The unseen power behind Storage Mart

STORAGE MART has a rather unique energy requirement. The estimated loads were small (around 3 to 4 kW), but continuous throughout the 24 hours. Most different, was the need for a very reliable and continuous supply to run the biggest energy demand – their security system. All-night, high level lighting, uninterrupted camera surveillance, and the storage and monitoring equipment to go with that, was deemed essential.

No power outages, no unstable voltages – ideally nothing that could interrupt this level of security. Seems a tough call in this age of major storms, faults, and load shedding! Ideally a totally self-reliant off-grid solution seemed the answer. But what about the cost? Storage Mart has been built in an area that is, as yet, unserved by the grid, and unlikely to change from that in the short to medium term.

The only solution was to run generators continuously – or was it. Ultimate Power Solutions (U.P.S.) offered a solar powered option, surprisingly the cost was little more than double the estimated cost of paying for an early grid connection. The site needed a short term backup anyway, and so extending the system to being capable of being totally off-grid offered some attractive solutions. There remained the usual concerns for a system like this. Most of the power consumption is through the night when the sun is not shining – will the batteries be reliable?

What about periods of poor weather (and this last rainy season has pretty well set some records in this regard)? This was overcome by having a generator start automatically whenever the batteries reach a set level of discharge. At the current very conservative setting of 60% capacity remaining (only 40% used) for the generator to start, the results show that the generator has been tasked to provide less than 1% of the total energy used – and then most of that has come from the weekly run of 1 hour to ensure the generator is exercised and ready.

To ensure adequate reliability the site is monitored every 60 seconds and the data accessible, off site, to the management and to UPS. This is checked frequently and it has become a common source of amusement that we all can tell when the kettle goes on for tea! Any system alterations that may be needed are also adjusted Off Site! The loads are currently increasing to accommodate aircon units for off-site servers that will be accommodated in the highly secure area, all being handled by the system without issue. You can find UPS in Graniteside

Entry is permitted 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so it’s very convenient. The alarm will also go off if you accidently drive away and leave your roller door open, and there’s armed response on the premises. Even the roof of the units is secure. It’s made of clip lock, interlocking steel sections which can’t be individually removed without taking the whole roof off. The clip lock roof system was specially supplied locally by Global Roofing Solutions.

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