by Alex Elder
Although solar energy is an appealing form of clean and renewable energy, not all areas of the world have the technology or the infrastructure to utilize it. Most modern solar panel installations require a connection to the existing energy grid in order to function properly. Many remote communities, however, do not have this grid infrastructure in place and thus cannot use modern solar technology at a large scale. SunEdison, a major player in the energy world, recently developed a new piece of technology called the Outdoor Microstation which aims to make renewable energy in rural and off-grid areas sustainable. The Microstation is a standalone power generator that can provide a renewable energy source to remote areas of the world. The unit includes photovoltaic solar panels to harness clean and renewable energy from the sun as well as a battery system to store unused energy. The 3,500-volt ampere model can power a rural community of 25 homes for 5 hours each night, including street lighting (SunEdison 2014). It is even scalable and modular, which provides consumers the ability to connect several systems. All Microstations are monitored remotely by SunEdision. The unit can also be installed quickly (in 4 to 6 hours) and is very low maintenance. The Microstation is also extremely durable and able to withstand extreme weather conditions, with a lifetime estimation of over 10 years. The low maintenance and durability aspects of the Microstation are just as important as its ability to generate power since a quick deterioration of the technology would ultimately fail to provide the promised energy source.
The development of the Outdoor Microstation is part of SunEdison’s campaign called the Eradication of Darkness. This movement aims to bring electricity to 20 million people by 2020, with the interim goal of lighting up 1 million homes in 2015 (Tweed 2015).
SunEdison (2014). SunEdison Outdoor Microstation Datasheet. http://www.sunedisonemea.com/docs/SunEdison-Outdoor-Microstation-Datasheet.pdf
Tweed, K. (2015). SunEdison’s Next Market: Solar Minigrids and Micropower Stations for the Energy Poor. GreentechSolar. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/sunedison-will-bring-electricity-to-20-million-by-2020
TAGS: solar power, off-grid technology, renewable energy, microgrid, Outdoor Microstation, SunEdison