Location: North Sea
Products: Relay DriverTM (RD-1), MeterHubTM (HUB-1),
EIA-485/RS-232 Adapter (RSC-1), Remote Temperature Sensor (RTS),
TriStar TS-MPPT-60 controllers
System size: Solar installation connected to a 24V battery system
Partners include: Shell, Tideland Signal, Marlec
Shell is working on reducing the net carbon footprint of its energy production, an initiative that includes retrofitting offshore facilities including platforms and NUIs (Normally Unmanned Installations) with solar power. Because NUIs see decades of operational use in the harsh weather of the North Sea, with plenty of snow and cloud cover, remote management is difficult. Instead of continuing with two diesel generators constantly online, in 2015, Shell began to simplify the normally unmanned installation by
removing process equipment that was no longer useful or redundant and retrofitting with solar.
Tideland Signal selected Morningstar TriStars, among other components, for use in its systems designed to meet the European Union’s ATEX-certification for use in hazardous locations. The controllers are ideal for the application, featuring everything necessary to reliably operate in the harsh environment. The solar installation makes it easier to maintain the NUIs with simpler equipment and lower emissions. Now, generators are only used for emergencies.
Location: Gulf of Thailand
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.
Location: Malaysia/Southeast Asia
Products: TriStar TS-MPPT-60-48V controllers
System size: 23kW of 320W solar panels with five sets of 48V, 1965Ah battery banks
Partners include: Swift Energy, PTTEP, Honeywell
Coming out of a challenging year with the COVID-19 severely affecting the global economy and causing a significant drop in demand for crude oil, national petroleum exploration and production company PTTEP is glad to get back on track with the installation and start-up of the Pemanis gas facility. The project’s wellheads sit offshore Malaysia’s Kuching shipyard and transmit information in regard to pressure, temperatures, gas metering, etc. back to an operations center on land via satellite.
PTTEP commissioned Swift Energy to provide a solar installation to power remote data gathering on the wellheads. The system included 48V VRLA batteries, 72 320W zone 1 solar panels wired in 48V, and eight Morningstar TriStar controllers. The TriStars include a Modbus interface which gathers data and passes it along to a Honeywell remote terminal unit (RTU) cabinet that transmits back to the operations center. The efficiency and dependability of Morningstar’s MPPT technology, along with its range of online resources to help simplify sizing and easily perform site and cost software analysis, made Morningstar a good choice for this and other Swift Energy projects.
Products: ProStar, SunSaver controllers
Partners include: Automation-X
As a provider to the oil and gas industry, Automation-X uses Morningstar charge
controllers in its battery boxes and solar applications for durable, reliable solutions.
Location: Several locations on the East Coast of the United States
Product: SunSaver SS-20L-12V
System size: 160W of solar and 108 Ah, 12V battery bank
Partners include: SunWize, Equipment & Controls [ECI]
Natural gas plays an increasingly important role in the U.S. energy portfolio. With its growth, safety remains a top priority for distribution and transmission utilities. Any issues must be detected and isolated quickly before there is any chance of failures that could lead to health or safety risks. For example, one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the United States serves approximately 3.5 million natural gas customers. It selected SunWize to design and build over 700 systems for monitoring low-pressure gas lines in several states across the East Coast, equipped with Class 1 Division 2 electrical components rated for use in hazardous locations (HazLoc). This network of systems allows the utility to greatly increase its monitoring and response capabilities for any abnormal pressure situations that may arise, allowing dangerous conditions to be identified and responded to much more quickly than previously.
The locations in which these systems were installed required components meeting UL/CSA Class 1 Division 2 certifications for areas where hazardous gases, vapors and liquids may accidentally exist, including hydrogen, propane, methane and gasolene. Naturally, SunWize selected the SunSaver as the solar charge controller due to its UL/CSA certification and field-proven reliability. Bussman fuses and fuse holders were used in place of circuit breakers to provide a cost-effective hazardous location-rated control panel. The systems also used one 160W rated Class 1 Division 2 solar module along with SunWize’s side-of-pole mount and C4 enclosure.
Application: Rural Electrification
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.
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.”
Application: Oil & Gas
Location: South Texas
Product: TriStar MPPT and SunSaver
System size: 800W array; 24 Volt Deka Solar gelled electrolyte lead acid batteries
Partner: Amereseco 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 SCADA equipment, RTU’s and cathodic protection. For several decades, the Morningstar brand of products have been chosen by the world’s largest oil and gas companies in these applications, because of their reputation for reliability and strong customer support.