The Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre will be hosting the 2nd Agrivoltaics Conference on Monday December 11, 2023 in London.

To keep Canada’s farmers farming, agrivoltaics (the symbiotic combinations of agricultural and solar photovoltaics) provides an opportunity to add a reliable revenue stream while even increasing crop yields. Agrivoltaics has enormous promise in Canada. Agrivoltaics is in its infancy in Canada, but as is the case globally, there is a projected rapid expansion over the coming 5 years and we intend to support that growth as a common ground for best practices, crop and generation measurements, new technologies, approaches and environmental and electrical policy development.

Date: Monday, December 11, 2023

Time: 8:30am - 5:00pm

Location: Spencer Leadership Centre, 551 Windermere Rd, London 

Theme: Harvesting Synergy: Bridging Agriculture and Solar Innovation for Sustainable Futures

The Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre gratefully acknowledges continued financial support from the Ivey Energy Consortium and Ted Kernaghan, HBA '65; as well as the following organizations for their financial support: WEST Canada Ltd and RHA Ventures Inc

RHA Ventures and West Partners logos

Current Agenda:

Time Function Speaker
8:30am Registration/Breakfast  
9:00am Welcome Brandon Schaufele, Ivey Business School
9:15am Session 1: Agrivoltaics Around the World - The Last Year, Types of Agrivoltaics Technologies - Implementation Strategies

Moderator:

Uzair Jamil, Western University

Speakers:

Uzair Jamil, Western University

Kevin Campbell, EDF Renewables

10:00am Session 2: Canadian National Policy Review

Moderator:

Patrick Gossage, First Green Energy Ltd

Speakers:

Patrick Gossage, First Green Energy Ltd

Mike Carter, First Green Energy Ltd

Jeremy Dresner, Energy Redesign

Rob Sinclair, Enerstrat Canada

Eric Muller, Canadian Renewable Energy Association

11:00am Session 3: Canadian Technology - In Context of Agrivoltaics

Moderator:

Robert Sinclair, Enerstrat Canada

Speakers:

Sam Alradhi, Polar Racking

Dikran Ghorgorian, Polar Racking

Kim Parker, Food Security Structures Canada

Zac Jolliffe, VCT Group

12:00pm Lunch  
1:00pm Session 4: Automation - Keeping Agrivoltaics to Technology's Core

Moderator:

Uzair Jamil, Western University

Speakers:

Soodeh Nikan, Western University

Rhonda Millikin, Pathfinder Clean Energy

Kristofer Marr, SMA Solar Technology

Ryan Qu, Talesun Group

1:45pm Session 5: Agrivoltaics - From the Eyes of Governmen

Moderator:

Mike Carter, First Green Energy Ltd

Speakers:

Lora Field, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade

Christopher Baldus-Jeursen, Canmet

2:30pm Session 6: Financing & Grant Opportunities

Moderator:

Joshua Pearce, Western University

Speakers:

Joshua Pearce, Western University

Joseph Santarelli, MITACS

3:30pm Session 7: Farmers Perspective on Agrivoltaics - A Candid Discussion

Moderator:

Mike Carter, First Green Energy Ltd

Speakers:

Rafel Lara, The Lara Costa/Schuyler Farms

Gabriella Lara, The Lara Costa/Schuyler Farms

Erin Morgan, Ontario Sheep

Jen Aitchison, Independent Consultant

4:15 Keynote Address

Jason Bradley, Regener8ve Ag

5:00pm Conclusion - Summary of How to Move Forward  

Speakers and Moderators:

Jen Aitchison

Jen Aitchison

Jen Aitchison has reshaped the landscape of renewable energy through her innovative approach in the insurance sector. With over two decades of experience, she now leads as both an independent consultant and a corporate sales expert, specializing in risk management and insurance for sustainable energy projects, particularly in solar and BESS (Battery Energy Storage Systems) in North America.

Her career transition was driven by a passion for meaningful environmental impact and a deep appreciation of nature. Jen's pioneering work in solar energy insurance marked a significant shift in an industry primarily focused on traditional energy sources. She played a crucial role in educating insurance companies about renewable energy risks and coverage needs, significantly influencing policy development.

A key accomplishment is her collaboration in creating a fire safety manual for solar installations, enhancing industry safety and risk management. This effort bridged the gap between technical and emergency response sectors, setting new standards in the field.

Additionally, Jen's active role in Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE) underscores her commitment to promoting gender diversity and supporting women's advancement in STEM and renewable energy.

Jen's journey in renewable energy is a testament to her dedication to sustainability and innovation, making her a prominent figure in fostering the energy transition through her unique insurance expertise.

 

Sam Alradhi

Sam Alradhi

Sam has bachelor’s degree in Energy Engineering, specialized in Renewable Energies designs and management. Sam has been in the solar industry for over 14 years. Sam has extensive experience of over 2 GW in development, engineering, procurement, construction, and operational assets in various regions and countries. Prior to joining Polar Racking, Sam worked with developers and EPC companies to increase their projects pipeline and profitability.

Christopher Baldus-Jeursen

Christopher Baldus-Jeursen

Christopher Baldus-Jeursen works for Canmet, a Quebec-based renewable energy research and deployment centre operated by the Canadian federal government. Christopher’s work focuses on photovoltaic (PV) system monitoring and performance quantification, the effects of snow on array energy output, and module characterization in the laboratory. He is a contributor to the International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power Systems (IEA PVPS) Task 13 group which provides technical reports and guidelines on the quality, performance, and reliability of PV modules and systems. He is also a member of IEA PVPS Task 1 which disseminates information on the industrial, economic, and social aspects of PV development in different countries through annual national survey reports. He has a B.Sc. in Engineering Physics from Queen’s University and an M.Sc. from the European Renewable Energy Research Centres (EUREC) program with a PV specialization. He completed his Ph.D. on PV devices at the University of Waterloo in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Kevin Campbell

Kevin Campbell

Mr. Campbell joined EDF Renewables in 2010 and currently holds the title of director – development.  In this role, Kevin is the project lead during the development & permitting phase of various utility scale renewable energy projects across New York State. His primary responsibilities are to manage the land acquisition, permitting, community engagement, and preliminary design stages. Based in Toronto, Ontario, Kevin manages a diverse team of developers, land agents, environmental & engineering consultants, and attorneys, to navigate the complex development and permitting process in New York.  Kevin sits on the NYSERDA Agricultural Technical Working Group and is on the Advisory Board of the American Solar Grazing Association. 

Kevin has 14 years of solar development experience in Canada and the United States and currently oversees a development portfolio of more than 2,000MW of solar, energy storage and wind projects in New York State. Prior to joining EDFR, Kevin held various engineering and operational roles for seven years with Shell Canada, and graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Environmental Engineering, Chemical Specialization.

 

Mike Carter

Mike Carter

Mike has been involved with the renewable energy industry for most of his life. He has led teams to develop and operate utility-scale solar, energy storage and hydroelectric projects throughout Canada and the US. Under First Green Energy, Mike has returned to his roots and has redoubled his attention to the acceleration of the electrification transition in Canada bringing his personal background in farming and applying his professional experience towards expanding agrivoltaics into Canada.

Mike founded First Green Energy in 2007 as a renewable energy development consultancy after growing up supporting his family’s hydroelectric business endeavours. Mike has held many roles concurrent to his renewable experience including mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and automotive sectors. For the past 20 years, Mike has also managed his family’s farm operations, where he was named Entrepreneur of the Year for Halton Hills in 2013. Through his farming efforts Mike led various endeavours seeking added value from a difficult to resolve agricultural reality for many of today’s family farms. These efforts included organic strawberry growing, on-farm market development, traditional cash cropping, and market gardening.

Through all of his experiences in energy, farming and elsewhere, Mike has continually developed strong business relationships with ever diverse parties to contemplate, realize and deliver innovative business outcomes. The opportunity he sees in agrivoltaics threads his collective experience and fuels his ambition to be a change maker and accelerator of the energy transition through an agricultural lens.

 

Jeremy Dresner

Jeremy Dresner

Jeremy is originally from the UK where he spent 12 years working on energy efficiency, solar farms and battery storage projects. Working for an independent developer, Jeremy developed some of the largest operational battery storage projects in the country as well as multiple 3-5MW solar farms. Jeremy moved to British Columbia in 2017 and set up Energy Redesign after working for FortisBC. Energy Redesign has acted as a design consultant for numerous rooftop solar projects in Vancouver. 

Currently, Jeremy is piloting Agrivoltaics on 17 acres in the Okanagan. Working with Jacob his partner and a landowner from the Osoyoos Band, they are is developing a site to include a solar farm, an agrivoltaic research facility, and a solar training centre.

Jeremy lives in Summerland, BC with his wife and daughter.

 

Dikran Ghorgorian

Dikran Ghorgorian

Dikran has a Master’s degree in Civil and Structural Engineering from University of Yerevan, Armenia. Dikran has worked 2.5 years at ABB Advanced Battery System as project engineer for Electric Vehicle battery design for Ford Ecostar project. Worked at Magna international for 27 Years as Director of Engineering. Created Automotive Engineering groups in China and India. In his last 3 years at Magna, Dikran worked in Solar group as Director of Engineering developing and testing Magna’s Tracker design. Currently with Axsus Acquisition by Polar, Dikran also moved to Polar Racking as Director of Engineering.

Patrick Gossage

Patrick Gossage

Patrick has international experience working on a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. From 2012 – 2018 Patrick ran a renewable energy and energy efficiency company he founded in South Africa developing energy solutions for the built environment. Patrick moved back to Canada in 2018 to head up Heliene Solar’s Product Innovation department. He was responsible for the roll out of their Greenhouse Integrated Solar module and developed the business case for their off-grid EV charge stations. He subsequently led the multi-Residential team for Efficiency Capital’s innovative off-balance sheet financing solution to encourage greater uptake of energy efficiency initiatives in the built environment. Most recently joined First Green Energy as a partner on a mission to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.

Patrick completed his M.B.A. at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business and undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from Queens University. He has considerable consulting, business development and fundraising experience in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and impact investing.

Uzair Jamil

Uzair Jamil

Experienced Mechanical Engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the Energy, Automotive and Petrochemical industry, now doing PhD at The University of Western Ontario. Skilled in maintenance of rotating and static equipment along with its monitoring, analysis, diagnosis, and repair as well as troubleshooting. Well-versed with maintenance practices on steam turbines, boilers, multi-stage pumps, compressors, fans. Accomplished/lead Outages and several Projects at HubCO (Previously Engie/GDF Svez) including successful completion of 323 MW Turbine Retrofit with GE, feasibility study of conversion of RFO-fired boilers to coal, storage tanks inspection and repairs etc., while having previously completed Project VIGO/Fortuner (2016-17) at Toyota Indus Motor Company Ltd.. An Engineering Professional with a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) in Mechanical and Master of Engineering (M.E.) in Energy Systems from NED University of Engineering and Technology. Moreover, a Certified Energy Manager & Auditor from National Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (NEECA), Pakistan.

Zac Jolliffe

Zac Jolliffe

Zac Jolliffe manages business development at VCT Group. VCT is a Waterloo Region based company with expertise in solar construction and maintenance, project development, EV charging and renewable energy finance. VCT also has a custom line of solar canopies, with a patent pending on a water handling solution in the design.

Gabriella Lara

Gabriella Lara

Highly qualified executive professional, specialized in people and business administration, her main characteristic is being the ability to work in different areas. Graduated in business from Universidade Estácio de Sá, Ribeirão Preto SP. Currently co-founder at The Lara Costa INC developing sustainable landscape solution utilizing livestock as alternative to traditional machinery.

Rafael Lara

Rafael Lara

Entrepreneur, Animal Scientists graduated at University of São Paulo - USP, the most renowned university in Brazil, he has been in the agriculture for more than 15 years. Professional specialized in insuring and improving livestock productivity, creative problem solver and team management. Currently livestock manager at Schuylers Farms and cofounder at The Lara Costa INC. 

Kristopher Marr

Kristopher Marr

With 14 years in the renewable power industry, Kristofer is a recognized specialist with 9 years focused on utility-scale Photovoltaics. Currently, the O&M Site Supervisor at Grand Renewable Solar (130MWdc) with SMA Solar Technology, he's an ESA licensed Master Electrician (M.E), NABCEP board-certified (PVCMS), and a certified OACETT member. With a proven track record of sheep grazing and haying partnerships, Kristofer is committed to driving the implementation agrivoltaics on large scale solar projects.

 

Rhonda Millikin

Rhonda Millikin

Dr R.L. Millikin has 35 years’ experience as an ecologist with the Federal Government (Forestry Canada and then Environment and Climate Change Canada). She graduated in 2002 with a PhD from the Royal Military College, and 2 patents for passively tracking and identifying birds in 4 dimensions (x,y,z,t), using radar and acoustics. She formed EchoTrack Inc to apply the patents to Environmental Assessment, in Canada, USA and South Africa.

For the past two growing seasons, she has piloted an ecosystem sustainability approach to viticulture, which combines her expertise in ecology, Landscape Horticulture and Soil Biology. By recovering native habitat for Species at Risk, and the soil microbial community for the grapevines, she has managed pests without synthetic chemicals, and increased crop resilience to climate change.

She is inspired by the synchrony of this research with Agrivoltaics’ mandate.

Eric Muller

Eric Muller

As CanREA’s Director for Ontario, Eric Muller represents CanREA members and leads the Ontario Network to advance stakeholder advocacy and policy outcomes.

 Prior to joining CanREA, Eric worked in a variety of functions at Ontario Power Generation, QUEST Canada and the Independent Electricity System Operator. Eric holds a bilingual Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from York University. Outside of work, he spends time with his young family and enjoys outdoor activities. Eric is based in the Greater Toronto Area.

Soodeh Nikan

Soodeh Nikan

Dr. Soodeh Nikan is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University. Her research focuses on artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), computer vision, data analytics, and signal processing, which has made significant contributions to optimized deep/machine learning-based technologies for highly demanding and safety-critical areas. Dr. Nikan has been instrumental in advancing research on enhancing the safety of autonomous vehicles and intelligent mobility. She has been honoured with awards such as the NSERC and Mitacs Elevate/Accelerate for her research contributions. She has had the privilege of collaborating in the Homegrown Innovation Challenge in boosting food productivity and leads the design of computer vision and ML technologies to monitor strawberry growth within agrivoltaic vertical farming systems. Dr. Nikan has established collaborations with the National Research Center (NRC), Pi Electronics Inc., Vivosonic, Pulse Infoframe Inc. and ENDRA Life Sciences.  Her contributions extend far beyond research publications. The impact of her current research at Western University has garnered recognition in prominent media such as CTV London, Global Radio, and London Free Press. She had also the privilege to be a panel speaker at the "(Dis)Trust and AI: Perspectives from Across Disciplines and Sectors" event at Western, underscoring her commitment to multidisciplinary dialogues. Her dedication is underscored by her role as a Counselor for IEEE London Section Branch, active participation in the Technical Program Committee of International Conferences and as a reviewer for distinguished journals.

Kim Parker

Kim Parker

Kim Parker is President and CEO of Food Security Structures Canada. Kim is passionate about using her skills to help create sustainable food solutions for Canada's northern communities, urban food deserts, and at risk communities around the world.

Kim was raised on a small family farm in Southwestern Ontario, and knows how important our gardens were to our food security. Like her mother and grandmothers before her, she’s always had a garden to provide fresh vegetables for her family and knows the important role their harvests played to her family’s wellness.

She believes that everyone has the right to be able to access affordable, fresh, healthy food, and she’s excited to be able to help bring this innovative growing system to people everywhere.

 

Joshua Pearce

Joshua Pearce

Joshua Pearce is the John M. Thompson Chair in Information Technology and Innovation at the Thompson Centre for Engineering Leadership & Innovation. He holds appointments at Ivey Business School and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. His research spans areas of solar photovoltaic technology, open hardware, distributed recycling and additive manufacturing, policy and economics.

Joshua runs the Free Appropriate Sustainability Technology(FAST) research group. He has worked with, consulted for, and been funded by dozens of renewable energy and additive manufacturing companies as well as the US Government and the UN.

His research was the first to show that levelized cost of solar photovoltaic electricity was economically competitive in North America, the first to demonstrate that open hardware can save scientists 90-99% on research costs, and the first to show that household level distributed recycling and manufacturing were technically feasible, less environmentally harmful and profitable for consumers. His research is regularly covered by the international and national press and it is continually ranked in the top 0.1% onAcademia.edu. He is the editor-in-chief of HardwareX, the first journal dedicated to open source scientific hardware and the author of the Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs, Create, Share, and Save Money Using Open-Source Projects, and To Catch the Sun, an open source book on how to harness solar energy.

Joseph Santarelli

Joseph Santarelli

Joseph Santarelli supports Southwestern Ontario as a Senior Business Development Advisor for Mitacs, a nonprofit national research organization that, in partnerships with Canadian academia, private industry and government, operates research and training programs in fields related to industrial and social innovation. He has degrees in Mechanical and Civil Engineering from Western University and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Pillar Non-Profit Network and is Treasurer of their social finance program VERGE Capital.

Rob Sinclair

Rob Sinclair

Rob is President of EnerStrat Canada, an advisory firm focused on DER Integration, Smart EV Charging and Agrivoltaics. Rob has more than 10 years experience providing advice and leading strategic initiatives for private clients, utilities, the IESO and government. He helped develop Canada’s first distribution Non-Wires Alternative capacity market pilot, is working on solar/storage/EV integration projects and supports clients in strategically developing and optimizing the value of their DER assets. Prior to establishing EnerStrat, Rob led the IESO’s System and Sector Development group.

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