News Summary:

  • Cisco and Morgan Solar are piloting a project that powers collaboration and meeting spaces with solar energy.
  • The design leverages Morgan Solar’s Energy Blinds – photovoltaic, algorithmically controlled window shades that capture clean, solar energy – and Cisco’s Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switch, which helps distribute energy within the room, along with integrations into Webex.
  • This solution offers opportunities for businesses to think differently about their path to net zero, unlocking innovative approaches that can be used in commercial office spaces to help advance sustainability goals through technology.

TORONTO, April 22, 2024 — Today, Cisco and Morgan Solar, a Toronto-based company that specializes in solutions for integrating solar energy into urban environments, have announced a pilot project to power collaboration and meeting spaces with solar energy.

The first pilot project is currently deployed at Cisco’s Toronto Innovation Centre with plans to include two additional customer sites. The concept leverages Morgan Solar’s Energy Blinds, capturing clean, solar energy in a direct current (DC) microgrid, and Cisco’s Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switch, which helps to distribute energy within the room. Cisco’s Webex platform is also integrated and detects when the room is not in use to help maximize energy generation and minimize energy consumption.

“To take meaningful steps towards a sustainable future, businesses need to think creatively about how to get there,” said Wayne Cuervo, Director of Cisco Canada’s Digital Impact Office. “Collaborating with forward-thinking companies like Morgan Solar, we’re driving the development of smart solutions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from traditional energy generation technologies and giving businesses new pathways towards sustainability.”

The initial results show production of up to 50W of renewable energy per window, enough to effectively run the pilot room’s required equipment and devices. When the room is not occupied, the system stores excess solar energy to use later when needed or for use during peak times when energy from the grid may be more expensive. If expanded across office spaces, the solution could enable greater energy efficiency and on-site energy generation than rooftop solar alone.

Beyond sustainability considerations, the pilot project intends to support tangible business value, including cost savings and enhanced productivity. It may also help lower the cost path towards U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in older buildings.

Canada, like many nations, has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The Cisco-Morgan Solar concept represents new thinking on how innovative technology solutions can contribute to national sustainability goals. As stakeholders look for pragmatic solutions to address climate change, technology can unlock new opportunities for growth and environmental stewardship in Canada and around the world.

“We’re committed to creating solutions that make solar energy more accessible to organizations and are working with Cisco to make that happen,” said John Paul Morgan, President and Chief Technology Officer at Morgan Solar. “Energy flow through windows is the main driver of a building’s energy use. Actively managing and capturing sunlight at the window paves the way for offices to become more self-powered and sustainable, while also being more comfortable spaces for people to work in.”

This initiative was born from Morgan Solar’s winning submission in Cisco’s Fast Future Innovation Awards in 2022 and funded through Cisco Canada’s Country Digital Acceleration Program. Grounded in the understanding that innovation cannot thrive on its own, through this awards program, Cisco dedicates its resources, expertise and scale to help solve challenges faced by Canadian businesses.

Cisco’s Net Zero Goals

Cisco has been reporting on its environmental impact since 2005. In 2021, Cisco set a goal to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions across our value chain by 2040. Our goal includes all scopes of emissions and is approved by the Science Based Targets initiative under its Corporate Net-Zero Standard, the world’s only framework for corporate net zero target setting in line with climate science. In Cisco´s fiscal year 2023, Cisco consumed more than 1.3 million MWh of renewable electricity, making up approximately 91 per cent of its total global electricity demand, including sourcing 100 per cent of the electricity used at Cisco facilities in Canada from renewable sources.

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