A solar array in St. Thomas after Hurricane Irma: Photo Caption
Hurricane Harvey recently devastated several parts of the United States of America such as Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, etc. It caused huge flooding in parts of Houston. It resulted in the loss of 83 previous lives and property worth more than $65 billion stood damaged. Similarly, Hurricane Irma caused catastrophic damage in areas including Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands. The hurricane killed at least 132 people and damaged property worth billions. And now there is Hurricane Irma. One of the problems faced in such situations is that all energy infrastructure such as electricity lines or generators get destroyed and their is no power left to run machines to clean up the mess or bring lives back to normal.
In such unforeseen natural disasters, technology can play a pivotal role in providing relief and getting lives back on track. One such innovation is flexible solar panels that can roll out from trucks like a carpet. They can offer a first response emergency solution for hurricane-affected regions, including islands, as well as offer energy security as they can be part of a counter hurricane strategy and energy infrastructure.
Developed and designed by Renovagen, the super flexible solar panel can be rolled up and down—pretty much like a carpet. So, in case of places struck by disaster, these can be immensely beneficial. Basically, you can drive off to a hilly remote area for a picnic and roll out the solar panels, which will recharge your car. So you basically don’t have to worry about getting fuelled-out.
Solar Roll-Arrays are quick to deploy and easy to use
Called Roll-Array, the technology can be towed by any car and is fairly simple to use. First, you hook it to the back of a car and drop the Roll Array to where you want to place the solar power panels. You can use a spool to connect it to the back of a car. You can then drive the vehicle forward allowing the spool to pull the Roll-Array, which rolls out like a carpet. Your very own power generation system is up and running as the solar panels get on the job fairly quickly.
At present, the device can churn around 18 kW of maximum power. It also comes with a 53 kWh lithium energy storage system together with fans and filters for cooling and ventilation. In size, it can easily fit into a helicopter or a truck. The uptime is also less, meaning it can hit the ground running.
Solar power: renewable energy for the present and the future
Solar power has been on quite a roll over the past few years. In fact, the number of rooftop solar installations have increased substantially as the technology has kept on getting increasingly better as well as affordable. Therefore, innovators and inventors have not only focused on improving solar cell efficiency, but are also trying to develop more creative and flexible designs.
The flexible solar power system is strong and rigid; this allows the carpet to have multiple roll-in’s and roll-out’s without causing any damage. It is like a fully functional microgrid. The system is perfectly suited for camping, mining activities, festivals, as well as a source of emergency power.
Other tech developments in solar energy
Recently, the world’s biggest floating solar power plant has been made operational in Huainan city, Eastern China. The 40-MW plant is situated on a reservoir and is in close proximity to the city. Offshore from Huainan, the plant has been successfully connected with the power grid. The world’s first floating wind energy farm is now functional near the north-east coast of Scotland.
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Image credit: Inhabitat
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