Having easy access to renewable energy sources is something that communities and businesses in urban areas take for granted. Australia is an expansive landmass, with many communities that are isolated and far from the grid. These remote areas have traditionally relied on diesel-fuelled remote power stations, facing challenges associated with complicated diesel delivery logistics, high running costs and the devastating impact of carbon emissions.
For remote or mobile operations, such as agriculture, telecommunications, construction, mining, fire and emergency services or waste and water processes, access to reliable energy is critical. Many of these services rely on diesel generators for power, needing the flexibility to move between different sites as work dictates.
As the country moves towards a zero-carbon future, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar farms are being installed across the country. However, many remote communities or mobile operations are not serviced by these renewable energy sources and, until recently, were left with few options other than diesel generators.
Traditionally, off-grid power systems were complicated and expensive to install, with a high barrier to entry for consumers. Many would simply opt for the most convenient solution available – diesel generator power – despite its drawbacks in relation to ongoing costs and emissions. Others would go without power altogether.
However, innovations in off-grid solar and battery storage solutions are changing this. ‘Plug-and-play’ off-grid solar systems are designed to be easy to install and use, with minimal setup time and no specialist knowledge required. They can be used in conjunction with or as a replacement for diesel generators, providing an affordable and sustainable alternative for remote communities and worksites.
French start-up Ecosun Innovations has recently partnered with an Australian-owned and operated compressed air and power company, CAPS Australia (CAPS), to deliver a range of mobile plug-and-play solar solutions to the Australian market.
The CAPS Mobile solution is a solar power generator in the form of a shipping container that comes pre-wired, pre-connected together with batteries. The container is fitted with an insulated, air-conditioned control cell, helping to extend the lifespan of the unit’s components. The system can be paired with CAPS’ existing range of power generators, or used on its own or included in a 100% renewable installation.
The unique setup can be rapidly deployed in less than 2 hours, making it ideal for use in isolated areas or ad hoc needs. Unlike other hybrid systems that require considerable on-site install and commissioning, the product adopts a “plug and play” concept that doesn’t require any specialist labour or technical knowledge to install.
CAPS Australia has been providing backup power solutions to their customers across a broad range of industries for more than 40 years. From remote mine and construction sites to military operations and agriculture, CAPS has seen it all when it comes to the requirement for off-grid power. While diesel power generators have been the mainstay of their power generation business, CAPS understands the need to transition towards sustainable energy sources.
CAPS National Sales Manager – Power Generation, Nester DeNiese, shared how the partnership with Ecosun is helping CAPS and their customers in the transition towards more efficient and renewable sources of energy.
“CAPS is evolving our product range to stay relevant and successful for the next 40 years. We know that businesses are increasingly looking for cleaner, more sustainable energy solutions and we want to be at the forefront of that change within our industry.”
“The partnership between Ecosun and CAPS provides a unique opportunity to combine the latest in off-grid solar and battery technology with more than four decades of power generation experience,” said DeNiese.
“Our in-house manufacturing facility here in Perth allows us to deliver fully-customised and reliable off-grid power systems that are easy for customers to use and maintain.”
Heavy users of diesel generators, particularly in the mining and construction industries, are beginning to see the value of investing in solar power for their remote operations.
In addition to being a far more environmentally-friendly alternative to diesel generators, off-grid solar and battery storage systems are up to 5 times cheaper than diesel generators in terms of the kWh cost.
Reliability is undoubtedly a very important consideration for businesses when it comes to their power needs. Because solar panels on their own are not always sufficient to meet power demands, integrating battery storage into an off-grid solar system is critical. This allows businesses and communities to have access to reliable power, regardless of weather conditions. For additional peace of mind, users can opt to integrate a diesel generator to back up the off-grid system if necessary.
As off-grid renewable technology evolves, the reliance on diesel for mobile and remote applications will continue to diminish. While we are not yet at a point where businesses or communities can eliminate the need for diesel generators, innovations such as CAPS’ mobile solar solution can drastically reduce fuel consumption and costs while helping to transition towards a more sustainable future.
For more information on CAPS’ mobile solar solution and other solar products, please visit https://www.caps.com.au/solar-panel-solutions/