Power control, solar-powered emergency station in Norway

Arctic National Parks Rely on Solar for Emergency Communications

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Maxeon Panels

The Svalbard Archipelago is one of the least inhabited places on earth – at least in human terms. But with seven national parks and 23 nature reserves covering two-thirds of these Norwegian islands, it's fast becoming an ecotourist destination.

In a land where 60 percent of the ground is covered in glaciers, even basic infrastructure is a challenge. An emergency services network called Nødnett links the national parks for fire, police and rescue squads, with several stations spread across the islands. With no access to grid electricity, however, the stations still need power to run.

"These stations require great redundancy, high capacity, long autonomy and extreme reliability," explains Dag Halvorsen, CEO of Power Controls, the Moss, Norway-based company that found a way to energise the emergency network with solar.

The Power Controls team have added about 200 SunPower® Maxeon® panels to 10 stations across the national park system, providing critical off-grid power, while reducing the need for costly and dirty generators.

Norway presents unforgiving winter weather challenges

Norway presents unforgiving winter weather challenges.

A New Definition for Durability

In remote regions with harsh conditions, making repairs to a far-flung solar system is expensive and dangerous. SunPower Maxeon panels, however, are leading in durability,1Jordan, et. al. Robust PV Degradation Methodology and Application. PVSC 2018 and have been proven over time to stand up to freezing cold and snow.

Over the past 8 years, these SunPower systems have
been producing power in the toughest of weather
and temperature conditions, mounted in antenna
towers on top of Norway's highest mountain tops,
and not one single panel has failed so far.
Dag Halvorsen, CEO, Power Controls
Remote area in Norway, accessible only by air in the winter

Located in remote areas accessible only by air in the winter, reliability of the power source is key.

Solar for a Changing Climate

It's well understood that the Arctic is warming faster than other regions of the world. Radical temperature changes can be tough on solar panels, but because of the unique way SunPower designs its cells, these effects are minimized.

In extensive testing conducted over the last six years, the long-term reliability of SunPower Maxeon panels was put to a range of tests, including "Humidity Freeze" testing. This type of test is used to simulate the effects of extreme temperature swings by inundating a solar panel with heat and humidity, then freezing it, causing severe stresses on all materials. Like a road that cracks after water freezes and expands on the road, the same phenomenon can cause a solar panel to crack.

Even when tested under the wide temperature differential of +85 degrees C to -40 degrees C, the result was an average power loss for SunPower Maxeon panels of less than 1 percent – five times better than other panels.2PVEL Test Reports R671F1 and R671H1

In extreme climates like the Arctic, where sun is in high demand, SunPower delivers – bringing clean, reliable power to critical communications networks.

Project Summary

Product: 200 Maxeon® Solar Panels
Project Type: Government Building Rooftop
 

Challenge: Solution:
high energy icon High energy needs
  • #1 in solar efficiency commercially available (most power/m2)3Based on datasheet review of websites of top 20 manufacturers per IHS, as of May, 2019.
  • 35% more energy in the same space over first 25 years4SunPower 400 W, 22.6% efficient, compared to a Conventional Panel on same-sized arrays (310 W mono PERC, 19% efficient, approx. 1.64 m²)
tent icon, remote location Long-term reliability for remote locations
  • Lower degradation rate than conventional solar5Jordan, et. al. Robust PV Degradation Methodology and Application. PVSC 2018
  • 25-year industry-leading warranty6Based on Jan, 2019 review of warranties on manufacturer websites for top 20 manufacturers per IHS 2018.
weather elements icon Challenging light conditions
  • Superior spectral performance for higher energy yield
freezing temperatures icon Heavy snow and sustained freezing temperatures
  • Durability in extreme water freezing cycles

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