Solar AC Power Generator
Suntainer provides "off-grid power" virtually anywhere in the world. With a large, durable solar-powered photovoltaic array, Suntainer can generate up to 20 kilowatt-hours of AC electricity per day -- enough to provide the basic electricity needs for a village, or to power small manufacturing, agricultural and construction, hospital and school facilities.
The system can be combined with other renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind and diesel, and linked with a set of batteries, to provide a steady flow of power after the sun goes down, and during bad weather.
The above photos show two Suntainers, installed and generating electricity today at remote sites in Tanzania.
There are currently three Suntainers installed and operational: one in Malaysia, and two in Tanzania. A similar, expanded unit is scheduled to be installed in India, and a demonstration is planned for a Palestinian village in mid-December, 1998. A Suntainer is also installed at an educational facility in Germany.
Suntainer's photovoltaic array is well above ground, protected and durable; the panels are accessed through a hatch in the roof. During the day, electricity flows into the batteries through a charge regulator, and may also be used to supply power directly through the inverter.
The inverter (at left) monitors battery capacity in the array of heavy-duty lead-acid batteries (at right) continuously, and issues an alarm if capacity goes below a given level. At low levels, the amount of power delivered is reduced, or the diesel backup generator may be started.
A Suntainer operating in Malaysia.
Because all components are secured within the unit and self-contained, Suntainer can be installed and operational in 2-3 days by three people.
Inside, the container has two rooms: one for heavy-duty lead-acid batteries, the other for the inverter and switchboard; it may also house the backup diesel generator.
The enclosure itself is a standard 20-ft. shipping container, so it may be easily shipped using industrial freight-handling systems like cranes and forklifts, by air, cargo ship or rail.
Advantages of Suntainer
Compared to a diesel generator, Suntainer has many advantages:
- uses a completely natural, renewable, free energy source: the sun
- much less fuel is required; in sunny areas, a backup generator may be rarely needed
- high reliability, because of use of multiple power sources; less reliance on fuel delivery and availability
- solar system is free of moving parts, simple to maintain, reliable for a decade or more without service
- lifetime of expensive supplemental diesel system is extended, service costs reduced, because of lower usage
- if standard AC power becomes available on the power grid, Suntainer can be easily moved where it is more needed.
Suntainer was originally designed and made by ASE (Applied Solar Energy) as an adjunct power source for rural locations, and Greenstar has extended that design into a complete solar-powered community center.
A-S-E Americas, Inc.
4 Suburban Park
Billerica, MA 01821-3980
978-667-5900; fax 663-2868
Angewandte Solarenergie- ASE GmbH