CROSS, a new Australian mobile solar generator, can provide between 2.175W and 4.350W of power and can be combined with several other units to produce even more electricity.
CROSS stands for Container Roll Out Solar Systems. As the name declares, it can be easily transported in a shipping container and is designed to provide instant power for defence forces, disaster recovery, humanitarian work, construction, and temporary network support.
CROSS was developed by Canberra-based company ECLIPS Engineering (formerly Sea Box International). Their pop-up solar units are self-contained within a shipping container and can be unloaded and setup within minutes at the project site, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
While the original focus in developing CROSS was solely on providing electricity for Australian defence forces in the field, ECLIPS managing director Shaun Moore said the company soon realised it could be used in multiple conditions.
"One of our early objectives was to provide rapidly deployable utility-scale photovoltaic generators to improve the self-sufficiency of Defence’s deployed forward operating bases," Mr. Moore said.
According to Moore, the solar system was built in response to the high levels of diesel fuel usage in the Defence industry; diesel consumption related to the provision of electricity can account for up to 70% of a deployed forces’ fuel usage and is a significant cost driver.
ECLIPS managing director also said that deploying CROSS to forward operating bases lessens the frequency of convoys for fuel resupply, which reduces the threat to soldiers in contested environments.
The 'pop-up' system can provide significantly more power than many existing mobile solar generation arrays, it is more easily installed and transported, and can be set up within minutes as a standalone system or joined to an existing network.
They can be transported in either a 20- or 40-foot shipping container.
The project was supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) which provided $290,000 in funding.
ARENA said that the project opens up markets not previously available to the renewables industry, including defence. The solar units could be a potential replacement for diesel generators and used for disaster relief, music festivals or to provide temporary electricity if a power line is knocked down.
"These same logistics efficiencies and benefits are transferable to commercial and utility customers in remote areas of Australia."
"CROSS units can be deployed in off-grid and fringe-of-grid areas, displace or offset diesel consumption and improve the security of existing networks," ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said.
"These renewable options can reduce some of the barriers to entry for potential renewable power users in remote locations, including short project durations and where power systems need to be periodically relocated.
"Renewable can provide an emissions-free, silent energy system that could replace diesel generators in the long run."
Solar power has been growing rapidly in scale, and last year grew faster than any other source of energy, the International Energy Agency said.
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Photo credit: ECLIPS