Taspac Best Off-Grid PV System Award 2023
An off-grid renewable system must be completely independent of the national grid and incorporate onsite renewable generation & energy storage.
Joint Winner: ESolar and Infinite Energy
for Off-Grid Community in Little Wanganui, Karamea
In close collaboration with the client, we embarked on a project of exceptional scope and ambition. Our mission was clear: to design and install a fully Off-Grid power system that would serve as the lifeblood of two tiny homes housing three full-time occupants, a bustling butchery equipped with two chillers, a medium-sized gym frequented by locals, and an array of outbuildings and workshops.
This endeavour reflects our unwavering commitment to providing customised energy solutions that not only cater to the unique needs of our clients but also tackle the distinctive challenges presented by remote environments.
Our journey with the client began with a meticulous assessment of their energy needs, a process that involved advising them on the most energy-efficient options available. This initial step was crucial in laying the foundation for a tailored energy solution. To ensure precision, we proceeded to create a comprehensive load profile, meticulously designed to cater to the diverse energy requirements of the tiny homes, butchery, gym, and workshop on the property.
One of our key decisions was to opt for a ground-mounted solar array. This choice was driven by our commitment to long-term efficiency and ease of maintenance. The ground-mounted array not only maximised solar energy production but also simplified upkeep, ensuring that the system continues to perform optimally.
Additionally, recognising the remote nature of the location, we prioritised the implementation of web-based monitoring and control systems. This feature allows us to remotely oversee and manage the system, providing real-time insights into its performance. It ensures that the energy solution operates seamlessly, even in challenging and distant settings.
Another critical aspect of our design was scalability. We engineered the system with future growth in mind, aligning it with the client's expanding businesses. Whether its accommodating new structures or evolving energy needs, the system is primed for easy expansion. This flexibility ensures that the energy solution remains robust and adaptable, evolving with the client's enterprises.
Furthermore, we incorporated plans for a future home to be built on the property into our design. This forward-thinking approach underscores our commitment to delivering holistic energy solutions that not only meet current demands but also anticipate future requirements. It ensures that as the property evolves, the energy system can seamlessly integrate with new developments.
In summary, our energy solution is the result of meticulous planning and client collaboration. It's a ground-mounted solar array designed for efficiency, equipped with web-based monitoring, and built with scalability in mind. This holistic approach not only caters to the client's current energy needs but also positions them for sustainable growth while embracing the potential of a future home on the property.This project not only met but far exceeded our client's expectations, successfully powering the Gym, butchery, workshop, and tiny homes on an off-grid system. What distinguishes this installation and makes it deserving of recognition is our unwavering commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing. By prioritising sustainable practices and incorporating ethically sourced products, we've not only fulfilled our client's energy needs but also contributed positively to the environment and society. This holistic approach reflects our dedication to responsible and environmentally conscious energy solutions, making it a shining example of how innovation and ethics can intersect to create a truly noteworthy project.
for Dingleburn Station, Lake Hawea
Dingleburn Station relied solely on hydro power for their energy supply - with the solar required to increase production during shoulder seasons and peak summer when the hydro resource is less reliable... and when water is also required for irrigation. Battery storage also provides back up in the event of the hydro turbine blocking during heavy rain or ice melt.Installation of 28kW solar PV to support pre-existing hydro power. Victron quattro inverters allow hydro current to pass through inverters - with surplus energy able to charge batteries before going to dump loads. Introduction of 30kWh battery storage allows greater continuity of power supply in the event of disruption to the hydro flow - and the solar generation compensates for the loss in hydro production during summer months, delivering near seamless energy access year round. Installation was a challenging exercise beginning with the most important consideration - access.
Dingleburn is very remote, with a narrow single lane track cut into bluffs above the Eastern shores of Lake Hawea. Stock are moved on foot approximately 10km before the road allows for heavy vehicle access.
As such, concrete could not be poured for footings - all mounting had to be driven timber piles... with all solar hardware brought in to site one Hilux load at a time.
Each visit to site required careful planning to ensure no traffic (vehicles or stock) were scheduled to be coming in the other direction... as a U-turn was not an option!
Dingleburn had previously had a large (90kVa) diesel genset for back up power and to boost production during irrigation periods. This is now largely redundant through the carefully oriented solar arrays - which provide consistent generation during daylight hours.
The Dingleburn installation is a great example of the marriage of new technologies into an ageing, existing hydro scheme. The use of solar & batteries gives greater resilience, great access to water for irrigation - and brings reliability to the power system. Solar & batteries ensure no more middle of the night missions to the hydro inlet during storms to clear rocks and ice to maintain power!