Naps manufactured an autonomous solar photovoltaic system for the Finnish Antarctic research station Aboa in 2003-2004. The Aboa Weather Station, maintained by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, updates weather data every three hours for an international network. The weather system works solely based on photovoltaic electricity and batteries. In addition, the photovoltaic system supports the energy independence of the research station during the FINNARP exploratory trips in the Antarctic summer season.
The climate conditions in the research station at Queen Maud's Land are extremely demanding. Everything from wind speeds of over 50 meters per second, rock and sandstorm winds to temperatures falling under -40 °C are often seen in the Antarctic, as accompanied with ultraviolet radiation from the ruthless polar sun.
The Naps' solar systems have been working well without any maintenance visits for 14 years. Mika Kalakoski, responsible for the Aboa station, says solar power is the most practical and cost efficient solution for a station on polar glacier line, where all fuel must be transported from outside the continent.
"With solar modules we save 12 percent of fuel costs during the Antarctic summer season, and significantly reduce the logistics burden. During winter time research the seismometer, gps, and the entire synoptic weather station works solely with the solar and battery -system. The 12 volt system also maintains radio station status. We are very pleased with the quality delivered by Naps in an environment where wind, radiation and frost are a challenge for any technology, " says Kalakoski.
Technical information: http://www.napssolar.com/fi/aboa-tutkimusasema-etelamanner-15-kw
Finnish Antarctic research: http://www.antarctica.fi/in-english
Photos: Mika Kalakoski