Solar for Remote Locations: Case Study.
In the following example of solar energy in use at a remote location, we see that solar photovoltaic has practical uses far beyond home electricity.
Instead of paying a ridiculous amount of money to extend electricity to a lighthouse off Newfoundland's coast, the government of Newfoundland used an off-grid solar electric system to supply independent energy at this remote location.
The text of this article comes from the Canadian Solar Industry Association.
Solar Lighthouse Automation in Newfoundland
Extending the electrical grid to remote coastal areas can be a very expensive proposition. The alternative of using generators is not much better considering the cost of burning fossil fuels, the cost of maintenance and the delivery expense for the generator's fuel.
Soltek Powersource (SPS Energy Solutions) designed and supplied 14 solar power systems to automate lighthouses on the coast of Newfoundland.
The systems were supplied to the Canadian Coast Guard and included over 800 Shell SP-75 solar photovoltaic (PV) Modules, and the SPS manufactured PV-3 Charge Controller and mounts. System design and full training was also provided by Soltek Powersource.
The systems power beacons and fog horns in the lighthouses and are located on Newfoundland's coast. There are four types of solar systems installed at the various lighthouse sites that range in size from 8,400 watts for the largest to 525 watts for the smallest. The 8400 Watt systems consist of four solar arrays, and each measures 17 metre long and incorporates 112 solar modules. The power systems use Shell SP-75 solar modules. These 75 watt modules offer the superior low light level performance of single crystal cell technology, ideal for foggy coastal areas. They also carry Shell Solar 25-year power warranty.
Soltek Powersource manufactures the high-amperage PV-3 Charge Controllers that will protect the batteries from overcharging and deep discharges. Digital metering is standard with this model, and Soltek Powersource added accessories such as alarm relays when required. SPS has supplied power systems to the Canadian Coast Guard for the past eight years. Past experience has included a lighthouse generator to solar conversions and the delivery of over 2,000 modules to power floating navigation aids by solar.
It is rewarding to realize that solar technology plays an important role in keeping marine craft and their crew safe near the Canadian coasts. As the cost of photovoltaic has significantly decreased, Solar is now an even more attractive option, especially for lighthouses and floating navigation aids. By the end of 2000, the Canadian Coast Guard was the largest individual PV system user in Canada with an estimated 7 000 navigational buoys, beacons and lighthouses using photovoltaic modules.
A Few Key Facts:
- Solar production: Eight hundred Shell SP-75 Solar Modules
- Location: Coast of Newfoundland
- Project Completion Date: August 2001