A Canberra based engineering firm has won financial backing from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to trial the pop-up mobile solar solution it is hoping will help displace diesel generators as the go-to source of temporary power supply.
ARENA said on Tuesday that it had awarded $289,725 in grant funding for ECLIPS Engineering to design, manufacture and test its rapidly redeployable Container Roll Out Solar System (CROSS).
CROSS are factory assembled 20ft and 40ft relocatable ground mount solar panel arrays that can be stacked and transported in shipping containers, and unloaded and setup within minutes at a project site.
Each 20ft CROSS unit can provide up to 2.1kW of power, and can be stacked up to seven high in a single shipping container. The 40ft units can supply up to 4.3kW each and can also be stacked up to seven high.
The $703,468 ARENA-backed demonstration project aims to capture the attention of market sectors including defence, disaster recovery, humanitarian, construction and temporary network augmentation.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the CROSS units could see solar energy delivering temporary power is required in a remote location or an emergency situation.
“CROSS units can be deployed in off-grid and fringe-of-grid areas, displace or offset diesel consumption and improve the security of existing networks,” he said.
“These renewable options can reduce some of the barriers to entry for potential renewable power users in remote locations, including short project durations and where power systems need to be periodically relocated,” Frischknecht said.
“Renewable energy can provide an emissions-free, silent energy system that could replace diesel generators in the long run.”
But ECLIPS are not alone in Australia in using portable solar to target the temporary power market.
Sydney-based company SunSHIFT – a unit of contracting giant Laing O’Rourke and also a recipient of ARENA funding, as well as funding from the SA government – offers a similar product, which was recently selected by mining outift South32, with an order for a 3MW temporary solar farm for the Cannington silver and lead mine in north-west Queensland.
And another portable solar company, Adelaide-based 5B, claims to be able to install 100kW of ground mounted solar in a single morning – with just two people – and a “megawatt a week” through its “Maverick” solution. The company is now also looking to enter the large-scale utility market.