Rapid Roll Solar PV

Rapid Roll is a new patented technology for off-grid portable power – a high capacity solar power plant with a rollable tow-out solar field deployable in 2 minutes. The technology is initially available in the Rapid Roll “T” trailer-scale solar power system (up to 16kW).

The key innovation which enables this step-change improvement in the power capacity and speed of deployment of commercial-scale solar is the creation of a flexible, rollable solar PV array as a single piece “mat” with built-in structural support and power-transmission cabling embedded throughout. This mat can therefore be permanently wired in to our innovative spooling mechanism – which means that all you have to do is unroll and switch on! No cable connections or system commissioning is required on-site as it is all permanently built in to the system. The key benefits the Rapid Roll system provide over typical rigid-panel systems are therefore:

  • Speed of deployment – a few minutes instead of many hours or days
  • High power capacity from a small box – up to 10x the power capacity of rigid panel systems, due to the large surface area we can very efficiently store on the roll
  • Ease of use – permanently integrated, start the system running at the touch of a button

Smaller Rapid Roll systems (up to ~6kW) can be deployed by hand, but the fastest and easiest way to deploy a Rapid Roll solar field is by vehicle tow. In this way it’s possible to deploy and run the entire system in a few minutes with just 2 people. The spooling system also includes an electric or electro-hydraulic drive system (along with manual backup) which enables the solar field to also be stowed away within a few minutes.

Another innovation which makes the Rapid Roll concept possible is a modular, resilient electrical architecture which optimises the performance of individual sections of our “solar mat” for the particular light conditions (due to slope and shading) which may happen to occur when deploying in different locations. For this reason, it’s not necessary to have solar engineers model the specific site and calculate particular solar field positions and configurations before deployment – the Rapid Roll will work anywhere and will make the most out of the set of conditions encountered.

A modular architecture with many components running in parallel also provides resilience as if one component fails, the rest continue to operate. Because of this, the Rapid Roll is a very reliable power system, even in challenging environments and applications.

Hybrid Technology

In the majority of climatic and economic conditions around the world, the optimum Return-on-Investment (ROI) for off-grid energy can be achieved from a hybrid power system. Renovagen’s HyPER-FST (Hybrid Power Emissions Reduction – Fuel Savings Technology), integrated into Rapid Roll systems, delivers fuel savings by leveraging auto start-stop control of a diesel generator to reduce the number of running hours – and most importantly runs the generator at its most efficient operating point when it is required. We work with customers’ existing generators so that you continue to obtain value from your existing assets.

The technology also facilitates the easy supplementation of hybrid power with solar energy – from 0% solar to 99% – depending on location and weather conditions. The presence of the generator eliminates “weather anxiety” and guarantees that backup power will always be available.

Typically fuel savings of 50% to 95% can be realised in the HyPER-FST solar-battery-diesel hybrid. Implementing HyPER-FST reduces the battery and solar capacity required to guarantee 24/7/365 power and therefore significantly reduces CAPEX in comparison with a pure-solar off-grid system. Often, any attempt to eliminate the last 5%-10% of fuel savings can be economically unviable as so much additional capacity (=CAPEX) is required to guarantee solar energy availability during poor weather conditions. Hence we recommend the use of HyPER-FST in the majority of scenarios.

Our system modelling tools enable the assessment of different hybrid system configurations in different global locations, modelled against a customer’s specific load profile. The model is integrated with an ROI calculator so that we can optimise the system balance (PV and battery capacity) to produce the best ROI for any given scenario. Please contact us if you’re interested in a free consultation to see if our HyPER-FST based systems will deliver a strong Return-on-Investment in your off-grid power application.

Energy Storage

The core facilitator of any off-grid solar or hybrid power system is the energy storage sub-system. The Rapid Roll system includes a racked lithium-ion battery bank to delivery high energy density, high performance, safe and cost-effective storage for solar or genset-sourced power. We work with a number of different battery suppliers to offer a range of options across the price vs performance scale.

An essential component of any lithium battery solution to ensure robustness, safety and long battery life is the “Battery Management System” (BMS). We work with our battery suppliers to integrate the best BMS possible, ensuring that all cell safety measures are taken and that specified parameters of charge/discharge limits and operating temperatures can never be exceeded. We also ensure the best possible integration with our inverter/energy management systems so that demands on the batteries are managed to ensure that limits are never even approached and to maintain as stable charge states as possible – avoiding needless cycling and hence extending battery life.

Our energy storage system is also modular, enabling variable capacity in our Rapid Roll “T” format from 5kWh up to 100kWh or more per system. The modularity, with multiple packs running in parallel, again provides both scalability and resilience.

Scalable Micro-Grids

Our Rapid-Roll systems are designed not only to operate simply as stand-alone – but for multiple systems to operate in parallel to build up larger micro-grids. Furthermore, such an approach delivers additional resilience so that in the event of micro-grid interconnections being severed, a Rapid Roll system can automatically isolate itself and continue to power local loads from its own solar hybrid power capability. In this way, the micro-grid becomes the medium for sharing energy between a “cloud” of Rapid Roll systems rather than simply a power distribution line from centralised source(s). Watch this space for exciting new capability developments in 2017!