BAI radio tower goes off-grid and onto solar power

BAI Communications
Friday, 07 November, 2014

In a groundbreaking move, BAI’s Muswellbrook broadcast tower will turn its back on traditional energy, going off-grid to run entirely on solar power thanks to the introduction of advanced battery storage technology.

New South Wales’ Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment MP Leslie Williams was to attend the system launch on 7 November.

Photon Energy has designed and delivered the project in association with the German Energy Agency Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena) and BAI using predominantly German technology.

Set to become a benchmark for providing a complete power supply for remote locations, the pilot project ensures solar power is captured via 215 kWh of battery storage during daylight hours, enabling a constant 24-hour power supply to the commercial site.

BAI Group CEO Jim Hassell believes the project is a big step forward for the sector. “Primarily used for local radio broadcast, the Muswellbrook tower is also relied upon by local emergency services for communications during bushfires and floods,” said Hassell.

“The high quality of the German-engineered technology provides the reliability required in remote areas. BAI is excited to be at the forefront of integrating this advanced technology into the communications sector.”

Ultimately the test site demonstrates renewable energy can provide genuine savings for corporations running remote sites in Australia. BAI is considering a network-wide rollout of the technology across Australia.

Photon Energy Australia Managing Director Michael Gartner added, “Our vision is to take infrastructure off-grid with highly reliable solar power and battery storage. Not only does the storage technology provide off-grid power or remove grid reliance in the areas where the grid costs the most, but it does this cost-effectively and without fossil fuel emissions.

The system has been designed to be rugged and reliable with the choice of the highest quality Australian outback tested Q CELLS solar panels, SMA inverters and BAE batteries to provide maximum power and longevity in the toughest Australian conditions.

The 216 kWh of batteries can store enough energy to run the Muswellbrook antenna for up to 43 hours or enough energy for an electric passenger car to drive from Sydney to Melbourne and back.

If all chargers run at 100%, the batteries will fully charge in five hours and 32 minutes.

The tower will be powered by mostly ‘Made in Germany’ components; a 39 kWp solar power installation using 216 kWh of batteries and an 8 kVA diesel back-up system for emergencies. The technology includes 156 Q CELLS Q-PRO G3 255Wp solar panels, 72 BAE Secura PVV 2V 1500 Ah batteries (supplied by R+J batteries), 3 SMA 8.0H Sunny Island inverters and a Photon Energy 24/7 monitoring system.

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