Heuch Solar Refrigeration Solutions Frequently Asked Questions
What are Heuch Redeployables?
Recognising the need or reliable access to refrigeration as a pathway to improving economic, social and health outcomes for developing communities, Heuch has developed a range of refrigeration solutions for remote, off grid locations.
Heuch Redeployables are a direct replacement for diesel generator powered systems. 100% solar powered, units require NIL infrastructure and inputs for continuous and reliable operation.
Why use solar power?
Reliable grid connections are often lacking in developing areas. Cost of infrastructure and connections are high and have a continual operating cost. Skilled technicians are required to maintain grid connections.
Diesel generators are the traditional solution where grid connections are inadequate. While initial purchase price is usually less than solar alternatives, operating expenses can be extremely high, the ever present risk of environmental damage and cost of fuel is always rising. Fuel and oil must be bought and stored. Fuel and oil quality maintained. Easy and regular access to fuel and oil required. Regular servicing by qualified personnel required.
Solar power offers a free and unlimited power source available almost anywhere. Minimal operating cost. No infrastructure or fuel requirements. Extremely low maintenance requirements. Clean, green and quiet. Easily scalable.
How do solar photovoltaic (PV) panels work?
Solar panels use layers of special materials called semi-conductors that create electricity when exposed to sufficient light. There are different types of solar panel construction.
Will it help the environment if i get solar power?
Solar power generation produces no greenhouse gas emissions or air pollution. The energy used to manufacture a solar power system is small compared to the energy generated by the system and is paid back many times over the life of the system.
Can Heuch Redeployables operate on the road or rail?
The solar array must be stowed for transport. Units can operate from on-board batteries or connect to transport medium power supply. Heuch offers separate systems specifically designed for regular road or rail transport.
What if I don't have the infrastructure for handling a shipping container?
Heuch also offers its solar solutions ‘flat packed’, much like when you buy furniture from Ikea™. Heuch flat packs were initially designed to meet the needs of remote island fishing villages in Indonesia and had to be deliverable by Sampan and human effort alone. Broken down into parts to facilitate transport, assembly and commissioning takes place at site.
Additional benefits come from local involvement, increasing the ownership of the project. Operator training and knowledge transfer can also begin straight away.
Are special foundations required?
No. Only a firm, level surface is required. Entry and exit areas should be kept clean to prevent the introduction of foreign matter into the container to protect the products within. Flat pack units for light weight ‘build up’ systems require a concrete slab or foundation.
How long do they take to set up?
After delivery to site, Heuch redeployables can be set up by one person and be operating in as little as 10 minutes. All operations are completed at ground level and require minimum physical efforts.
Is it ok for my system to be shaded?
The solar panels need to be in full sun to operate at best efficiency. Partial shading reduces the power output and may cause the system to reduce its output or stop.
Can I load warm product? Can I leave the door open? What demand duty are they designed for?
Think of your fridge at home. The warmer the milk is, the longer you leave the door open looking for a spot to put the milk back, the harder and longer the fridge will have to work to bring everything back to target temperature again.
Products should be loaded at target temperature and the access food would be used quickly and effectively to minimise the loss of the cool air inside. Target temperatures will be hard to maintain if these factors are not given appropriate attention.
A quality provider will work closely with you to understand the intended application of your equipment and design the system to comfortably meet those duty demands and overcome these limitations. Beware of the “one size fits all” solutions.
What sort of maintenance is required?
Properly designed and built solar and refrigeration systems are inherently reliable and have a very low maintenance requirement. Minor tasks, such as sleeping solar panels clean, are easily achieved, low cost and usually can be performed locally.
Heuch provides training for minor maintenance and repairs to local community members. System life is 20 years plus, so a cost effective and comprehensive maintenance program should be discussed with your systems designer. Comprehensive and accredited training in solar and refrigeration systems is also available through Heuch.
What if it's cloudy, rainy, monsoon season, winter, etc?
The sun rises every day, making solar a more reliable energy source than grid or diesel solutions. Heuch solar systems take local environmental conditions into consideration, such as daily average solar power generation potential, weather patterns and air quality and are designed to operate reliably in these conditions.
Chillers and freezers are supplied with batteries for continuous operation. Extra capacity can be added for additional social applications, such as village lighting or mobile phone charging.
What happens if the batteries go flat?
Heuch’s control system monitors battery condition and will reduce the system electrical loads to assist in the protection of the batteries and battery charge levels. In the event of a battery failure, the system will swap to standby mode.
Can I add additional power and battery storage for my operation?
Yes, Heuch solar systems can easily be scaled up to meet growth demands. Additional capacity may be added to facilitate community goals too, such as village lighting and mobile phone charging schemes.
There is a facility to direct couple additional solar or wind power modules, generator connections and the provision for backup from external grid power. External electrical inspection and approvals may be required.
What else should I consider?
Solar capacity needs to be carefully matched to system demands for reliable operation. A number of factors influence this and should be discussed thoroughly with system designers.
Beware the “one size fits all” offer.
Remember to factor in maintenance costs to your project. New filters and other components will be required from time to time. As will visits from qualified technicians (roughly annual). Heuch can provide a cost effective maintenance program for your system. This can be included in purchase price, or better yet, encourage creation of community co-ops. Even minor income generation from selling produce locally can be put aside to cover maintenance costs and for future investment.