OXIS Solar Centre for Autonomous Research Launches Project Helios

June 04, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

The OXIS Solar Centre for Autonomous Research (OSCAR) has launched Project Helios today as a launch-pad for cheaper commercial solar energy right across the world. OSCAR is a specially built demonstration center that houses OXIS' entire solar storage technology. The Project Helios demonstration comprises a 3.8kWp solar PV power generation system which is fully integrated with a 3kWh OXIS Lithium Sulfur battery. It has 16 PV panels which are connected in series to produce 600Vdc and this feeds into the widely used SMA Sunny Boy Inverter to generate a 240V, 50Hz "mains" output. The inverter includes MPPT to ensure that the panels operate at maximum efficiency under all conditions of sunlight and temperature.

The mains output from the Sunny Boy inverter is used to power both the charger for the driverless vehicle, the Meridian Navya and the SMA Sunny Island Battery inverter which in turn charges the OXIS Lithium Sulfur battery, storing the unused excess energy generated during daylight for use after dark.

The Sunny Island and Sunny Boy inverters are currently configured in off-grid mode. However, when power is not available from either the PV panels or the battery, the system will switch to mains operation and take energy from the grid to ensure the loads remain powered. This off-grid configuration allows us to manage the loads connected to the system so that we can evaluate the performance of the OXIS battery under controlled conditions. The system can easily be reconfigured for grid connected operation where the battery is used to increase self-consumption.

The single 48V 3 kWh OXIS Lithium Sulfur battery, shown in this demonstration, can be expanded to a total of four batteries, stacked and connected in parallel, providing a total storage capacity of 12kWh, suitable for most domestic installations in Europe. For larger systems, where a more complex arrangement is needed, the 19" Rack Mount Batteries is recommended. This will be available later this year.

The CEO of OXIS Energy, Huw Hampson-Jones says: "The significance of this technology is at this stage understated. In the continent of Africa for example, this is a breakthrough as profound as the introduction of the mobile phone and allows for the rapid commercialization of their economies using solar energy storage systems. For Europe, this technology brings a safe and cheap source of electricity for its citizens in a manner that allows its economies to lessen their dependency on oil and gas".

PROINSO Head of Asia Pacific and Storage, Stuart Macfarlane, added: "The realization of the OXIS storage solution is perfectly timed as we continue to move into emerging markets that have a high demand for safe, reliable and cost-effective energy storage solutions. Importantly, the technology is robust and easily scalable which is crucial for use across a wide range of applications and in frequently hostile environments. PROINSO is constantly looking for that next innovation which will enable us to continue to deliver technically sophisticated solutions that showcase the best the industry can offer. Working with companies like OXIS in the development of new technologies is the foundation of this ongoing process".