OPS Australia completes off-grid system upgrade in rural New South Wales
Pine Bluff is Trinity Grammar School’s outdoor education campus in NSW. It is situated on the Abercrombie River some 75kms from Crookwell. The outdoor campus consists of various freestanding buildings including a lodge, dormitory buildings, cottages, classrooms, a shed and a storeroom. In the summer groups of students attend the campus and participate in camping, bush walking and other similar activities.
Being in a remote environment a standalone power system is required. Around 2001, the site had a remote hybrid system installed. That system included 12 kW of solar panels designed to supply power to the facility during the day. The system also utilized a 210kWh battery bank along with a 50kVA inverter system.
OPS carried out a site assessment and found that the battery bank had exceeded its useful lifetime. Also, a number of other maintenance tasks were needed to bring the system back to a satisfactory level of performance. OPS was employed to upgrade the existing system. This included a complete system upgrade of the original inverter to a new DSP controlled hybrid power conditioner including a SCADA remote monitoring package. The aging battery bank was completely replaced with 40 x 6V, 875 Ah batteries, and an MPPT solar regulator was integrated into the DSP control to ensure maximum yield of the solar energy.
The system upgrade was carried out in October and November 2009. It is now fully operational in its self-managed “automatic” mode and has been contributing significant amounts of solar energy to the peak summer load of the facility. The system does this with the assistance of the 2 diesel generators on site and these are also controlled by the HPC unit.