The fund seeks to support the growth of an intelligent electricity infrastructure that uses technology such as sensors, monitoring, automation and computers to improve efficiency.
Energate will partner with local distribution companies and install smart energy management displays in up to 1,000 homes across the province during the next 18 months. The displays will allow consumers to control their home energy use with smart thermostats, mobile smartphone applications, energy "dashboards" and Web portals.
The province's funding will be met with an in-kind match from Energate totalling $5.8 million, and will help to commercialize Energate products and technology for broad consumer use.
"Smart grid technologies are the digital way of the future," stated Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley. "It's like taking our energy infrastructure from rotary phone technology to that of a smart phone. Projects like Energate's will also help develop the talents and skills Ontarians need for the jobs of tomorrow. When cutting edge technologies and expertise are cultivated in the province, everybody wins."
A total of 60 jobs will be created by the project, according to the ministry's website.
Participants using Energate's technology in previous pilot projects were able to reduce their peak demand by 50 per cent and in some cases reduce their overall monthly bill by up to 30 per cent, according to the company.
"Energate is pleased that the ministry has recognized the importance of providing Ontarians with advanced technology to control their home energy use," said Niraj Bhargava, Energate's CEO in a statement. "The benefits of Ontario's smart grid can truly be realized by providing consumers and utilities with the tools they need to easily and effectively manage home energy use."
Six distribution companies have committed to participating in the project, including Cambridge & North Dumfries Hydro, Hydro One, Hydro Ottawa, Peterborough Utilities, PowerStream and Veridian Connections.
Founded in 2004, Energate offers home energy management solutions and is headquartered in Ottawa with offices in California, Illinois, Texas and Toronto. More than 20 utility customers in the United States have adopted Energate's smart thermostat technology.