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Case Studies

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Case Study

Soluz Powers Honduras Amid Pandemic

Application: Rural Electrification
Location: Honduras
Year: 2020
Products: Morningstar Tristar MPPT  600V and EcoPulse controllers
Partners include: Soluz, Trojan Battery, Jinko Solar, Magnum Energy, Solectria

Honduras is a poor country in which 28% of the rural population doesn’t have access to the electrical grid. This leaves people vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as severe flooding.

Soluz has spent decades installing stand-alone solar systems for homeowners and businesses including solar-powered freezers to preserve food in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Soluz trusts Morningstar products for their reliability and customer service. Soluz president Richard Hansen even chose a Morningstar controller for his home system, which provided backup power after two catastrophic hurricanes that knocked out the utility grid for days.

Read the full case study here. 

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Case Study

Renewable Energy Powers Research from Pole to Pole

Application: Rural Electrification
Location: Arctic and Antarctic
Year: Late 1990s to present day
Products: Various Morningstar charge controllers, SureSine inverter, Relay Driver, and meters
Partners include: Tracy Dahl, KiloVault, Sunwize Technologies, Polar Field Services

Tracy Dahl is passionate about developing sustainable solutions. When his mechanical expertise landed him a job as a snowmobile mechanic in the Antarctic in the mid-1990s, he saw an opportunity for renewable energy there as well.

For the past two decades, Dahl has worked alongside researchers in the Arctic and Antarctic to lead the transition from diesel generation to renewable power from pole to pole. He’s done a variety of wind and solar projects including systems with a single solar panel, charge controller and battery; vehicles with DC and AC power; chalets at research stations; and complex projects like large autonomous power and communication systems with remote-control monitoring that run lidar, radar and other research equipment.

No matter the application, Dahl says that Morningstar charge controllers are his go-to solution. In addition to their price point, they can withstand the difficult, condensing environments that often take out power electronics. He’s especially fond of the controllers’ maximum power point tracking (MPPT) capability.

“In a high-altitude, low-temperature environment with reflective snow cover, the MPPT  works incredibly well, providing about 20% to 25% more energy capture than PWM controllers,” he said. “The cold weather pushes the panel voltage way up, but that doesn’t mean anything unless you can turn it into amps through the MPPT. I have actually measured it out side by side and it’s astonishing how much better it works in these environments.”

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Case Study

Community Monitoring at Ground Zero Nuclear Test Sites

The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), formerly known as the Nevada Test Site, is located just 65 miles outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a 1,360-square-mile area of land which, for 41 years, served as the literal “ground zero” for nuclear testing in the continental United States. From 1951-1992, 928 nuclear tests were conducted at the site, including 100 atmospheric tests.

Many of the atmospheric tests, as well as some of those conducted underground that lost containment, resulted in contamination of downwind areas off-site, exposing nearby communities to radioactive fallout, and causing significant concern and fear in the affected populations regarding the potential for adverse health effects.

Additionally, communities downgradient from the NNSS had concerns about the contamination of groundwater from underground testing at the site and its potential to affect public water sources in the future.

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Case Study

Morningstar and TÜV Rheinland

Application: All
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Year: 2013
Product: All
Partners include: TÜV Rheinland

When the people responsible for certifying compliance and safety for the industry want to profile your brand for a case study, you know you’re doing something right.  At Morningstar, we’re proud that TÜV Rheinland—an international organization at the forefront of testing, standards and certification for everything from consumer products to industrial and medical devices—selected us for its own case study in solar.

As the case study notes, “in the solar industry, standards and regulations change quickly, with new standards emerging at a rapid pace.” Morningstar’s advanced designs and proven reliability provided TÜV with an ideal partner to showcase in this category.

-Photo courtesy of TÜV Rheinland

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Case Study

Tiny Houses Provide Life-Changing Shelter for Homeless Population

Summary

  • Chronic homelessness afflicts over a half-million men, women and children in the United States,* with veterans particularly vulnerable. Almost 1 out of 4 are in the state of California**
  • Turning Point Foundation, a community-based nonprofit in Ventura, California, offers shelter, services, and support to homeless, mentally ill individuals
  • A transitional housing project, River Haven, provides housing and a sense of community to individuals ready for independent living
  • Morningstar controllers are a key component in the solar lighting system used to power these homes

**source: “10 Facts About Homelessness in America,” U.S. News and World Report, September 23, 2019 https://www.usnews.com/news/cities/articles/2019-09-23/10-facts-about-homelessness-in-america

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Solar Energy Solutions for Rural Communities in Peru

Application: Rural Electrification
Location: Peru
Year: 2017
Product: Morningstar charge controller
System size: Residential DC Energy Box sized for individual home (50,000 units)
Partners: Tozzi Green

With explosive economic growth in population-dense urban areas, Peru’s economy has become one of the fastest-growing in the world. However, populations of small, remote villages struggle to survive in harsh climates, leaving one-third of the population without access to a power grid. To encourage development and improve the quality of life in these remote villages, the government of Peru launched the most ambitious rural electrification project ever attempted. The National Rural Electrification Plan will bring access to electricity to 96% of the country’s population.

Italian renewable project developer Tozzi Green is working with the Peruvian government to deliver three solar energy centers, including a high-volume residential DC Energy Box sized for individual homes. In 2017, Tozzi Green chose Morningstar Corporation charge controllers for the project because of their reliability and long life span. The success of this Peru project is a model for future solar rural electrification to bring power to more of the one billion people living without it today.

Read more about the project here.

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Off-Grid Computer & Phone Charging Stations in Uganda

Application: Telecom
Location: Uganda
Year: 2018
Product: TriStar 45
System size: 810W of solar with two 200-Ah batteries (six sites)
Partners include: All in Trade

Uganda hosts more than one million refugees. In camps, “Protection desks” help refugees register upon entry and provide vital assistance including first aid services, security, emergency food, safety, crime issues and counseling. These critical stations require a reliable power supply to support computers, printers, internet routers, phones and lighting.

Local contractor All in Trade installed solar for six desks in various areas. Each site includes several 270-W solar PV modules (for a total of 810W per site), two 200-Ah batteries connected at 24Vdc and a 2000-W, 24-Vdc inverter. Each site also contains a Morningstar TriStar 45 solar controller to maximize output and manage energy storage and battery health. Each system typically powers loads equivalent to a small to mid-sized office.

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Case Study

Off-Grid Residential

Summary

  • Morningstar’s technical support is instrumental in helping a customer build and maintain an off-grid dream home in Quebec
  • The Morningstar TriStar-MPPT-45 solar controller provides the power necessary to sustain a home in the remote wilderness

When Guy Paquette, a professor/researcher and department head at Quebec City’s prestigious Laval University decided to retire after a 35-year career, he selected an ambitious project: build a dream second home on the St. Lawrence seaway. The biggest obstacle however, was a location lacking running water and access to communications and electricity. Morningstar’s technical support team was capable of addressing that third challenge, and fortunately for the professor having a reliable source of electricity on-site could facilitate taking care of his other needs in order to achieve his dream.

The goal was to design and build a home with “city comforts” in a remote wilderness, one that’s self-contained and easy-to-heat. But the challenge of overcoming geography along with the lack of electricity, water, and a communication network proved to be more complex than expected.