Power conversion company Ideal Power Inc. and EnerDel, a leading lithium-ion battery manufacturer and energy system integrator, have teamed up to create a mobile hybrid solar plus battery energy storage system for the United States Air Force aimed at reducing the diesel fuel used to power forward operating bases (FOB). Researchers in the Air Force Research Laboratory and the University of Dayton Research Institute recently launched the joint year-long program where they are demonstrating technologies capable of powering remote military installations that normally depend on the regular delivery of diesel fuel via convoy, often in hostile locations.
EnerDel selected Ideal Power’s Grid Resilient Multi-port 30-kW Power Conversion System (30B3) for this project. EnerDel’s Mobile Hybrid Power System (MHPS) integrates the 30B3 with an 8-kW tent-mounted solar array to form a portable microgrid. The project supports the U.S. Air Force’s Energy Strategic Plan, which seeks to improve the resiliency of their FOBs and reduce dependence on diesel-powered generators. The project has been successfully operating at the 319th Training Squadron’s Basic Expeditionary Airmen Skills Training (BEAST) facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and is currently powering lights and air conditioning systems for 10 FOB living quarters. The microgrid has been undergoing rigorous testing for the past seven months and could eventually be deployed at Air Force locations across the globe.
“There is a history of successful commercial applications coming out of the military. This installation is a great example of the type of project that can lead to penetration of the large military and microgrid markets in addition to broad applications in a commercial setting,” said Bill Alexander, CTO at Ideal Power. “Ordinary solar PV installations can only supply power while the utility grid is up and running. This system supplies power from solar PV independent of the utility grid and points the way toward microgrid-ready solar PV which will supply electricity – with or without utility power – and allow facilities to continue powered operations from battery and/or solar PV after loss of utility power.”
— Solar Builder magazine