Starting in 2007 the joint venture between SOLARBOX and GFM has developed the prototype of a high concentration suntracker. In PV applications, trackers are used to minimize the angle of incidence between the incoming sunlight and a photovoltaic panel. This increases the amount of energy produced from a fixed amount of installed power.
Additional reengineering and prototype scale-up tasks are a high priority to reach following manufacturing goals and complete market readiness of SUNINBOX product.
Thus, apart from the demonstrated solar tracking system, SOLARBOX and GFM have applied their previous long track professional record on the manufacturing and delivery of packed energy solutions, to develop SUNINBOX solution by establishing the integration of the different components inside a portable container as well as designing the rail system, a control software for the solar tracker.
HORIZON 2020. THE EU FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME FOR RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness.
In Europe, the average cost of electricity lines is high, hence the fact that installing off-grid solar PV systems can often be cheaper than installing electricity lines and that under many circumstances PV generation can be cheaper than generating via a diesel generator, have made the PV market an attractive opportunity to promote rural development.
PV generation must overcome some crucial challenges to address the requirements of electricity generation in off-grid areas, mainly:
- To lower operational and maintenance costs: Solar PV electricity generation must be competitive with other off-grid solutions such as diesel generation, whose operational and maintenance costs are about 0.56 €/kWh.
- To develop low cost standalone systems that are portable and easy to install, to facilitate transport and use.
SUNINBOX exactly matches the requirements reflected in the Horizon 2020 topic “Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for a low carbon and efficient energy system” by the introduction of a mobile energy source solution in the market, based on a packaged solar photovoltaic system which works autonomously, contributing to the off-grid electricity generation with renewable energy as an alternative to the traditional off-grid generation with fuel gensets. Thus, SUNINBOX reduces energy consumption and carbon footprint by a smart and sustainable use of technology, delivering a low cost clean electricity solution for areas with on-site generation requirements. This also matches with the EC objective to promote low-cost and low-carbon electricity supply, including renewable energy as well as CCS and re-use and hence, contributes to the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge ‘Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy’.
By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 has helping us to achieve our new market product, SUNINBOX. This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 738842
OBJECTIVES OF SUNINBOX
European rural development is inevitably linked to new off-grid electrification solutions, able to improve the energy efficiency in agricultural equipment and other rural facilities. The estimated energy consumption in the EU-27 related to agriculture amounts to 1,606 MTOE, and in particular Mediterranean countries with high irrigation areas show a consumption over 708MTOE, mainly due to the use of fossil fuels, (more than 52% share), to supply power to equipment5. Particularly, off-grid diesel generator installed capacity will reach 82 GW6 per year in the period 2013-2018, adding to the environment an average rate of 55.8 MTn of CO2.
The SUNINBOX project will introduce a mobile renewable energy source (packaged in a transportable and stackable container) in the market . The solution addresses key European and global challenges related to electricity generation:
- Reduction of CO2 emissions: SUNINBOX will decrease the use of fossil fuels while guaranteeing continuous energy supply on demand. This will be achieved by providing a low-carbon electricity supply technology up to 40% cheaper than diesel generation. SUNINBOX basic module is able to generate up to 32,500 kWh/year, which means that in 5 years Suninbox will save up to 33KTon of CO2 that otherwise would have been emitted to the atmosphere due to the use of GenSets.
- Fostering low-carbon energy supply: SUNINBOX will boost the use of PV low-carbon energy in the agricultural sector, by providing an affordable and portable solution 15% cheaper that current fixed PV solutions in the market for the same power, which are much less versatile when providing solutions targeted to generate energy to supply irrigation and pumping systems.