Off-grid renewable power for remote sites

Off-grid renewable power for remote sites

Off-grid renewable power for remote sites

Typically, contractors working on remote sites, off-grid use a diesel generator – an approach we all recognise can be both noisy and polluting, as well as expensive.

Jackson has been researching solutions to solve this dilemma and engaged a sustainable electric power company called EV3 Power to develop a portable off-grid renewable power supply. The result is called Solartainer Versatile.

It is, in effect, a shipping container that has been adapted to hold an array of 4kWh solar panels that can be transported to any location and positioned to face south to optimise the amount of sunlight it receives. It integrates renewable energy and lithium-ion battery storage with a 40 kVA back-up diesel generator – a set-up that we believe will significantly reduce fuel consumption and CO2, as well as NOx and SO2 particulate emissions.


What did we do differently?

What did we do differently?While small portable solar packs and arrays have been available for some years, what is new about Solartainer Versatile is that it can synchronise several units to ramp up power generation and store the solar energy produced.

Another exciting innovation is the ability to load balance the battery power, so the energy generated can be used not only to power on-site facilities, such as office lighting and computers, the drying room and canteen but also to charge electric vehicles, such as hybrid cars or small electric plant that we are starting to see employed on sites.  Jackson is launching a trial with the Solartainer in mid-March on two Environment Agency sites near Wainfleet on the Lincolnshire coast where we will be using it to run the facilities and a full electric 2.6tn telehandler forklift vehicle.

The performance of the Solartainer is monitored online, so any faults or power surges can be identified early. It can also be configured so that when the battery is depleted to a certain point, the standby generator will automatically kick-in to top up the battery.  Monthly energy performance certificates are produced, which will give us information about carbon and financial savings.

With solar panels, maximum efficiency is reached during the summer when the sun is shining stronger and for longer. Therefore, on cloudy days and during winter, the work teams can draw on the battery storage system and then the back-up generator.

Estimates generated by EV3 ahead of the Wainfleet scheme suggest that on a monthly basis the Solartainer solution could reduce fuel consumption by 3,830 liters compared with the traditional approach of running a 60kVA generator 24 hours per day. This equates to a reduction of 10,270 kg CO2 emissions each month and a £1,200 monthly cost-saving including the hire cost. Calculations are based on an average UK day. Some of the benefits include:

  • autonomous off-grid power supply
  • reduced environmental impact and carbon footprint
  • a direct replacement for diesel generators
  • charging of electric vehicles
  • remote energy management and live reporting
  • all units are ‘renewables ready’ for additional solar PV panels and 1.2kWh wind turbines
  • an option to synchronise multiple sets

Pete Bevils, Managing Director, EV3 POWER: “The Solartainer is a breakthrough in renewable off-grid power for sites, in that it enables significant reductions in both carbon emissions and costs. The Solartainer will also charge electric or hybrid vehicles with its unique stepped down supply”