Solar Electric Micro-Utilities
EcoSystems, Inc. is cooperating with high technology solar energy companies, industrial firms and construction companies to develop and market solar energy technologies for remote utility applications, creating the "Solar Micro-Utility Company."
THE CONTEXT AND THE NEED
The planet is experiencing a crisis of unprecedented proportions: There are increasing demands for resources of dwindling quality with increasing costs of extraction: we are consuming our "seed corn." A recent study on the "Hubbert Peak" predicts that our level of extracting oil resources from the earth will peak in 1999 and then drop 20% by the year 2010. This peak is only 5 years away and little is being done to prepare for the crisis which this change is going to precipitate. In the near term, especially in remote rural areas, one key solution will be electricity derived from solar energy. The cost of photovoltaics, for example, is dropping dramatically as the size of the market increases. The difficulty has been that the capital cost of solar systems usually is far beyond the consumer's ability to pay in advance.
People living in rural areas especially operate on the fringe of established monetary systems -- living far from the banks, they cannot repay conventional loans. The Solar Micro-Utility Company has developed a unique system to address the capital repayment requirement.
WHAT IS A SOLAR MICRO-UTILITY?
A solar micro-utility is a system using photovoltaics or another renewable energy source, linked throughout a village, complete with a village-scale wiring network. The village's array of photovoltaic panels, wind generator, small hydroelectric unit or other devices are linked to a centralized facility with a "balance of system" unit which consists of electronics (charge controller and inverter), storage (batteries and/or flywheel), possibly an auxiliary power unit (Diesel or Stirling engine), and a metering system to fulfill the financial instruments. Furthermore, it is envisioned that the manager of the facility would handle a selection of consumer energy products such as high efficiency light bulbs, small high efficiency refrigerators, etc.
SCHEMATIC OF PILOT MODEL
SAMPLE WIRING DIAGRAM
The Solar Micro-Utility Company offers technological advantages with solar concentrator technology. The company is negotiating joint ventures and other relationships for energy production and storage, power electronics, and communications components.
Solar Micro-Utility Company envisions its initial markets to be in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
The Solar Micro-Utility Company is establishing strategic partners to participate in this venture.