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Legend’s SmartGATE cuts building overvoltage, reduces costs

On-site energy management company Legend Power Systems Inc. is approaching a milestone of 300 sal...

IMAGE: The SmartGATE system by Legend Power Systems. (Courtesy of Legend)

The SmartGATE system by Legend Power Systems. (Courtesy of Legend)

On-site energy management company Legend Power Systems Inc. is approaching a milestone of 300 sales of its SmartGATE systems to customers which include retailers, institutions, commercial and multi-family property owners.

Among its most recent sales, Legend sold three SmartGATE systems to an Ontario apartment building owner for buildings in London and  Kitchener in a transaction valued at just under $400,000.

The system reduces total energy consumption and power costs for property owners and operators, while maximizing the life of electrical equipment. It also contributes to corporate sustainability efforts and meeting utility energy efficiency targets.

“The Legend Power Systems team helps building owners and managers to overcome building-level effects of electrical grid volatility, which is a utility challenge that is being faced around the world,” said Legend marketing director Michael Davis.

Most buildings receive overvoltage because it’s difficult for electricity utilities to distribute power over vast distances using aging technology. Power dissipates over distance and user demand varies widely. Utilities across North America over-supply voltage to buildings on the grid to compensate.

This overvoltage increases the user’s power bill, adds wear and tear to electrical equipment, and produces more greenhouse gas emissions.

IKEA Canada, Oxford Properties, Peel District School Board, Starlight Investments, RONA, Canada Post, Canadian Tire, Humber College, Electronic Arts and Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport are among those that have purchased the SmartGATE system.

Seventy-five per cent of Legend’s almost 300 SmartGATE sales are part of multiple purchases of between two and 19 units.

“Often, additional orders follow a successful initial deployment and evaluation of a first SmartGATE unit,” said Davis. “Once customers see the results, they buy more.”

SmartGATE installation and costs

SmartGATE units range in size from 400 to 4,000 amps. Installing them in a building’s electrical room takes an average of eight hours, but can vary depending on complexity.

“Final costs can range anywhere from a minimum of $50,000 for a smaller, straightforward installation to $300,000 for something larger and more complex,” said Davis.

Users can also receive subsidies from utilities for installing SmartGATE. Incentives vary from region to region and are based on product performance. Davis said they typically range from 10 to 30 cents per kilowatt hour and can cover up to 50 per cent of the total capital cost of an efficiency project.

Savings vary by building, depending on its level of overvoltage and the composition of the loads. SmartGATE can be set to decrease voltage by between three and eight per cent.

Legend has also added surge suppression, online metering and energy-data analytics to SmartGATE in response to customer demand.

“Every Legend customer has saved money because, prior to purchase, the company does a rigorous review of their specific situation to ensure savings will be there,” said Davis. “This is all laid out in a detailed proposal.

“If the business case is not there for them, they may not proceed. For many, though, it isn’t just about energy savings. It’s about being as energy-efficient as possible because it’s also the right thing to do.”

In Ontario, multi-family building owners who invest in SmartGATE can apply for higher rent increases under the Province of Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board Rent Increase Guideline Program.

Legend’s financial picture

Vancouver-based Legend (LPS-X) employs 37 people and also has offices in Toronto, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and New York City. It went public in July 2008 and effectively spent several years as a research and development company.

Legend has a market cap of $48.68 million and its stock has traded between 22 and 80 cents over the past year. Its stock price closed at 37 cents on May 29.

Davis said Legend wasn’t satisfied with its pace of growth in late 2018 and early 2019, but has implemented significant changes which are having a positive impact.

“Legend’s focus day-to-day is on building the business and, if we continue to do well by our customers, we anticipate that the stock market valuation will follow our business success.

“Legend is well-financed to aggressively invest in the sales, marketing and business development activities they feel are critical to achieving growth targets and delivering superior customer value. Our future plans include expansion into at least five other USA regions over the next 18 months and continually developing leading-edge, customer-centric features for our energy management system.”

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