May 2018, Hong Kong
How many universities in Asia can claim to produce their own solar energy to power their facilities and laboratories?
Unfortunately, not as many as actually would benefit from it. As a leader in renewable energy research in ASEAN, solar energy production is nothing new to the Energy Research and Development Institute of Chiang Mai University (ERDI-CMU) in Thailand. ERDI designed its own 37 kWp solar generation system to serve a dual purpose: (i) as a roof for their car park in order to keep the cars shaded; and (ii) to provide power to the ERDI building next to the car park.
A high amount of energy but no possibility to use it all
At certain periods however, the solar panels produce more energy than the building consumes, especially during weekends or during periods of high solar intensity such as during the summer. Additionally, the regulatory framework in Thailand does not allow exporting of power to the grid without an electricity production license, meaning solar producers that lack an electricity production license would be required to curtail their production, adversely affecting the economics of such solar installations.
Ampd Silo allowing maximum utilisation of an existing solar PV system
The Ampd Silo allows ERDI to store the surplus energy produced - surplus energy which might have otherwise been curtailed - by their existing solar PV system, and use it during periods when the solar system is unable to meet the building's power requirements. In doing so, ERDI are now able to fully utilise the the energy generated by their existing solar PV system and further reduce their energy consumption from the grid.
A further benefit of the Ampd Silo is its ability to provide an extremely stable and high-quality 220 volt power supply to the laboratories in ERDI's building, which it is connected to, acting as a Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) backup system in the event of a grid-failure.
ERDI's director is proud
Dr. Pruk Aggarangsi, Director of ERDI proudly states “ERDI-CMU purchased an Ampd Silo as a solar energy storage system. It has been running flawlessly since its installation and allows us to utilise the surplus energy generated by our solar panels during non-peak periods, providing that energy to our sensitive equipment in the laboratories.”