NAIT grades develop "Solar-in-a-Seacan" to power remote industrial sites

NAIT grades develop

Published on October 29, 2018

Portable system tested on custruction trailers at Blatchford redevelopment

EDMONTON – NAIT Alternative Energy program grads have developed a system of solar modules that fit inside a shipping container, bringing green, low-cost power to construction and remote sites almost anywhere.

What started as a final project last year for classmates Csilla Harsasi and Aaron McGregor is now being tested on the Blatchford redevelopment site, powering trailers for site contractor Chandos Construction. The seacan and the 44 solar modules that can be stored inside it replace one large natural gas generator, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and saving fuel costs.

The system took only about two hours to install. It can withstand wind gusts of up to 60 kilometres per hour, making it an ideal power supply for construction projects, remote oilfield sites or even the Far North.

Harsasi and McGregor designed the portable system from a concept developed by Great Canadian Solar. Harsasi now works for the Edmonton-based company. They first tested it at the Edmonton Heritage Festival in August, helping organizers cut power costs and emissions. The system will remain at Blatchford until spring to test its performance.


  • The solar modules can be folded and stored on racks mounted inside the seacan.
  • The solar array and backup generator – which can run fully on biodiesel – generate enough power for one to two medium-sizes homes.


Solar in a box: Seacan project makes solar energy portable for remote industrial sites  
Watch the video


Csilla Harsasi, alternative energy technologist at Great Canadian Solar, NAIT Alternative Energy grad
“You don’t need to know anything about solar to use one of these and you don’t need one of us [experts] to set it up. It’s pretty much an off-the-shelf product.”

Clifton Lofthaug, founder and president, Great Canadian Solar
“To build green, this makes all the sense in the world. It’s going to cut down emissions significantly.”

About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With nearly 40,000 credit and non-credit students and a 95% employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are important to Alberta’s economy. NAIT helps create competitive organizations by offering services in technology adoption, business and product innovation and industry-driven research through its Productivity and Innovation Centre. 

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