Bluewater Energy leads the way to a sustainable future
July 28, 2021
Passionate and goal-oriented is how I would describe Wil Beardmore of Bluewater Energy. I (virtually) sat down for a discussion of his company and his work to know more about one of the leaders of sustainability here in Canada. Bluewater Energy is based in Guelph, Ontario and specializes in installing solar energy equipment on both residential and commercial buildings.
Sustainability is a concept that has been on Wil's mind since his childhood, which also inspired the name of his company. Growing up in Ontario, he was never too far from Lake Ontario, but just far enough to prevent him from enjoying it: regulations banned swimming in the water. The natural environment became a safety hazard due to human actions. Something needed to change.
While swimming is allowed in parts of Lake Ontario today, it remains one of the most polluted out of the five Great Lakes due to the other lakes flowing into it. In various areas of the lake, people are banned from entering; fish in the lake have been known to have higher levels of mercury, leading to restrictions on the amount that is safe to eat. Wil questioned how human development could be so unsustainable that it destroyed the environment around us; however, it also inspired him to take charge and be a part of the solution to transform the community. His vision would eventually lead to the Bluewater Energy name: not only from Wil's personal experiences, but also as inspiration to create a new world for the future: clean and sustainable.
Leading up to his current position of running his own company, Wil (the red-shirted gentleman on the right in the photo) studied Environmental Engineering at the University of Guelph, served in the Canadian Armed Forces as an infantry officer for 20 years, worked at Cintas Canada for 5 years, then established Bluewater Energy. His current work focuses on the capabilities of solar energy for a sustainable future by developing a home system for energy production and storage—a home ecosystem that allows for monitoring and optimizing usage. Whether the energy is used for the home, EV charging, or stored for use during power outages, it is all part of one interconnected system.
So what was the appeal of solar energy? A myriad of reasons all revolved around the concept of being sustainable. Solar energy is a renewable source, meaning the energy produced is clean with minimal carbon emissions. Using solar panels also provides the benefits of generating your own energy and so relying less on the municipal grid, allowing owners to be more independent. Excess energy is stored in a battery for around-the-clock use and can also be sold to the grid.
While typical solar energy production generally only involves installing the panels, Bluewater Energy ensures customer satisfaction by providing quality equipment, from solar panels to batteries and backup generators for either residential or commercial projects. What started from an interest in the Tesla Model S electric car grew into certification as a Tesla partner, with Wil’s company offering services to install the Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwall in Canada. Both products form an integrated energy system: energy produced by the Solar Roof is stored in the Powerwall, allowing for 24/7 electricity use in any condition. The systems that Bluewater Energy installs monitor the amount of energy being produced and used and optimize it, determining the electricity source (grid or solar) currently being used, the amount of energy currently stored in the battery, and so on. When coupled with an electric vehicle, the home and car operate as one, seamlessly. The system also allows for peace of mind during power outages, allowing homes to stay running even when the grid shuts off the supply.
The solar energy business does not come without some challenges. Provincial restrictions currently limit the solar array size eligible for net metering to 10 kilowatts (kW). In comparison, some provinces allow up to 150 kW. A net metering program allows homes using renewable energy sources to transfer excess energy production to the municipal distribution system in exchange for credits to reduce their bills. The 10 kW limit disincentivizes the home retrofit investment. With more community involvement, virtual net metering can be established, allowing homeowners to subscribe and share in solar energy generation without installing panels themselves—popularizing solar energy even further.
Solar energy production can be expensive despite the benefits, but Wil’s vision is to justify the expense by offering a high-quality working system while making it more accessible and affordable to all homeowners. As solar energy becomes more popular and accessible, the transition away from fossil fuels and other non-renewable sources will become more streamlined.
Bluewater Energy is paving the way for the future of energy production. Led by the Canadian Renewable Energy Association, with its mission to help reduce dependence on non-renewable energy and to ensure that renewables “play a central role in transforming Canada’s energy mix”, companies and organizations innovating sustainable technology for future generations are transforming the ways we treat the environment and control our homes.
David Ma, OEG Marketing Coordinator and Summer Student Intern