The Australian government agency for renewable energy, ARENA, has announced K731,000 (about $290,000) in funding for Canberra-based ECLIPS Engineering to design, manufacture and test its rapidly redeployable container roll out solar system (CROSS).
ARENA says pop-up mobile solar photo voltaic could soon replace diesel generators as temporary power supply for military operations, disaster relief efforts and other applications if this Australian-made innovation is used.
ARENA says CROSS is a factory assembled, relocatable solar array that has been developed to reduce the logistics challenges associated with deploying solar photo voltaic generators. Designed to fit inside a standard shipping container, the CROSS units can be stacked up to seven units high.
The K1.8 million ($703,468 )total project opens up markets not previously available to the renewables industry, including defence, disaster recovery, humanitarian, construction and temporary network augmentation.
The systems come available in 6m (20ft) and 12m (40ft) configurations, with a maximum output of 2175W and 4350W delivered in minutes ready for connection to an inverter.
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."
ECLIPS managing director Shaun Moore said that the original objective for CROSS was to improve power self-sufficiency for defence.
"One of our early objectives was to provide rapidly deployable utility scale PV generators to improve the self-sufficiency of Defence's deployed forward operating bases. Diesel consumption related to the provision of electricity can account for up to 70% of deployed forces' fuel usage and is a significant cost driver. More importantly, deploying CROSS to forward operating bases also reduces the frequency of convoys for fuel resupply, which reduces the threat to soldiers in contested environments.
"These same logistics efficiencies and benefits are transferable to commercial and utility customers in remote areas of Australia," he said.