Happy Cones: A cool student solar-powered ice cream trailer
Happy Cones is a solar-powered ice cream trailer created, owned, and operated by high school students,
and designed to promote the incredible benefits of solar energy while providing youth summer employment.
Antigonish, Nova Scotia, July 2021 -- Happy Cones, the solar-powered ice cream trailer is the creation of Nicky Nicholson, a grade 9 student at Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Nicholson, the owner, and operator of Happy Cones developed the solar-powered portable ice cream trailer to provide summer youth employment for herself and her high school classmates. With the help of her family, she purchased a small aluminum trailer (5' x 8'), a 15 cubic ft. storage freezer, and constructed a serving counter with storage to accommodate the sinks, a potable water supply, a small water pump, and a water heater. Happy Cones is a registered Nova Scotia business and certified as a Class 1 Mobile Vending Food Establishment. The ice cream trailer has a 3000-watt solar power unit to run the equipment and a local fabricator added the trailer sides and roof so it can safely support the 4 x 100-watt solar roof panels.
Happy Cones is a 100% solar-powered ice cream trailer however its benefits go far beyond scooping ice cream.
Nicholson say’s, “It’s a wonderful educational, promotional, and marketing tool for the incredible benefits of solar energy to our town, community, province, and all of Canada. With our signage and branding, we promote and support our wonderful sponsors, Efficiency Nova Scotia, Clean NS, Brilliant Labs, Indigenous Clean Energy, Nova Scotia Power, Celcold, Scotsburn Joins Farmers, and RBC, each of which have contributed to the solar project. We have also had the great support of St. Francis Xavier University, Innovation and Enterprise Centre - Girls Mean Business Program.” Nicholson participated in the eight-week summer program offered through St. FX for girls aged 14 - 19 living in Antigonish who are interested in entrepreneurship. The program teaches young girls about the various aspects of running their own micro-business including design, marketing, sales, and launching their business into action. This is where she created and developed her idea for Happy Cones.
She partnered with her local radio station, 989 XFM, to get her message out and with the great advantage of being "off-grid" and fully mobile, Happy Cones developed a highly visible sales and location plan which includes daily visits to shopping malls, parks, playgrounds, and high traffic areas. In addition, she participates in her local and surrounding communities' social, recreational, and sports events and activities (i.e., fairs, exhibitions, markets, Highland Games and St. FX sports and summer camps etc.). Owen McCarron, Warden for the Municipality says, “We are very pleased to support Happy Cones, a true ambassador and champion in our community for solar power and energy efficiency”. Mayor, Town of Antigonish, Laurie Boucher also said, “We’re so happy to see young entrepreneurs thinking green and keeping community sustainability top of mind. Happy Cones has shown how the great benefits of solar power can be used in creative ways and is a model for all of us to consider using solar to reduce our carbon footprint”.
With the wonderful and generous support of her sponsors, Nicholson launched the Happy Cones solar-powered ice cream trailer on July 8th, 2021. Happy Cones will not only create youth summer employment for many years to come but also promote energy efficiency, solar power, and care for our environment in a unique, fun, and educational way! Happy Cones is the first solar-powered ice cream trailer in Nova Scotia and quite possibly the first in all of Canada!
Happy Cones also received funding from the Municipality of the County of Antigonish and wishes to thank 989 XFM as media sponsor for their outstanding promotional support and assistance.
To learn more about Happy Cones contact: Peter Nicholson Tel: 902-870-6460
For information about Brilliant Labs project funding and support for youth and teachers contact Jeff Willson, Executive Director. T. 506-442-9059 | Email Jeff@brilliantlabs.ca