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Energy and Innovation in Summerside a Success Story of Collaboration founded in Summerside PEI

Utilities around the globe understand the core problem with managing demand. Electricity demand fluctuates throughout the day, with peaks in usage in the morning and early evening. To manage these fluctuations, utilities need to run more generating stations, which significantly increases operating costs, requires more investment in new infrastructure and increases CO2 emissions. Summerside’s Utility, which has the same level of sophistication as utilities across the globe, face these challenges on a daily basis and finding ways to innovate and to further the adoption and adaptation of our grid system is a core strategic focus.

In Summerside, we have taken a unique approach to innovation and market validation of new technologies that can fundamentally address the challenges utilities face in managing a more diverse and intermittent source of generation as well as devices that put the non-manageable strain on the electric grid.

Enter Stash Energy and a partnership with The City of Summerside and their Living Lab Program, which became the genesis of their newfound market acceptance.
Problem: How to obtain market validation on unproven technology and develop critical market intelligence and business case experience. 

The founders of Stash Energy developed and pitched a cost-effective and eco-friendly, heating & cooling energy storage solution but needed a market to test and validate along with critical intelligence of working directly with a Utility, namely Summerside Electric. The technology is improving the way that energy is generated, delivered, and consumed with a traditional non-interactive consumer appliance. Energy Storage provides a solution to many of the problems that utility companies face, one of the largest being how to meet energy demands at peak times. Using renewable energy generation such as wind and solar requires energy storage devices in order to balance the mismatch between when energy is created vs when peak consumption occurs.

Promise from Summerside: Opening up our infrastructure and expertise as well as seed investment of $40,000 from The City of Summerside, purchase of two prototype units and provide free industrial space to set up a testing environment.  

Since March of 2017, along with the initial equity investment, expertise and free collocation facilities provided by Summerside to Stash, the City, and Stash have piloted through our living lab the foundation to ramp up validation and market adoption.

Proof: Accelerate the venture capital cash investment, accelerate the deployment of additional test units and ramp up production and market acceptance to full-scale deployment in under a year.

Fast forward to Spring 2018 and with some solid test results and mentoring with the City, Stash has reached another milestone: an envisioned outcome of the lab program with another round of equity investment from Island Capital Partners of $250,000 and an additional $250,000 from New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) to further full scale production of their Stash M1 Comfort System.

About Stash 

Stash Energy was founded in 2016 by 3 university students from the University of New Brunswick and continues to be led by Kennie (last name), COO Daniel Larson, and CTO Erik Hatfield. To learn more about Stash Energy visit their website at

“Summerside is pleased to have partnered and invested in Stash Energy,” a growing and innovative company said Bill Martin, Mayor City of Summerside. “Under our Living Lab Program, we were able to facilitate a unique partnership to accelerate bringing their product to market and provide important real-world testing with expert support in dealing with key supply chains to mitigate early market adoption challenges,” continued Mayor Martin. Summerside is a unique municipality that reduced the development timeframe and validation proof towards commercialization. “In Summerside we understand the challenges business face when developing and testing technology and our team is dedicated to reducing development time and validation, so businesses can get to market faster”, concluded Mayor Martin. “Stash Energy is an example of great technology, strong talent and innovative solutions for a complex energy market.”

Summerside’s Living Lab platform is founded on open and accessible infrastructure capable of accelerating enterprise and innovators commercialization cycle, assist with product/service evaluation and reduce research and development time. Access to key decision makers with quick turnaround times is a key feature of Summerside’s lab platform; we understand the speed of business.

Summerside’s living lab is premised on the following:

Problem: Technology driven businesses have challenges validating their technology in an infrastructure rich, real-world environment for the purposes of undertaking rapid testing, learning, prototyping and commercializing. The ability to provide credibility to the final consumer in the validation of their product offering is often the major barrier.

Promise from Summerside: If you are Interested in partnering with a municipality to reduce the development timeframe and validation proof towards commercialization and increase business cycles within a fail fast fail cheap environment, Summerside can deliver the ecosystem and networks to achieve commercialization success to assist in opening up North American markets.

Proof: The City has a robust and sophisticated environment and assets including an electrical company, renewable energy, and fibre networks available in an open and mutually beneficial collaborative model to support enterprise validation.

The Rise of the Smart City

The movement to transform cities into smarter ecosystems where technology and services mesh to deliver services, engagement and movement of products and services is on the rise. This trend is seeing significant investment and support nationwide as evidenced by Industry Canada launching the smart cities challenge, a competitive Pan-Canadian competition open to communities of all sizes envisioned to encourage communities to adopt a smart cities approach to improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology.

For Summerside, being a smart City is at the core of our being and is about the practicality of daily innovation and delivery of not only municipal services for our business and resident population but also to ensure our business community has the tools necessary to compete on the global stage. Be it from our innovative utility exploring more renewable and connected services to local business adding technology kiosks or self-serve stations to drive efficiencies.   

The value of investing in smart cities from municipal investment in fibre, renewable utility-scale generation or small business enhancing their e-commerce solutions is an everyday challenge and smaller cities are finding they have a much more important role to play.

In Summerside we have a great story to tell and one that is gaining traction with companies looking for a cluster of sophisticated infrastructure, customer support and networking that Summerside can offer. Whether a company is already doing business in North America or looking at North America as an expansion opportunity, Summerside is presenting a compelling business case for business growth. Companies are naturally drawn to larger markets in North America, but sometimes realize early the challenge of breaking into a crowded space, accessing key decision makers and being able to ramp up development (Technology or Products) quickly to support their expansion. 

The City of Summerside understands those challenges and possesses sophisticated infrastructure and networks that are technically no different than those of larger cities in North America. Summerside also offers a government and community that has the patience and capacity to provide custom business support and expertise as well as deep and widely reaching North American/International connections to help companies grow in partnership. This is a key differentiator for business looking to grow, introduce a new product or innovation and do it with the validation of a Municipal Partner that understands both the market challenges and key buying decisions processes. As an added bonus, companies in Summerside or prospects looking at North America are still able to grow and support those larger markets in Canada from Summerside, and do it in a cost-effective manner. Summerside has the added benefit of providing an amazing quality of life!

Tapping into International Support
It can be a daunting task to find the right market, the right partner and the right pathway to growing your business internationally. In Summerside, we have a history of global trade, support services to help companies tap into new markets and key partners dedicated to bringing confidence and stability to selling into new markets. Prince Edward Island exports in all sectors top over a billion dollars annually with Summerside industries playing a key role in the international market.

Exporting can have positive benefits for companies. Increasing sales and revenue, new markets exposure and forming new partnerships are all key factors in successful export initiatives. With all the opportunity in the global marketplace, navigating the global market can still present significant challenges and uncertainties. Statistically, companies engaged in export are shown to be more profitable, but it can be challenging without the knowledge and support systems in place.

Accessing assistance through partners dedicated to export support through both government and non-government institutions can present challenges but the depth and level of support is worth the effort and being prepared can help. Asking yourself a few questions about exporting can help to narrow your focus and determine if exporting is right for you. 
Things like
  1. Has the market I am interested been stable or consistent over the last few years?
  2. What are the consumer expenditures for products or services that I supply?
  3. Who are the key buying decision makers in the market I am looking at?
  4. What does my competition look like in this market?
  5. How will my pricing stack up?
  6. What are the cultural approaches I need to be cognizant of?
  7. What are the costs of getting my product to market and how can I manage logistics?
  8. Are there certifications I need in order to sell into this market?
  9. How can I get paid? 
And while not an exhaustive list of questions, rest assured there is a wide array of experienced professionals that can assist in your export opportunities. If you have an interest in exporting and want to learn more contact the Office of Economic Development and we can assist in networking, market intelligence and international business matchmaking.

Summerside … Feel The Energy
The Summerside economy is diverse and strong with a new breed of young Entrepreneurs poised to shape our future. Be it the hospitality Industry, our New Micro Brewery, Manufacturing, Aerospace, Information Technology or the organizations dedicated to supporting these new entrepreneurs, Summerside’s economy is on a positive path forward. Summerside is a story of possibilities, it’s a story of our people and it’s a story of our spirit. Now is the time to join the energy and be part of the possibilities in Summerside:
Check out our latest Video Summerside, Home of Big Possibilities! 

Think about Summerside and let’s have a conversation about big possibilities!

If interested in learning more about investment opportunities, economic development support or opportunities for growth, please call our Economic Development Professionals, we would love to chat.

Alternatively, you can email us at, it could be 
the most profitable email you ever send.

Michael Thususka
Director of Economic Development City of Summerside
275 Fitzroy Street, Summerside PE C1N 1H9
M: 902.432.0103, E:


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