How Markham Renewable Tech Company TROES is Enabling the Future of Microgrids

Nov 07, 2023

In the not-too-distant future, electricity will come from microgrids – small grids with their own generation capacity, primarily from renewable energy, that are located close to the electricity users. They’ll connect in a network, trading excess power and storing reserves for moments when generation isn’t possible. It’ll revolutionize the way we use energy.

We’re not there yet. But Markham-based renewable energy innovator TROES Corp. hopes to expedite this microgrid future, says Dennis dos Santos, CFO and senior vice president of corporate development. “Our business is built around servicing and enabling that microgrid to evolve into mainstream.”

Essentially, microgrids have four components, explains dos Santos: energy generation, storage, control systems, and smart distribution. “Where we focus is on the middle two segments – the storage and the computer software.” TROES Corp. has designed and built a line of battery energy storage systems and the technology to manage those systems smoothly.

The company was founded in 2018 by Vienna Zhou at the Markham-based tech hub and incubator, ventureLAB. Seeing promise in the concept, Dos Santos joined a few months later. He says ventureLAB was integral in the early days, providing the essentials: space, internet, and coffee. But more importantly, ventureLAB hosts a community of entrepreneurs with diverse perspectives and goals. “The idea is that by being around other innovators and startups, you collaborate with them and build your network,” says dos Santos. “Of course, COVID got in the way of those kinds of activities.”

But it gave them the start they needed. Since 2011, ventureLAB has supported over 3,100 companies and those companies have raised a combined $275 million. This past year, TROES Corp. transitioned to its own space, still in Markham. Dos Santos says the city feels right for the business. “We have a good relationship with the mayor, he’s always been very vocal about the company and shows up to our events,” he says. But there’s an even deeper draw to the high tech city: a new industrial development will allow TROES Corp. – which currently has clients in the Caribbean and pending partnerships in Africa – to build a domestic factory, onshoring its current operations. “Our focus is North America,” he says. “The vision for being able to grow and expand within Markham.”

He also likes the prospects for adding local talent to TROES’ team, which currently stands at 20 people. “We work closely with York University and the colleges,” says dos Santos. Markham has the largest concentration of tech firms per 1,000 residents among Canadian tech hubs with a population greater than 250,000.

Looking forward, TROES has set its sights on reaching $100 million in sales. “The goal of the next five years is to put in place the team, the systems, the capacities, and the infrastructure to deliver $100 million in sales a year… that will make us a significant player in the space,” says dos Santos. “(We’re trying to) build a global champion in new energy – that’s how we define ourselves.”