EDMONTON — Students from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Alternative Energy program have found a new way to use shipping containers on a construction site.
Two students developed a system of solar modules that fit inside the containers to supply environmentally friendly, low-cost power to construction and remote construction sites.
Csilla Harsasi and Aaron McGregor began the project as a final assignment for their studies. The modified containers are now being tested on the Blatchford redevelopment site in Edmonton, powering trailers for Chandos Construction, the site contractor.
The system will remain at Blatchford until spring to test its performance.
The container was first tested at the Edmonton Heritage Festival in August.
The shipping container can house 44 solar modules – enough to replace a large natural gas generator. This cuts fuel costs and reduces gas emissions.
The system on the Blatchford site took only about two hours to install and can withstand wind gusts of up to 60 kilometres per hour.
This makes it especially useful power supply for construction projects and remote sites.
“You don’t need to know anything about solar to use one of these and you don’t need one of us (experts) to set it up,” said Harsasi in a press release. “It’s pretty much an off-the-shelf product.”
Harsasi and McGregor designed the portable system from a concept created by Great Canadian Solar. Harsasi now works for the Edmonton-based company.