Hybrid thrives in mountainous terrain

5 October 2002

This Saft/Cummins diesel generator/photovoltaic/storage battery combination is powering microwave transmission equipment installed by Spencer Gulf Telecasters on Mt Edwards, near Yunta in south Australia. The solar generator covers the major part of mean energy demand from the transmitter while at the same time charging the Sunica batteries. At night and during peak demand the balance is drawn from the barrery bank; using this arrangement the 10 kVA diesel genset support has to be started up only once a week even in winter conditions.

The solar/battery combination consists of 2x3 kW solar arrays supported by of 3x18-cell parallel strings of SUN 84-1 Sunica cells each rated at 860 amp-hours. Two Harmer & Simmons SMF switched-mode rectifiers shape supply, the whole being regulated by a Plasmatronics SPS200. The Saft batteries are pv specialised; they have a long life cycle and can handle both shallow and deep cycling, exhibit constant charging efficiency over time and high performance at low charge.

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