Anew, all-in-one, stand-alone renewable power generator and storage system has been launched by Dunedin company, Powerhouse Wind.
The PowerCrateTM has been developed to provide electricity in remote locations not easily serviced by the grid. While designed for off-grid applications, the hybrid generation with solar and wind boosts energy security and offers energy resilience in areas where power lines are particularly susceptible to storm damage.
“We have essentially built a plug-and-play generator combining solar and wind,” says engineer, Bill Currie.
“We currently drop off the PowerCrate by hiab (a container truck with built-in crane), and it can then be deployed and generating power in under three hours.”
“We saw a lot of investment in sustainable energy for national grids and photovoltaic solutions for grid-connected single homes, but there really wasn’t anything for off-grid houses or rural communities. Some New Zealand and Pacific communities and households still suffer energy hardship – limited or no access to power – and so they often have to rely on diesel generators,” says Mr Currie.
“Climate change is forcing us to address decarbonisation. The clean, diverse generation in the PowerCrate is important for minimising diesel use.”
Mr Currie said some lines companies had already shown interest and first trials were now underway.
Housed in a standard 20ft (and soon 40ft) shipping container frame, the PowerCrate generates power through a fold-up 12-metre tall Thinair wind turbine and fold-out PV panels. Electricity is stored in Li-ion batteries and supplied through an AC inverter.
The current system is capable of generating around 7500kWh annually, enough power for instance for a rural household or remote shearing shed. Higher power variants are in design, says Mr Currie.
”Hybrid generation is not new, however the novel packaging and diversity of generation is a key part of PowerCrate’s value proposition. It is rapidly deployed or stowed and can be permanently or temporarily located; being modular we can also standardise and factory test the entire system before shipping, making the system plug and play on arrival,” he said.
The PowerCrate is built from parts mostly sourced from within Dunedin’s own engineering ecosystem.