PHOTON ENERGY CASE STUDY

Going Off-grid in the Australian Outback

Partner:

BAI Communications

Location:

Muswellbrook, Australia

Key Data:

Solar Capacity:

39 kWp

Storage Capacity:

216 kWh

CO2 Savings:

up to 50.5 tannually

Production:

up to 59,500 kWhannually

Technology:

Modules:

Q-Cells Q.Pro G3 255 Wp

Inverters:

SMA Sunny Island 8.OH

Batteries:

BAE 10 PVV1500 solar batteries, 1500 Ah, 2V, 216 kWh / C10

The challenge:

Communication towers are vital not only for entertainment, but also in emergency situations. So when BAI Communicatins made the decision to find a solar power solution for its radio tower in Muswellbrook, it was vital that the tower remained operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The tower’s remote location meant that the storage system needed to be reliable, with back-up solutions in place to ensure an uptime of 100 percent. The climate also presented a particular challenge. Intense and varied temperatures in the Australian outback demanded a solution that was durable and carefully designed to endure harsh conditions year-round.

The solution:

The system was designed as a hybrid power plant, providing 93 percent of the energy needed from solar power and battery storage and the rest from either a diesel backup generator or the power grid.

The positioning and mounting of the solar panels were specifically designed for the tower’s location and requirements. The panels were installed at a slightly higher slope than usual to maximise solar irradiation in the winter months.

Thanks to an automated control system the temperature inside the battery container is kept stable despite the harsh climate, and the average state of charge was kept at approximately 70 per cent. Both factors contribute to longer battery life.

The system has a production capacity of 39 kWp, while the 72 batteries can store 215kWh of power, producing enough solar energy to run the Muswellbrook transmission system for up to 43 hours and take just over 5.5 hours to charge at full efficiency.

The success of this award-winning project clearly demonstrates that solar power is a reliable and economically sensible option for power generation in remote areas.

‘Primarily used for local radio broadcast, the Muswellbrook tower is also relied upon by local emergency services for communications during bushfires and floods. 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.’

Jim Hassell, BAI Group Chief Executive Officer

Highlights:

  • The radio broadcast tower delivers broadcasting, radio, and critical emergency services for over 50,000 end users within a 500 km radius.
  • The system included 156 solar panels, 72 batteries, 3 inverters and a monitoring program
  • The batteries can store enough energy to run the antennas for up to 43 hours
  • The project was delivered in cooperation with the German energy agency
    Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena)
  • BAI received the International Award for Excellence in Sustainability from IABM (The International Trade Association for the Broadcast & Media Industry) for switching to a solar power solution

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