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A game changing moveable and modular solar system that can be set up and packed down in days is on track to enter the multi-billion dollar global temporary power market.

A game changing moveable and modular solar system that can be set up and packed down in days is on track to enter the multi-billion dollar global temporary power market.

The Australian Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has committed $2.1 million of recoupable funding support to deploy 1 MW of the ‘SunSHIFT’ technology in Rutherford, New South Wales. ARENA has supported the technology from inception to manufacturing and pilot scale demonstration through successive projects.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said SunSHIFT could help smooth the transition to a renewable energy future by providing a cleaner and more cost effective alternative to diesel generators for off-grid users such as mines, construction sites and remote communities.

“This latest project will provide proof that SunSHIFT can be deployed at scale then effectively packed up and redeployed,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Quick set up and pack down, along with sizing flexibility, presents several advantages for different applications. Projects that only last a handful of years, like construction and mining operations, could benefit from SunSHIFT without having to rely on the typical 20‑plus year payback period for solar installations.

“You can start small – with a single 1 MW block alongside your existing generation facility – and as you become comfortable with the approach and the economics improve, you can add more solar blocks.

“ARENA’s support of innovators and early-movers like SunSHIFT is helping fast-track the development of new Australian technologies.”

If the product succeeds, ARENA has arranged to earn a royalty from the proceeds.

General Manager Will Rayward-Smith said that the new funding would allow SunSHIFT to complete a pre-commercial deployment of its modular and moveable 1 MW Block solar PV product.

“After three exciting years in partnership with ARENA, ABB and SunPower, we can now showcase our megawatt-scale modular and moveable solar PV product to the market,” Dr Rayward-Smith said.

“Off the back of this demonstration, we will be ramping up manufacturing to meet the strong demand for our product from mining companies, independent power providers, and infrastructure investors active in emerging markets and developing economies.”

Laing O’Rourke developed the solution through a newly formed subsidiary, SunSHIFT. It is all-in-one and comprises solar PV and control systems together with a conventional diesel or gas generator, with the potential to add battery storage.

Laing O’Rourke Australia Managing Director, Cathal O’Rourke said the development of this technology was only made possible by ARENA’s support through research, demonstration and now pre-commercial deployment.

“The ongoing collaboration with ARENA has kept the SunSHIFT team intently focused on technical and commercial innovation to overcome the barriers limiting use of renewable energy generation for large-scale, short-term power,” Mr O’Rourke said.

“What started out as an idea to reduce diesel fuel consumption for power generation at our own remote construction sites has evolved into an entirely new type of power generation asset ready for uptake in the multi-billion dollar global temporary power market.”

About Laing O’Rourke

Laing O’Rourke is a $7 billion international operation with 50 years of involvement in Australian construction and infrastructure including a decade under the Laing O’Rourke banner. The business has delivered some of the country’s largest, most technically-complex projects within the transport, oil and gas, building construction, defence, airports, mining, marine, civil and social infrastructure sectors. Laing O’Rourke has twice been named as one of Australia’s Top 10 most innovative businesses, by BRW Magazine, and was the 2016 Winner of the Australian Construction Achievement Award.

About SunSHIFT

SunSHIFT provides modular and moveable turnkey solar microgrid solutions. SunSHIFT can be used in on- and off-grid applications as a standalone system or integrated with other energy sources and storage. SunSHIFT is a subsidiary of Laing O’Rourke, a global engineering and construction company specialising in prefabrication for construction applications. SunSHIFT has been developed and demonstrated with the support of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and technology partners SunPower and ABB. For more information about how SunSHIFT is enabling the next wave of off-grid solar users.

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Last updated 06 June 2023
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