Necessity is the mother of invention — a proverb that dates back to Plato. For Connie Stacey, that necessity came in the form of keeping two fussy babies sound asleep one night in Grande Prairie back in 2013.
“When [my children] were about three months old, I was taking them for a walk in the stroller to put them to sleep and I passed by a house. They were running a generator and I thought, ‘If you wake these babies, I swear I’m going postal,’” Stacey says through a laugh.
It was an “a-ha” moment for Stacey.
“It just got me thinking, ‘Why do we use diesel generators?’” Stacey says. “They’re expensive, loud and everyone hates them.”
Three years later, in the spring of 2016, Stacey and her company — then called Growing Greener Innovations and now called Grengine — released their first product. The result was a small, solar generator.
Today, Grengine has grown to 20 people and a 27,000-square-foot battery manufacturing facility in Edmonton that produces lithium-ion battery packs that Stacey says are completely scalable, meaning they can serve the needs of a diesel generator and much, much more.
“The whole system is modular. You can literally power one person camping or an entire city. It’s the same system, you can just stack more batteries and connect as many solar panels as you like.”
While there aren’t any cities running entirely on Grengine power, there are already sizeable applications in the works.
“We’re in final contracting with a client for installation at a uranium mine,” Stacey says. “They lose a lot of money from power outages. Putting in our system will save them money. It’s a $10 million system and it will pay for itself in 90 days.”