Inspired by the portable solar cells that charge small devices, a Cambridge engineer develop a full power plant that rolls to fit in a container and can be placed in any terrain.
Look at this amazing invention and its multiple possibilities.
Thinking outside the box
John Hingley graduated from Cambridge University with Bachelors and Masters degrees in Engineering. After spending some time working in the US, he took a break to travel the world to face the lack of access to the power grid on remote locations, and his dependence on his portable solar panel to charge small devices.
He founded Renovagen in 2012, and 3 years after his trip he develop a carpet-like solar system encased in a steel box, that can be deployed in 2 minutes.
The principles of RollArray solar carpet
Renovagen’s unique patented technology enables entire solar arrays to be made rollable. A large spool of solar cells are attached to a fabric, and wired to a console -with inverters and a large battery bank- located inside the same container used for transport.
The high resistant built prevents damage to the copper indium gallium selenide solar cells (CIGS) from tensile strains normally caused by rolling, loading and deployments. The carpet can be placed in all terrains, towing it out with a vehicle no bigger than a standard 4×4.
An initial prototype had a capacity of 6KW, about twice that of a solar array on a typical family home. The current generation will have a capacity of up to 18KW, and the system can reach in future versions, up to 100kWp, according to calculations
Uses of the mobile power plants
This easy transportable power plants can be shipped to disaster areas where electrical grid is destroyed, mobile army settlements, mining stations, construction, film industry or even remote events like Burning Man, for instance. The first prototype was tested on June 2015 and the company is taking orders for custom-made projects on all sizes.
“The market for off grid energy is huge and growing – 24% of the world is off grid but everyone needs energy these days,” said Hingley.
The advantage of these systems is their autonomy. Besides the cutting edge technology and ease of use, they don’t depend on extra fuel -and the associated cost and hassle of transportation- and don’t contaminate like traditional generators.
With three undisclosed contracts already, Renovagen is focusing on develop new markets with high demand on solar panels, like US, Canada and the Middle East. Hingley expects them to get full regulatory approval in those markets in the next months.
Definitely a new technology that worth developing for other uses, and that can simplify a lot the installation of solar panels in every residential building.