Last week, Austrian manufacturer, Smartflower, introduced the off-grid solar power solution Renewable Mobile Ultra Light Energy System (Remules) to the African market at the Land Forces Africa expo outside Pretoria.
The compact air droppabe solar power system is aimed at providing off-grid power to the military, peacekeeping and humanitarian aid markets. Smartflower, which manufactures the system, promotes Remules as the “world’s first all-in-one carbon fibre solar energy system”.
Initially the Remules was developed for the private market, however after receiving interest from the Austrian military and the Red Cross, a public sector version of Remules was developed.
Interest in off-grid solar power
Rod Friis, Director of ARE (Alternative Rural Energy) and marketer of Remules across Africa, said that interest at the Land Forces Africa expo was “pretty good”.
Although Remules has been designed for the military, he said many calls had been received from the medical fraternity and the mining industry, which needs off-grid power generators for things like perimeter control.
The self-contained unit weighs just 190 kg due to its carbon fibre construction while the transport box weighs 100 kg. The solar panels are arranged in the shape of flower petals and unfurl out of their container when in operation. The system can be set up for operation by one person in ten minutes.
Intelligent off-grid solar power tracking
Remules provides 2 kwp of outlet power and tracks the sun via an integrated GPS tracking system, allowing it to follow the position of the sun in two axes.
As a result, Smartflower claims Remules produces up to 40% more energy than fixed mounted systems and that its monocrystalline solar cells have an efficiency of more than 22%. The attraction for the military is that is claimed to be “invisible to radar and thermal imaging devices”.
Benefits of off-grid solar power
Friis said the advantages of Remules’ off-grid solar power solution are that there are no fuel problems or noise, allowing for operation independent of a logistics chain, and there is no risk of explosion.
Although Remules is more expensive than a generator, it was pointed out that in combat environments like Afghanistan, it cost $400 to bring a litre of diesel to the front line.
The unit is now on display for three weeks at the Weatherhaven RCS headquarters near the Denel Irene campus in Midrand, South Africa.