Australia’s leading Antarctic research stations has reportedly become partially solar powered in an effort that could pave the way for other outposts to become greener. As per trusted sources, over 100 solar panels at the Casey Research Station, one of Australia’s three lasting bases on the frozen continent, were recently switched on. These panels are estimated to provide nearly 10 percent of the station’s yearly energy, reducing reliability on diesel generators and cutting down emissions.
Kim Ellis, Director at Australian Antarctic Division said in a statement that this is the foremost solar power array at the country’s Antarctic station and the largest in Antarctica. Recently, the Antarctica government put out a tweet stating that the first solar farm in the region has been turned on at the research station owing to a collaboration with Masdar. The 105 solar panels offer 30 kW of renewable energy into the station’s power grid in summer, stated Antarctica’s government.
Sources familiar with the development claim that it took two months to fix the solar technology on the side wall of the station’s green store. Meanwhile, Engineers battled -7° temperature and blizzards to install the panels, which have been designed to capture the low angle of the sun and survive extreme cold, cited sources.
Doreen McCurdy, Engineering Services Supervisor at Casey Station, was quoted saying that it was challenging to fit panels in the cold, as the brackets and bolts are tiny and fiddly and hard to install with gloves on. She further mentioned that the team had to use hand warmers to keep their finger nimble in the extreme weather.
According to sources familiar with the development, there are plans to join the panels to a battery storage system and examine whether solar power can be supplied at other Antarctic stations of Australia.
Once the solar system is running, the AAD will be able to monitor its performance as part of the station’s power grid, in a bid to assess the technology’s potential for the future, reported credible sources.