Mobile Solar PVs can now replace diesel generators for disaster relief and military operations

Diesel generators as a temporary power supply for military operations, disaster relief efforts and music festivals could soon be replaced by mobile solar PVs.

An Australian-made innovation, CROSS is a factory assembled, relocatable solar array that has been developed to reduce the logistics challenges associated with deploying solar PV generators.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $289,725 in funding for Canberra-based ECLIPS Engineering to design, manufacture and test its rapidly deployable Container Roll Out Solar System (CROSS). This is on behalf of the Australian government.

Designed to fit inside a standard shipping container, the CROSS units can be stacked up to seven units high. The system also come available in 20ft and 40ft configurations, with a maximum output of 2,175W and 4,350W delivered in minutes ready for connection to an inverter.

The $703,468 total project opens up markets not previously available to the renewables industry, including defense, disaster recovery, humanitarian, construction and temporary network augmentation.

“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,” ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht 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,” Mr. Frischknecht said.

“Renewable energy can provide an emissions-free, silent energy system that could replace diesel generators in the long run.”

Managing Director of ECLIPS Shaun Moore said that the main purpose of CROSS was to improve power self-sufficiency for defense.

“One of our early objectives was to provide rapidly deplorable 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.

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