Solar Power at HMNB Portsmouth

BAE has finalised its installation of solar panels and Portsmouth Naval Base to decrease the overall power bill. 2,000 panels have been installed on a couple of buildings at the base to generate approximately 500kw and save a million Pounds over the next 20 years.

BAE Solar Power HMNB Portsmouth

The installation has been delivered under the Maritime Support Delivery Framework partnering agreement that places facilities management and engineering responsibility with BAE.

I don’t think there is anything not to like here, investing to save and reducing the MoD’s energy load seems like a good idea to me.

 

 

 

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Simon257
Simon257
July 6, 2015 8:21 am

Sorry to be sarcastic TD. But do these work in the Dark?

Simon257
Simon257
July 6, 2015 8:23 am

Sorry to be so Sarcastic TD! But I take it these SOLAR panels work in the Dark! It would be good to know!

monkey
monkey
July 6, 2015 8:56 am

A good way forward to varying energy supply dependence.
The US military has set itself a target of 25% green energy by 2025 and many bases allready have achieved this or better , some even exporting energy during peak production. On site conventional generation picks up the slack alongside large battery storage facilities now familiar with the telecommunications and internet server industry ( which have provision for usually at least a day of no mains power for at least a day globally ) .
Liquid fuel is still a big problem though , although bio- fuels have been tested and accepted for use in vehicles,aircraft and ships global supply and availability still limit their use by the US military.
http://www.google.co.uk/url?q=http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/22/opinion/cuttino-military-green/&sa=U&ei=Q0CaVdmSHYP7ULa9jZgM&ved=0CAsQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNEh2Xf8vASqWhsAOnoogyG5Yu0nJA

The Other Chris
July 6, 2015 9:00 am

Industry is a good place for photovoltaics. Unlike the home energy market where we need a storage solution to deliver constant power primarily in the evening, there’s typically either a continuous baseline power draw or a majority daylight-hours draw. This will reduce the amount of power the plant needs to pull from the grid during the day.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
July 6, 2015 9:40 am

A drop in the ocean compared to what is needed.

wf
wf
July 6, 2015 10:11 am

I’ll be betting that 500KW is peak power. Given what the weather is usually in our neck of the woods, 100KW is what will usually be delivered during the day. For remote devices that are powered entirely by solar energy, they assume the power draw should be supported by 20 times the maximum power of the array, so batteries and this array can guarentee 25KW: about 10 kettles or 100 lights over a 24 hour period.

Of course, they actually want to use it to save on their electricity bills, for which the princely sum of a million quid sounds a) a bit pathetic and b) no doubt predicated on the current insane feed in tariff’s remaining the same (not bloody likely!). Moreover, since the power will need to be backed up at ultra short notice like wind, in practice this will mean both local and/or national grid diesel gensets providing much of the peak loads, at insane costs and producing far more pollution than say your average gas turbine power station.

The example of PB “whereever” in Afghanistan is not a relevant example how how things should be done. Apart from the small matter of the amount of sunlight, what made it work was the cost in shipping diesel in both blood and treasure was high. If we need to helicopter our diesel into Portsmouth then we have other problems :-(

MSR
MSR
July 6, 2015 11:33 am

I saw that picture and, for a split second, I thought they’d put solar panels on Queen Elizabeth’s ski jump!

Well, you never know…

monkey
monkey
July 6, 2015 2:29 pm

The Germans went mad for PV solar to stimulate domestic production of the units, jobs on installations and to keep their powerful Green lobby happy. They have more installed PV solar than any country in the world .They can generate over 50% of their electricity at peak production. This however despite shunting excess over the borders to neighbouring countries big issues with their national grid. A major investment is underway to balance out the system which we are watching carefully . Our own grid already has major issues and green generation is not helping at all. We pay some wind farms NOT to produce at times as their input causes local oversupply. PV solar is much harder to deal with as you cant just stop generating when you want so you have to dump the excess where ever you can. The US has similar problems.

The Other Chris
July 6, 2015 2:53 pm

It’s a storage and conversion problem.

A Caribbean Perspective
A Caribbean Perspective
July 6, 2015 3:55 pm

Storage is really the biggest problem at the moment. I think a lot of people see storage as being something that is done at the private/ domestic level, whereas it’s probably more efficient to build very large area-level storage facilities, using technologies that are inappropriate for domestic settings, like chromium iron redox and others. They can be built to multi megawatt/hour capacity and handle higher-level power densities than conventional domestic units, but often use rather unpleasant chemicals, or use technology that needs constant monitoring etc. If they are appropriately located, they can store local renewable power production as well as grid-produced power (they can also help smooth main generation demand as well). There are lots of companies working on large-scale storage technologies, with a reasonable amount of capacity installed for such a young industry (around 24 Gwatts in the USA).

Peter L
Peter L
July 6, 2015 8:49 pm

“battery storage facilities now familiar with the telecommunications and internet server industry ( which have provision for usually at least a day of no mains power for at least a day globally ) .”

As an IT Professional and being throughly aware of practices related to keeping my systems up, I can state definitively that it is not normal to have 24 hours worth of battery storage, and I will go so far as to say that nobody, anywhere has 24 hours worth of battery capacity installed for IT purposes. 30 minutes might be batteries, the remaining 23 hours 30 minutes will be supplied from generators. The following should explain why pretty starkly.

A single modern server draws up to 750 watts and measures 1 Rack Unit (1U). A UPS capable of running this load could be had for about £500 and would give you an uptime on the battery of about 10 minutes (taking up 2U). Additional battery storage for an extra 30 mins costs around £1K (and takes up 2U each) so you’d need to hand over the best part of £50k for powering that single server for 24 hours. Assuming that you could do it this way (which you can’t) the battery storage required would need 98 Rack Units worth of space, thus needing 3 standard 48U Racks to hold it all. An additional concern would be the fact that lot weighs in at a ball park two tons, and this to power 1/48th of a standard server rack, excluding the power requirement of the air conditioning, which is not an optional extra since everything would melt without it given that a 48U server rack can put out as much heat as a stack of 15 electric fan heaters on full.

No my friends, let me assure you that the impressive rooms full of UPS’s that you might have in mind at data centres or even covering server rooms are designed to provide battery power for mere minutes until a generator kicks in. The longest capacity I have ever seen in my career was specced to last about half an hour before the generator kicked in, and that required a seperate room for the battery storage that was about twice the size of the server room. Generators will probably have sufficant diesel bunkerage for 24 hours running because diesel is very dense storage compared to electrical and it makes sense to got for storage in that ballpark so you can put arrangements in place with suppliers to get a tanker to top off the storage within that time window to cater for longer outages.

Energy storage in general doesn’t work particually well, which is why we have 12.5 times more gas plant capacity (which can be started up quickly) than pumped storage in the UK. Storage needs a massive amount of space and money compared to simply generating the power, which you have to do pretty quickly in any case since storage inevitably runs out quickly.

Chris
Editor
Chris
July 6, 2015 9:28 pm

Peter L – agreed, which is why there is greater value in hybrid vehicle technology than pure electric. Although direct electricity production using hydrogen fuel cells would be viable. I think the key point here is that conversion from chemical energy to electricity is far more compact and reliable than trying to store electric charge. And fuel tends to hang on to its energy while in storage far better than does electric charge. There are some really exciting new battery technologies but they will still not have the energy density of chemical fuel.

The other consideration is raw material needs – rare metals cannot be created in a factory, they have to be mined and refined, or recycled from ageing obsolete kit. Now everyone in the world has a lithium ion battery in his/her pocket powering the mostly unnecessary smartphone (cue Douglas Adams quote on Digital Watches*) and another in the laptop/tablet, and a few more around the house in last year’s phone/tablet/PC and so on, the reserves of lithium must be being stretched. There is a significant chance a new battery technology of much better energy density/retention will be developed, but if its a Rhodium-Helium battery then raw materials will be exhausted before demand is met. The smart research ought to be investigating salty-aluminium batteries or the likes made from cheap plentiful supply raw materials.

*Quote along the lines that our planet’s “ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea” – well the apes have moved on to bingly-bong smart?phones that deliver 24hr Facebook drivel whether desired or not. Progress.