Compact air droppable solar power solution Remules (Renewable Mobile Ultra Light Energy System) is being marketed in Africa for the first time and is being aimed at the military, peacekeeping and humanitarian aid markets.
The system debuted at the Idex defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi in February and was displayed in Africa for the first time at Land Forces Africa between 6 and 7 July outside Pretoria. The civilian version of Remules was developed a couple of years ago with the military version following after interest from the Austrian military and the Red Cross.
Rod Friis, Director of ARE (Alternative Rural Energy) and marketer of Remules across Africa, said that interest at Land Forces Africa was pretty good. Although Remules has been designed for the military, he said many calls had been received from the medical fraternity and the mining industry, which needs off-grid power generators for things like perimeter control.
Austrian company Smartflower, which manufactures the system, markets Remules as the world’s first all-in-one carbon fibre solar energy system. The self-contained unit weighs just 190 kg thanks to its carbon fibre construction while the transport box weighs 100 kg. The solar panels are arranged like flower petals and unfurl out of their container when in operation. The system can be set up for operation by one person in ten minutes.
Remules provides 2 kwp of outlet power and tracks the sun via an integrated GPS tracking system, allowing it to follow the position of the sun in two axes. As a result, Smartflower claims Remules produces up to 40 % more energy than fixed mounted systems and that its monocrystalline solar cells have an efficiency of more than 22?%. They are also claimed to be invisible to radar and thermal imaging devices.
Friis said the advantages of Remules are that there are no fuel problems or noise, allowing for operation independent of a logistics chain, and there is no risk of explosion.
Although Remules is more expensive than a generator, it was pointed out that in combat environments like Afghanistan, it cost $400 to bring a litre of diesel to the front line.
Friis said there was a ‘bookload of interest’ in the system at Land Forces Africa. No military sales have been made so far. However, Smartflower is confident that given the amount of interest, the first order will come from the military.
The unit is now on display for three weeks at the Weatherhaven RCS headquaerters near the Denel Irene campus in Midrand.