BAI to trial solar power on NSW telecom antenna tower

BAI Communications
Wednesday, 16 July, 2014

Solar power solutions provider Photon Energy has teamed up with German Energy Agency (dena) and Australia’s BAI for a pilot project to pioneer the use of renewable energy for communications infrastructure in remote locations.

Photon Energy will install a 215 kWh solar PV powered battery system that will replace the current power system of a broadcast antenna near Muswellbrook in NSW, operated by BAI.

The tower will store solar power during daylight hours and provide a constant 24-hour power supply from the battery system and back-up generator.

Once successfully tested the concept could be implemented on thousands of sites across Australia. Details about the project can be found at www.solaroffgrid.info.

Jim Hassell, BAI Group CEO, said, “We’re thrilled to be involved in this ground-breaking project. As a service provider that relies heavily on external market forces, it’s exciting to think that soon we’ll be able to generate much of our own power.

“The longer-term outcome of this project will prove beneficial for our customers in many ways, as we’ll be able to provide them with a lower carbon footprint, more cost certainty and improved reliability against the grid in remote locations,” added Hassell. “We’re looking forward to assessing the outcomes of this project for a potential future network-wide implementation.”

“Having been selected by dena to implement this innovative solar PV battery power supply is a great step forward for solar power to provide a complete clean and economically viable power supply for remote sites,” says Michael Gartner, managing director of Photon Energy Australia. “dena has shown confidence in our solution and it is great success for us.

“The potential for solar PV in the replacement of conventional energy sources is substantial and will bring cost benefits and emissions savings for Australia in the coming years and decades,” Gartner added.

The tower will be powered by a 39 kWp solar power installation using 215 kWh of batteries and a 8 kVA diesel back-up system for emergencies. The technology - 96 solar panels, 24 BAE batteries (supplied by R+J batteries), 3 SMA inverters and a monitoring system - is mostly made in Germany.

Photon Energy has already installed several rooftop power plants in Australia and has recently presented a standardised financing option to unlock the commercial PV market for business customers.

“We are thrilled that we can show how to incorporate solar PV into any given energy system and prove that using abundant sunlight for your own power consumption is the way forward,” said Gartner.

Photon Energy secured funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) as part of dena’s worldwide Renewable Energy Solutions Programme coordinated by dena and co-financed by BMWi.

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