The Auckland War Memorial Museum is aiming to reduce their carbon footprint and help kiwis and visitors to New Zealand learn about the benefits of solar power. Not only is this a sustainable step forward for the museum, but it's also going to save a lot of money on power bills.
The impressive 189-panel solar power system has been installed on the roof of the Museum and is now ready to be commissioned. It is currently the largest micro inverter solar power system installed in New Zealand.
Micro inverters are a relatively new technology to the solar power industry in New Zealand. Different from conventional string inverters, the small micro inverters are placed behind each solar panel, so the DC electricity generated from the panel is straight away converted into AC electricity. It is AC electricity that can be used for the Museums electricity demands. In regular string inverter systems, long wires run from the panels to a place indoors where one or more larger inverters are mounted on the wall, converting electricity.
Using Enphase M215 micro inverters on this project allowed for a much simpler system design and for minimal impact on the 85-year-old building.
The system uses Renesola JC260M solar panels that are positioned in a landscape orientation so they can be tilted up to better capture the sun, all the while having a lower profile, hidden from view from the street.
Currently most solar panels are drilled onto a roof, but to avoid damaging the iconic building the solar panels are being held down by weights, which are engineered to withstand 200km/h winds. This is to ensure safety of the panels from New Zealand's harsh climate.
The solar power system is estimated to generate 60,000 kWh annually, which would equate to off setting the outdoor lighting of the building, which will then reduce the museums energy bill considerably. The solar power system itself can generate enough electricity to power 8 homes!
A large 9-screen TV display is planned to go inside of the museum where visitors can see the performance of the system. People will also be able to go online to monitor the amount of power the system is generating.
The Auckland War Memorial's venture into solar power will be a fantastic showcase for solar power technology in New Zealand. This will undoubtedly be an excellent education tool to help the public and visitors to New Zealand in understanding and appreciating just how a solar power system works, and discovering all the benefits this exciting technology can bring.