Lightsource solar power rack cabinet
Lightsource are leaders in the construction and long-term operation of solar PV systems; they provide innovative solutions that transform energy to cleaner, more affordable generation and consumption. Their track record has given them a reputation for excellence.
The requirement & Solution
Lightsource had a requirement to demonstrate how solar panels can be used to provide green energy and save a partial cost of electricity in each household. Their aim was to provide a real-time simulator of energy consumption in a typical home to ascertain how much their solar PV system can save.
The Amplicon Engineering Services (AES) team was tasked to design a ruggedized cabinet which was able to house all the hardware and was also eye-catching as it was to be used at various exhibitions. Furthermore, the system had to be built, tested and delivered in less than 3 weeks for an upcoming exhibition.
Due to the urgency and aggressive lead-time of the project, the AES team got started straight away in designing a reliable hardware cabinet system that could be sourced and built very quickly.
Once the system design was finalised, the Amplicon Purchasing team got straight to work in contacting suppliers to look for “in-stock” items. To their credit, the purchasing team successfully sourced all the hardware in less than a week.
The hardware fitted in the cabinet was designed around the Lightsource solar energy equipment which they demonstrated to new and existing clients. Some of the customer equipment used included a transformer-less single phase inverter with battery charging capability and residential energy storage battery pack.
The component parts supplied were chosen from the extensive range of equipment supplied by Amplicon. This allowed the system to demonstrate how the Lightsource system worked in a real-life installation. To simulate the energy produced by a solar panel which would normally be connected to the inverter a programmable PSU with external PC control was selected.
An Amplicon 19” rackmount PC was fitted to run the customers software and to enable the customer to communicate with all the equipment within the cabinet. To achieve this, a number of professional RS232, CAN and GPIO to Ethernet converters were used. Two Amplicon 19” rack displays were used in the cabinet, one customer facing with a touch screen for customer interactions and one console Kwikdraw fitted to the rear allowing full control of the system. Finally, a 4G router was included for remote connectivity to allow for software updates to the system.
One of the main requirements was the ability to design and provide custom metalwork, which was needed to cover the gaps between, and on the side of the equipment as well as also offering extra strength to the brackets that were holding very heavy items such as inverters and batteries.
The Amplicon Product design team was immediately assigned this task; they had to measure the equipment and cabinet to be able to design the necessary bespoke parts using Solid works 2013, the finished designs were then sent to our state of the art Water Jet cutter machine to cut the metalwork.
The finished cabinet was then ‘wrapped’ with a special vinyl wrapping that was printed with a custom image to making the cabinet look like a house. Amplicon
The cabinet was built, tested and delivered in time for the exhibition and had the distinct and attention-grabbing appearance the customer had requested.
Working with the engineering team at Amplicon made our project achievable; the speed and service levels provided were brilliant.
Head of monitoring - Lightsource
With a long history in engineering and innovation, Amplicon provided a unique platform from which to offer a completely customised and cost-effective system that met the customer specification both in cost and timescales.