INDEPENDENT ENERGY SOLUTIONS
Energy is at the core of twenty-first century life, and that energy mostly comes to us as electrical energy. We rely so heavily on electrical energy for work, leisure, and living that we can barely afford to be without it for a moment, as we soon realise when there’s a power blackout. The most convenient way for us to get our electrical energy is from the mains grid; that network of towers, poles, wires, and substations that stretch across the most of country and joins nearly everyone to the large centralised generating stations spread throughout Australia. But not everyone can connect to the mains grid – perhaps because it doesn’t come nearby, or perhaps because it’s too expensive to connect. In these situations electrical energy can be provided by an independent energy solution.
Independent energyThere are many sources of electricity that can be used as the basis of an independent energy solution, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. The most straightforward and effective source of electricity is a generator. A good-quality generator such as Eniquest’s PowerMaker range, is compact, powerful, and will provide electricity at any time under any conditions. However, generators do have some limitations: they use expensive fuel that may be hard to get in the sorts of places where an independent power plant is needed, they can be noisy, they produce exhaust fumes, and they’re not very efficient when they are only producing a small amount of power. Renewable energy sources are also ideal for providing independent electrical energy. There is a wide range of sources of renewable energy including: solar photo-voltaic, wind, micro-hydroelectric, cogeneration, biogas, geothermal, tidal, and wave energy. However, most of these sources are difficult to implement on a small scale, or will only work in very specific places. Solar photo-voltaic (PV) energy is the best form of renewable energy to use on a small scale (remote plant or household) at any location because it’s relatively cheap to install, scalable, reliable, low maintenance, long-lasting, and works anywhere.
Using energyThe characteristics of solar PV electricity, like most renewable energy sources, are mismatched to the way we use electricity. Solar panels produce a steady, relatively low-power supply of electricity over a long period of time; however, when we use electricity we commonly use it at high power for a short period of time, with long periods of very little use. Our peak power demand is likely to be much more than our average power demand, and even more when compared to our minimum power demand. This diagram shows these mismatches: Solar panels can collect a lot of energy, but they can’t provide enough power for our high-powered appliances. We could install enough solar panels to match our maximum power demand, but this would be very expensive and would take up a lot of space, and most of the time we wouldn’t need it. It still also still wouldn’t help us at night when solar panels don’t produce any energy.
Independent energy solutionsThe best way to overcome the limitations of both generators and solar panels is to use them together. By itself, a generator won’t solve the limitations of solar PV energy, because it would need to be started every time we want to use a high-powered appliance, and it would have to run into the night to provide us with electricity for our night-time activities. The solution to this problem is to store the energy collected from the solar panels so that we can use it when we need it, and so that we can take as much power as we need from the storage. The best way to store electrical energy for future use is in rechargeable batteries. With a bank of rechargeable storage batteries we can store the steady, but relatively low-powered flow of solar PV energy that we collect during the day, and use it at night or whenever we need it, and we can concentrate it for use with high-powered equipment. We can’t count on renewable energy sources like solar PV energy to provide us with energy to keep our storage battery bank charged sufficiently for our needs at all times – we may have periods when we have an extended need for a lot of energy, and we may have long periods of cloudy weather that reduce our supply of solar PV energy. Also, our storage battery bank will have a shortened life if we regularly discharge it too deeply, or if we keep it discharged for too long. A generator resolves all of these issues; it can provide electrical energy at any time to fill-in for the solar panels, and it can keep the storage battery bank from being damaged by being discharged too deeply. Because we can take our energy from the storage battery bank, the solar panels, or the generator, this is a hybrid independent power plant. A hybrid independent power plant makes the best use of each of these sources of electrical energy, which makes it the best choice for an intermittent, and highly variable power demand for which unobtrusive operation, efficiency, and the quality of the electricity supplied are important. The hybrid independent power plant is a sophisticated and effective way of providing power when power from the mains isn’t possible or convenient, and is the very best choice for domestic use, and for use with sensitive electronic equipment in remote installations. If you need an independent energy solution for your electricity supply requirements, you will need to work out what sort of independent power plant you need. You can find out about specifying your independent power plant here. You can find out about Eniquest’s range of PowerMaker generators here. You can find out about our PowerMaker diesel battery hybrid power skid range here. You can find out about PowerMaker solar diesel hybrid power plant range here. For independent electrical energy for your boat, you can find out about our PowerMaker Cruise generators here.
INDEPENDENT POWER PLANTS
INDEPENDENT ENERGY SYSTEM COMPONENTS
INDEPENDENT ENERGY SYSTEM COMPONENTS