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A Hybrid, Cost-Effective Oil & Gas Platform Powering System for the North Sea

Location: Danish sector of the North Sea
Year: 2016
Products: TriStar TS-MPPT-60 and TS-MPPT-45 controllers
System size: ~10kW for a 800W continuous load and a 24V, 4800Ah battery bank
Partners include: JCE Energy

JCE Energy’s client sought a cost-effective system to supply power to telecommunications systems, navigation aid systems, bird deterrent systems, foghorns and other applications on its unmanned platform in the Danish North Sea. Operating on an unmanned platform in a remote location at sea, the system had to be fully operational without any human supervision, and sufficiently weatherized to withstand the harsh conditions of the North Sea.

JCE also had to consider the weight of the system to accommodate transportation and loading onto the deck, along with compliance with the Hazardous Location Zone system. JCE engineered a Zone 1 hybrid power system comprising a Zone 2 wind turbine, solar panels and battery enclosures, accompanying Zone 1 battery isolators and a Morningstar controller. This system is fully autonomous, requiring minimal maintenance and generating significant cost savings. As a world leader in the design and manufacture of electrical control systems for hazardous areas, JCE Energy relies on Morningstar to help power critical applications in some of the most remote and harsh environments in the world.

Solar Powered Helideck Lighting

Location: Brunei, Southeast Asia
Year: 2019
Product: TriStar
System size: ~<100 W of solar
Partners include: Orga BV, Shell

Jack-up platforms often serve as offshore hotels and heliports for workers and visitors commuting by helicopter to and from oil and gas wellhead platforms. Aviation safety status lights are critical to operations, providing visual warnings to alert pilots whether a helideck is safe for landing. To simplify installation complexities, this critical warning light system often requires its own reliable and robust solar power system with high power availability, autonomous operation, and simple routine maintenance.

Orga BV provides dependable, effective status lighting systems powered by solar to meet the tough demands of these applications. One example is Shell’s Champion project. Orga chose to use Morningstar products because they are ‘fit and forget,’ reducing expensive service calls. They are also suitable for use in the potentially explosive environment.

Off-Grid Power at South Texas Oil and Gas Sites

Location: South Texas
Year: 2014
Products: TriStar MPPT and SunSaver controllers
System size: 800W array; 24V gel lead-acid batteries
Partners include: Ameresco Solar, Deka Solar

An off-grid application at the Eagle Ford Shale site in South Texas uses TriStar MPPT solar charge controllers to regulate battery charging to power supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) equipment, RTUs, and cathodic protection. The world’s largest oil and gas companies choose Morningstar products because of their reputation for reliability and strong customer support.

Solar Powers Offshore Oil Rigs in Southeast Asia

Location: Gulf of Thailand
Year: 2019
Product: TriStar
System size: Solar power systems on eight wellhead platforms with a battery bank producing 15 kWh/day
Partners include: Orga BV, PTTEP

Offshore unmanned wellhead platforms are automated oil and gas assets designed for remote operation controlled by onshore teams. Deploying maintenance crews in harsh sea conditions is treacherous and expensive, so reliability is of the utmost importance when it comes to the power generation systems deployed on these assets.

Over the last 20 years, many offshore oil and gas operators have switched to solar-based power generation solutions to minimize maintenance and maximize power availability in the confined space available on these units. For example, Orga BV outfitted eight of PTTEP’s wellhead platforms in the Gulf of Thailand with solar. Orga chose to use Morningstar components because their MPPT technology minimizes expensive enclosure space requirements while automated resetting offers extended maintenance intervals.

Caravan in New Zealand

Application:  Caravan
Controller: ProStar 30A with meter
Input power: 420W
Input type: PV array
Battery: 12 Volt Lead Acid
Number of sites: 1
Environment: Rural New Zealand
Year of installation: 2012

Reasons for selecting the Morningstar controller:

  • Controller’s reputation for extending battery life
  • Meter interface
  • Good technical support
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Solar-Powered Seismic Signal Monitoring Stations

Application: Telecom
Location: Oregon and Washington
Product: Sunsaver MPPT
Partners include: The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

Unlike severe weather, which can be tracked and mapped for days and even weeks before landfall, earthquakes appear suddenly and without warning. Advances in technology now allow detecting earthquakes within life-saving seconds before shaking has begun.

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) monitors ground motion and generates real-time earthquake information to emergency responders, the press and public. The project has more than 400 stations, making it the second largest seismic network in the United States. Strong-motion instrumentation, especially with real-time digital communications, requires a reliable power source. Because weather hazards often cause widespread power outages, each system must have a backup battery system with enough capacity to operate continuously for four days.

Morningstar’s SunSavers enable many of PNSN’s power supply systems. Its EMC-1 adapter allows monitoring critical data in real-time, alerting technicians of any issues. The EMC also integrates with the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to help PNSN’s engineers plan for maintenance.

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Off Grid Systems for Remote Wellheads Located Offshore Indonesia

Location: Java Sea, Indonesia
Year: 2020
Products: TriStar TS-MPPT-60 controllers
System size: 25kW for a 1.6kW continuous load with 24V, 5,500Ah battery banks
Partners include: JCE Energy

Wellhead platforms in the Java Sea play a vital role in oil and gas development, but their remote location in a harsh, hazardous environment requires a more durable and powerful means of generating electricity for critical onboard systems. JCE Energy supplies larger, more powerful solar electric systems including nickel-cadmium batteries, a monitoring and alarm system, power distribution boards, solar panels, and a Morningstar controller suitable for use in Zone 1 hazardous areas. These systems power locally installed instrumentation, telecoms equipment, navigational aids, and process equipment/motors on each platform.

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Deterring Birds in Hazardous Locations in the Middle East

Location: Persian Gulf Coast, Middle East
Year: 2000
Products: SunSaver SS-MPPT-15L controllers
System size: 200W with 12V or 24V, 120Ah battery banks
Partners include: JCE Energy

One of the many hazards unmanned offshore installations face in daily operation is that seabirds like to use them for roosting. Not only does the waste they produce impair the efficiency of solar modules, but it can also cause serious corrosion and continual shutdowns with material failures. The challenge lies in implementing a bird deterrence system that can continually operate without access to a source of power on board. That’s why two decades ago JCE Group successfully certified the world’s first Ex Solar Power Pod (SPP) consisting of a PV module, battery, and solar controller on a steel frame. Capable of powering bird deterrent devices, they are designed to continuously operate in hazardous locations and in the presence of flammable gasses and are ATEX-approved for Zone 1 and 2 areas for use in navigation aids, alarm systems, gas detection, bird scaring, camera surveillance, ship-to-shore communications
and more. The solution’s success prompted JCE to create a dedicated renewable energy division. Today, through JCE Energy, SPPs continue to provide solutions, thriving along with Morningstar controllers in extreme environments including desert, jungle, offshore and sub-zero climates.

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Creating a Sustainable Marine Experience in Greyhope Bay

Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Year: 2020
Product: TriStar TS-MPPT-60 controller
System size: 6kW with a 48V, 900Ah battery bank
Partners include: JCE Energy

Torry Battery is a landmark artillery installation that has overlooked Aberdeen’s Greyhope Bay harbor since 1860. Today, it’s known for its spectacular panoramic views of the city and coast, as well as the largest bottlenose dolphins in the world. Conservationists wanted to renovate the Battery to create an educational marine center for the community with a zerofootprint, sustainable design. Based in the Aberdeen region, JCE Energy stepped in to provide a renewable solution to power the center plus a community space and cafe at the remote site. The system includes shipping containers equipped with rooftop solar arrays to charge batteries inside. Ultimate project goals include replacing the supplemental generator still in place with a wind turbine for a 100% green energy solution.