Pine Tree Park Solar Garden

Pine Tree Park Solar Garden

Pine Tree Park Solar Garden

New Dawn Enterprises is aware of the need to lower community energy consumption in service of greenhouse gas reductions and climate change mitigation, and to lower energy costs for residents. In partnership, New Dawn and the Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment, New are proposing a 700-kW solar garden for New Dawn’s Pine Tree Park Estates low-income residential community. 

This project has two ambitious targets: (1) net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and (2) net-zero energy. The property will no longer use any fossil fuels for heat or electricity and the solar garden (with reduced consumption via retrofits) will meet 100% of the properties annual electricity/thermal demand.

Pine Tree Park Estates

Pine Tree Park Estates (former Lingan Road Radar Base) has long been an asset with great potential. The property – comprised of 80 acres with many unused but serviced lots – presently houses largely community non-profits (Elizabeth Fry, New Dawn Guest Home, New Dawn Home Living, Bridge Club) and a mix (age, income, occupation, etc.) of residents. 

Specifically, Pine Tree Park Estates is comprised of housing (28 homes in duplex construction), an assisted living home (30 care beds), a private care home, the Schooner Curling Club, and Elizabeth Fry Society (housing for participants).

The Verschuren Centre (VC) for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment

The Verschuren Centre (VC) for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment is an industrial solutions, development, and deployment centre, advancing sustainable resource management in our key fields of expertise – renewable energy, bioprocessing, aquaculture, and nano materials. It is located on the Cape Breton University campus.



This project includes and is accomplished via three phases.

  1. As is required in each home, replace oil furnaces with heat pumps, apply spray foam insulation in attics and basements, apply air sealing, apply hot water tank wraps, and upgrade electrical services. Energy consumption will be reduced by more than 50%.
  2. Install a 700-kW community solar garden to meet 100% of Pine Tree Park Estates’ annual electricity demand.
  3. Install monitoring equipment to track the buildings’ energy consumption after the retrofits. This will achieve segmented data on energy consumption based on end use, for example: space heating, domestic hot water, appliances and can facilitate demand control investigation. Data will be used to improve future energy efficiency retrofits and community solar garden projects. Nova Scotia Power will be responsible for installing the smart meters (under previously approved capital expenditures).

Project Outcomes

  1. Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions for/by 28 residential and 5 community non-profit buildings 
  2. Lowering energy consumption and creating long-term predictability in energy costs for both New Dawn its tenants   
  3. Testing and refining a replicable green energy (community solar garden) model for implementation at various scales elsewhere in NS; generating a sustainable new model for greenhouse gas reduction in Nova Scotian communities   
  4. Designing and executing a large-scale community-based research project between the Verschuren Centre and New Dawn Enterprises that both creates new knowledge and enhances the well being of the community 
  5. Engaging through this project with Nova Scotia’s Clean Foundation (facilitating efficiency retrofits) and Nova Scotia Power (facilitating smart meters and benefitting from the electrification of heat via a net metering model).

Project Timeline: 28 months 

Project Start: August 2020

Project Completion: December 2022

Current Phase: Residential retrofits 


Project Contact: 

Keith Nicholson

Manager, New Dawn Properties

Phone: 902-539-9560

E-mail: [email protected]