Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) reportedly committed $2.1 million in support of the commercialisation of a 1-megawatt relocatable solar farm that is being developed by SunSHIFT.
But the government funding isn’t a donation – the Australian Financial Review says the funding will be repaid with royalties from future profits, assuming SunSHIFT becomes profitable.
A lot of isolated communities throughout Australia are now relying on renewable energy, as are mining companies that are trying to cut energy costs in off-grid operations.
SunSHIFT is a modular and moveable solar farm solution designed for large-scale on-grid and off-grid electricity generation applications. It can operate in a stand-alone arrangement or be integrated with diesel generators and energy storage.
The system uses SunPower solar panels integrated into prefabricated container-sized frames that can be easily clicked together.
“SunSHIFT’s pre-engineered and pre-fabricated container-sized modules minimize the risk, time, and site resources required to deploy a solar farm,” states the company, a subsidiary of global engineering and construction firm Laing O’Rourke.
“Unlike traditional solar farms, SunSHIFT systems can be easily moved, allowing future expansion, rearrangement, or removal.”
In 2014/2015, a pilot scale of the system was deployed successfully, with a $450,000 funding from ARENA.
The pilot solar-diesel plant, with advanced control systems, took a week to set up. Packing it up took four days with just four people.
SunSHIFT also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SunPower late last year to develop and deliver off-grid solar opportunities in Australasia, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia.