When tracking orcas, solar shows the way

Canadian Solar now powers the world-renowned OrcaLab Whale Research Center, situated on a remote island near Alert Bay off the British Columbia coast in Canada.

“Thanks to fantastic donations of solar panels and hardware from Canadian Solar Industries (CSI), OrcaLab has a new and vastly improved solar energy capacity,” said Dr. Paul Spong, the whale expert and researcher who founded the facility in 1970. “Almost unbelievably… we are now virtually free from the need to run a generator for hours every day to keep our systems running. Life has changed at OrcaLab, and for the better,” he said.

OrcaLab's work centers on research and conservation issues - preservation of orca habitat; release and rehabilitation of captive cetaceans, and bringing commercial whaling to an end. Its operations are centered on the philosophy that it’s possible to study the wild without interfering with lives or habitat. To this end a network of hydrophones (underwater microphones) and cameras positioned around the orcas' core-habitat, helps monitor their movements year-round. The newly donated solar system allows the off-grid OrcaLab to power its monitoring system with solar energy, while cutting generator use and fuel costs dramatically. Further, it increases battery performance, expands the range of hydrophones and cameras, as well as improves amenities for summer volunteers.  

An added advantage of the solar system is that is requires minimal maintenance when compared to generators and lasts for decades. In addition to its primary functions, the solar solution on the island will help reduce carbon emissions from the generators by 1.5 to 2 tons per year. "We are honored to be involved in the ground-breaking OrcaLab foundation's research," said Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar. "And we are proud to be able to help advance the team's ambitious work through this latest exciting application of solar energy," he said. "As an industry leader, Canadian Solar strives to also lead in philanthropic efforts with organizations around the world, and this is why we are delighted to support OrcaLab," added Qu.

Discover more about OrcaLab's solar installation at http://orcalab.org/2013/05/04/orcalabs-fabulous-solar-upgrade/

 

Alert Bay, Canada

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3.04 kWh per m2 per day