Vancouver’s Shift Clean Energy is switching the Malahat Nation to solar power

Its partnership with Solar Earth will help apply marine energy storage systems to land.

Credit: Malahat Nation

Its partnership with Solar Earth will help apply marine energy storage systems on land

There are worse places to be sitting than in Shift Clean Energy‘s Vancouver office, according to its founder and CEO Brent Perry. “We get a pretty unobstructed view of everything from Mount Baker on one side to the North Shore mountains on the other side, he describes over a phone call.

There are also worse positions to be in than Perry’s, career-wise. His company, which specializes in renewable marine energy storage solutions, just generated $5 million in sales for this fiscal year and is projected to bring in a whopping $55 million in the coming year. 

A key component of his business is building innovative batteries for marine travel. These batteries aren’t permanently installed on ships; instead, the company sells energy as a subscription by creating charging stations where vessels can dock and replenish their power for short trips. The team is deploying its first power swap system in the port of Singapore this month.

“We’re what I like to call ‘closet environmentalists,'” Perry says of Shift. As a previous shipbuilder himself, Perry understands the fear of technological change in the marine industry—he thought it would take 10 years for energy storage to even make a dent. But the financial and environmental benefits associated with it were so clear that it catapulted the adoption of Shift’s technology in marine travel. “We saw the financial value first and then the environmental impact is like the icing on the cake.” 

Now, through a partnership with Vancouver’s Solar Earth Technologies—which turns parking lots, sidewalks and all kinds of surfaces into renewable power-generating panels—Shift is working to transition the Malahat Nation‘s administrative operations to solar power. Through this project, Shift will apply its energy storage systems on land for the first time ever and prove that energy can be delivered to rural areas with zero emissions.  

“When it comes to renewable tech, nobody believes it until they see it,” Perry adds, pointing out that most remote communities in Canada are powered by diesel fuel. “So by building this and partnering with the Malahat Nation on this project, we’ll be able to demonstrate that this is real, you can touch it and it delivers value every day.”