New mobile solar power to aid ‘cleaner’ regional construction firms

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Regional construction and mining sites in Australia will benefit from multi-million dollar mobile solar technology, it has been reported.

A $2.1 million investment has been pledged by the Turnbull Government for “pop-up” solar farms to help businesses replace diesel generators with clean energy.

The “all-in-one system” SunSHIFT 1 mW blocks will have the potential to be “deployed quickly in shipping containers at various sites”, according to a report in the AFR.

“Projects that only last a handful of years, like construction and mining operations, could benefit from SunSHIFT without having to rely on the typical 20-plus year payback period for [permanent] solar installations,” said Ivor Frischknecht, the CEO for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

“You can start small – with a single 1 megawatt block alongside your existing generation facility – and as you become comfortable with the approach and the economics improve you can add more solar blocks.”

Will Rayward-Smith, SunSHIFT general manager, has also told the AFR he was surprised to find there was no mobile product of this kind on his move to Australia.

“Technically there is no limit to how big the installation can be,” Dr Rayward-Smith said. “You just add blocks together and batteries. Ultimately the limit is the energy demand from the site which eventually could reach 100 per cent renewable but that’s in the longer term.”

Energy minister Josh Frydenberg has also said the introduction of the SunSHIFT project would mean “several locations can benefit from a single plant without any one site needing to commit to a permanent installation”.