Caterpillar Introduces Solar Microgrid for Remote Installations and Continual Power

Caterpillar Introduces Solar Microgrid for Remote Installations and Continual Power

by on in Photovoltaic Technology, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Solar Panels, Solar Power

Caterpillar is likely best known for its heavy equipment movers and their Old Yellow paint jobs, but the company and its subsidiaries make equipment for all sorts of industrial and commercial applications, among them, generators. Now it’s offering a cleaner solution in a new, solar powered microgrid system aimed at more remote locations like cell towers or remote villages. 

Cat said the new solar microgrid is ideal for remote installations including telecommunications towers, industrial facilities, mining installations, remote villages, islands and rural communities. Places where it can be difficult or cost-prohibitive to install electric power from the grid or to transport fuel to. The company added that the systems are also designed to lower utility bills, offset carbon emissions and reduce ownership costs “while increasing energy efficiency in even the most challenging environments.Caterpillar's solar microgrid at its proving ground. Courtesy Caterpillar

“With the declining cost of renewable energy sources and rapid advances in energy storage technology, the time is right to provide an integrated application for remote power,” said Rick Rathe, general manager of new ventures for Caterpillar’s Electric Power business. “Cat Microgrid technologies deliver an innovative, financially viable way to incorporate sustainable sources of energy into our existing portfolio of traditional power generation offerings.”

Last year the company partnered with First Solar to provide thin-film solar panels and develop a pre-engineered turnkey microgrid system. It also partnered with Fluidic Energy to provide a unique metal-air energy storage technology and Powerhive which is working to provide microgrid systems in developing countries. Now the companies are introducing the Cat Microgrid technology platform. The systems can be ordered as a turnkey solution or designed to meet customers’ needs and systems range from 10 kilowatts to 100 megawatts, according to Cat. 

Cat commissioned a system at its Proving Ground in Arizona. “In March, facility managers installed 500 kW of photovoltaic solar power along with 500 kW of short-term energy storage in the form of batteries and ultracapacitors to supplement power that previously had been supplied solely by three C15 410-kW diesel generator sets,” it said.  “The integrated system is expected to reduce fuel consumption by approximately 33 percent.”

The package features solar panels, cutting-edge energy storage, and advanced monitoring and control systems. The company said it plans to make the new solar-powered microgrid system available worldwide in the coming months. 

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