Drake Landing Solar Community

The Drake Landing Solar Community (DLSC) is a planned community in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, with a central solar heating system and other energy efficient technology. This heating system is the first of its kind in North America. The 52 homes in the community are heated with a solar district heating system that is equipped with solar thermal energy storage (STES). The system was designed to model global warming and the burning of fossil fuels. The solar energy is captured by 800 solar thermal collectors located on the roofs of all 52 houses’ garages. It is billed in the North America, it is a source of electricity. In 2012 the installation achieved a record world solar fraction of 97%; that is, providing that amount of energy to the environment.

There are 52 homes in this subdivision that contain an array of 800 solar thermal collectors. These solar collectors are located on the roofs of garages located behind the homes. During a typical summer day these collectors can generate 1.5 mega-watts of thermal power. A glycol solution (an anti-freeze solution; a mixture of water and non-toxic glycol) is heated by the sun’s energy and energy through the use of heat and energy. This is known as Solar Collector Loop. The glycol solution then transfers its heat to water in the short-term storage tanks. The District Heating Loop begins with water being heated in the heat exchanger at a temperature of 40-50 ° C within the Energy Center. This lower temperature is more energy efficient, as solar collecting is more compatible with lower temperatures. This increases the total amount of heat available to each home. Borehole Thermal Energy Storage (BTES). The Borehole Thermal Energy Storage unit is 144 holes located below the ground and stretches over an approximate area of ​​in diameter. The water returns to the short-term storage tanks in the Energy Center to be heated again in complete circuit. During colder months the water from the BTES passes to the short-term storage tank and is then directed to each home. Similar to a hot water tank, the heated water goes through a heat exchanger that blows air across the warm fan coil. Heat travels from the water through ductwork.

The Energy Center Building is a 232 square meter (2.500 square feet) building which began operation in 2007. It is home to the world of heat exchangers, and controls. The Solar Loop Collector, the District Heating Loop, and the Borehole Thermal Energy Storage Loop pass through the Energy Center. Two horizontal water tanks occupy the majority of the space within the Energy Center. These tanks are in diameter and in length. The remaining space within the Energy Center houses pumps, valves, heat exchangers and other necessary equipment to operate and control the energy system. These tanks are known as Short-Term Thermal Storage (STTS).

The Borehole Thermal Energy System is located in the winter. It consists of 144 boreholes, which stretch to a depth of. At the surface are joined together in groups of six to connect to the Energy Center. The entire BTES is covered by a layer of insulation, on which a park is built. When the water is being stored, it is pumped through the pipe series. The heat is then transferred to the environment and to the Energy Center. When the homes need heat, water flows to the center of the BTES field and picks up the heat from the surrounding soil. The heating water then goes to the short-term energy tank in the Energy Center and is pumped through the District Loop Heating to the homes.

This project was conceived by Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY in partnership with governmental organizations and Canadian industries. Of the $ 7 million needed for this project

Homeowners were willing to pay for these energy efficient homes because it ensured high quality construction. ATCO Gas (an Alberta-based natural gas distribution company) was established at $ 60 per month for the homeowners at the Drake Landing Solar Community. With rising fuel costs, this was a powerful incentive for homeowners to support the DLSC project. Even if the project had failed, ATCO Gas would have replaced the special hot-water furnaces with traditional natural gas ones. There was limited risk to the homeowners and this one to support the project.

The 52 homes in Drake Landing Solar Community are certified to Natural Resources Canada’s R-2000 Standard and Built Green ™ Alberta Gold Standard.


A group of researchers from South Korea visited Drake Landing Solar Community in April 2012 to study the geothermal heating technology and how it can be applied to communities in South Korea, particularly ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The main focus of this research is on the economics and reliability of the technology.

On October 5, 2012 the DLSC set a new world record by covering 97% of space heating with solar thermal energy. In the 2015-2016 heating season, 100% of space heating needs were met with solar energy.

* List of energy storage projects