3-Phase in the Outback?
Off-grid Power to remote cattle stations
Cattle and Sheep stations in Australia’s remote outback are typically powered by diesel generators. Running power-hungry industrial/agricultural equipment – together with domestic supply – they bang away consuming between 100 and 200 litres of diesel per day.
A lot of stations were established in the 1800’s. They’re run by tough people used to hard work, and harsh conditions. The fact that diesel-generators are dirty and expensive; that diesel oil has to be brought in from far away; and that engine maintenance is added to the farming routine is something you just have to put up with. Until now.
MyEnergy Engineering recently completed three projects powering huge cattle and sheep stations in remote locations in South Australia which demonstrate how stations can be run cleanly and silently. And you don’t have to get your fuel from hundreds of kilometres away …Solar Energy comes to you. Add to that diesel-fuel costs of $1.80A per litre, and the case for solar is easy to make.
People are sometimes surprised by the scalability of Solar Energy. A lot of power can be stored in specialised large-scale batteries – for twenty-four hour use. And when you need to run big machinery for your industrial or agricultural business, remote solar power systems can provide it …on-demand. Three-phase supply is no problem, either.
The Australian outback presents opportunities (there’s plenty of sunshine, and plenty of room to site PV arrays) …but with summer temperatures of over 50°C there are also technical challenges which have to be overcome.
MyEnergy Engineering have been designing and installing remote power systems for over 11 years. Directors Ciaram and Wayne Granger say that reliability, and the ability to remotely monitor diagnose, and programme their customers’ installations is one compelling reason they choose Victron Energy components. Cross-compatibility with third-party manufacturers allows MyEnergy to install Victron Energy Components at the heart of their projects – knowing that they will work seamlessly with battery technologies, built by others, which have been specially designed for mass-storage at high ambient temperatures.
Ingomar is about 700km north-northwest of Adelaide, making it one of the northernmost homesteads in South Australia. The Station grazes sheep and cattle and was built in the 1880’s. Their new power system runs the homestead and all adjoining buildings and work shops. Their 45kVA installation consists of:
- 3 x Victron Quattro 48/15000 Inverters in 3-phase configuration.
- 8 x Victron SmartSolar 250/100 Charge Controllers
- 7 x BYD 13.8 Cabinets (96kWh Total)
- 50.4 kWp of Trina Solar Modules
- OctoGX for system monitoring and off-site control
The installation is designed with capacity to take over from the diesel generators completely – yet it is entirely compatible with the existing site generators – in this case a 40 and a 60 kVA Staunch Diesel Generator, which will be used as back-up.
Mount Eba Station
Mount Eba lies at the centre of South Australia. The Station was established in 1874 and extends to some 3,380 square kilometres, grazing sheep and cattle.
This installation has:
- Quattro 48/15000 Inverter/Charger
- Victron SmartSolar 250/85 & 250/60 Chargers
- Victron Octo GX for Monitoring
- Trina Solar Modules (20.4kWp)
- Integrates the existing tracker system (4kWp)
- BYD Lithium Batteries (82kWh)
This system also integrates the existing diesel generators.
Kondoolka Station is situated on the Eyre Peninsula, just outside the Gawler Ranges national park and was built in the late 1880’s. Similarly to the other stations its installation comprises:
- Victron Energy Quattro 48/15000 Inverter/Charger
- Victron SmartSolar 250/100 Chargers
- Victron Color Control GX for remote monitoring and management
- Trina Honey Solar Modules
- BYD Lithium Batteries
And it also integrates the existing diesel generators.
MyEnergy Engineering have completed over 450 remote installations together with almost 5,000 grid-connected systems. With over 60 years of remote energy experience between their engineers, they pride themselves on the quality of their work and on providing silent energy to customers who need to rely on it. And they seem to be getting it right: Mount Eba Station owners Pete and Margie Whittlesea said: We can’t believe how eerily quiet it is round here – now the generator never runs.
By Justin Tyers