Pop-Up Solar Triangle Aimed At Remote Areas

A lightweight, easy-to-assemble power generation system was unveiled recently, with the claim that it could help bring energy to remote areas in developing countries.

The Triangle-based Omni-purpose Building (TOB) consists of a wooden gazebo covered in photovoltaic (PV) panels and equipped with a storage battery.

Enel Triangle-based Omni-purpose Building

image via Enel

Made by Italian energy provider Enel, TOB has been designed to provide power and essential services to isolated areas where electricity is not yet available. According to Enel, the building is capable of integrating PV and other renewable energy systems, depending on what sort of resources exist at the installation sites.

Power generated by TOB is made available for use whenever necessary by means of power storage systems installed inside the building.

The structure, which was unveiled in Pisa recently, is made up of two base units (modules of approximately 30 meters square) with 5.4 kilowatts of thin-film photovoltaic panels. The building is fitted out with storage batteries which can retain energy generated for up to four hours. The TOB structure is also habitable and, Enel says, can be used for a variety of functions including as a school, a field hospitals, a mountain refuge or even as a holiday resort.

In a statement Livio Vido, Director of the Enel Engineering and Research Division, said: “This inauguration is an important moment, because it confirms Enel Research’s leading role in technological innovation in the energy field. TOB is a simple, low-cost solution that is easy to install and use, opening up important prospects for delivering electricity to the world’s most remote locations.”

The project was conceived as part of Enel’s Enabling Electricity Program, which works to provide access to electricity in isolated areas and disadvantaged communities throughout the world. The program came about in response to an appeal from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who has dedicated 2012 to the fight against energy poverty, declaring it the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.

Paul Willis has been journalist for a decade. Starting out in Northern England, from where he hails, he worked as a reporter on regional papers before graduating to the cut-throat world of London print media. On the way he spent a year as a correspondent in East Africa, writing about election fraud, drought and an Ethiopian version of American Idol. Since moving to America three years ago he has worked as a freelancer, working for CNN.com and major newspapers in Britain, Australia and North America. He writes on subjects as diverse as travel, media ethics and human evolution. He lives in New York where, in spite of the car fumes and the sometimes eccentric driving habits of the yellow cabs, he rides his bike everywhere.