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.
System size: 50 and 60-W solar panels on 24 sites
Partners include: The Desert Research Institute
The Desert Research Institute (DRI) of the Nevada System of Higher Education administers the Community Environment Monitoring Program (CEMP) to watch the ambient environment for radiation from past nuclear testing, ensuring the safety of nearby communities. The program encompasses 24 publically accessible radiation and weather-monitoring stations.
Solar panels (50 and 60W) operate in conjunction with a deep-cell battery to power all CEMP station instrumentation. Morningstar solar charge controllers have kept these systems reliably running for more than two decades.
Residents’ direct participation in collecting data and disseminating information from these stations provides a greater sense of security. All information collected from automated sensors at these stations is posted online and updated at least hourly.
- 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
Application: Rural Electrification
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.
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.
- 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.
Product: TriStar 60, TriStar 60 MPPT, MeterHub, Relay Driver
System size: Standalone battery-based, solar-powered solutions for the VSAT network
Partners: CIME, Peru Ministry of Transportation
Many Peruvians living in rural areas do not have access to cell service; they can walk to a payphone if they are lucky. The lack of quick communication and the time and money spent on travel negatively affects communities throughout Peru.
The Peruvian government introduced the Fitel Centro Norte y Fitel Centro Sur initiative to reduce the gap in access to telecommunication services in rural areas. It hired CIME Comercial S.A. to design and install a standalone battery-based, solar-powered solution for the VSAT network, a two-way satellite ground station with a dish antenna. Morningstar provided a TriStar 60 and three TriStar 60 MPPT solar controllers, two Relay Drivers, one Remote Meter, and one MeterHub for each of eight installations. Enclosed in a shelter along with batteries and solar modules, this system brings communication to places where the electric grid is unable to reach.
The completion of Peru’s telecommunications systems has increased the satisfaction and well-being of the rural communities, giving farmers access to market trends and agricultural information, and saving lives with healthcare connections.
In 2000-2001, California was marred by a severe energy shortage, causing rolling blackouts that shut down schools and businesses, ground traffic to a halt and sent residents scrambling for reliable food and shelter. Low-income residents-without access to financial safety nets were the hardest hit by the crisis. While policy makers debated regulations, two engineers devised a more immediate solution to eradicate the electrical poverty created by the energy crisis.
GRID Alternatives was launched to create access to free reliable solar energy in low-income communities, while also providing job-training in an industry where demand for skilled professionals is on a seemingly endless upward trajectory. Decades of success in the US-led the program to expand its reach globally. As GRID Alternatives expanded its footprint, Mexico, Nepal and Nicaragua were a natural fit for the community-based program. With its expansion into developing countries came new challenges, and a need to design systems that are still inexpensive and reliable, but can also withstand challenging climate and geography. For systems in Mexico and Nicaragua, GRID Alternatives turned to Morningstar products.
Location: Papua New Guinea
Products: TriStar TS-MPPT-60 controllers, SunSaver SS-10L, and ProStarPS-15 and PS-30 controllers
Partners include: M-NAV Solutions
Lighthouses, buoys, and beacons are crucial for assisting navigators in choosing a safe course of passage. Officially known as Marine Aids to Navigation (AtoN), these structures also are used as platforms for communication and surveillance equipment for weather and ocean monitoring. A non-operational AtoN in a key location could have catastrophic consequences. These systems are most often in remote environments that are difficult to access and exposed to severe environmental conditions. System reliability is so critical that the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), which sets standards for AtoN operation, requires an operational availability rate between 97.0%
and 99.8%. M-NAV has used Morningstar controllers in Papua New Guinea AtoN systems, like this one linked to a solar and battery system at the Jomard
Island Coastal Monitoring Station in Milne Bay Province, for more than 10 years because the products offer a high availability rate and operate reliably in extreme environments. M-NAV Solutions is also recommending Morningstar controllers in AtoN contracts in the Philippines.