electric generator. In addition, to supplement its fresh water use, the building will also use captured rainfall.
According to Michael Cowan, the facilities utilization of renewable energy will show what can be accomplished with today’s clean technology. Cowan is the president of Alliance Engineering, an Ottawa company intending to construct the ground source heat pumps for the observatory.
Currently, the hope is that the facility will be opened in June of 2017. However, in order for this $20 million green technology project to reach this goal it requires more investors.