Data centre powered by solar

Tuesday, 09 June, 2015 | Supplied by: Enphase Energy

Data centre powered by solar

MORE Solar Energy has completed the installation of an aggregated 51 kW solar system at the OMNIconnect Data Centre, located in Melbourne. The company worked with Enphase Energy to design and deliver a world-class system with maximum production capabilities.

OMNIconnect, a licensed telecommunications carrier and internet service provider, operates 24 hours a day and consumes nearly 400 MWh of energy each year. Reliant on this energy to deliver critical, high-value data around the clock, the company was running the risk of its demand outstripping supply from the grid.

OMNIconnect turned to MORE Solar Energy to install a solar PV system that would help not only increase its power source, but also reduce operating expenses and carbon footprint. In December 2014, MORE Solar Energy employed Enphase M215 microinverters for the first phase of the project - a 30 kW rooftop solar system.

OMNIconnect needed durable inverter technology built to last, and Enphase microinverters are rigorously tested for extreme weather conditions. They were designed to IP67 standards and only came to market after one million hours of power-on testing.

The second phase of the project saw the installation of a 21 kW solar system in May 2015, resulting in an aggregated system of 51 kW. According to OMNIconnect CEO Peter Hutton, the system is expected to deliver “70 MWh of energy and over $12,000 in tangible savings per year”.

The installation also included an Enphase Enlighten monitoring system, which provides OMNIconnect with the ability to ensure the data centre’s system is working at an optimum level at all times. According to MORE Solar Energy Project Developer Leon Fong, “OMNIconnect was extremely interested in a monitoring solution that would allow them to dig deep into the data and understand their system’s production”, and the system’s real-time analytics enables the company to do just that.

Already a highly energy-efficient building, the OMNIconnect Data Centre houses a range of innovative environmental technologies, including economised cooling, lighting sensors, energy-saving lights, a water collection and filtration system, and natural ventilation. The company additionally uses a heat recovery system that uses hot air from the data centre to heat the office areas during winter months.

“The Enphase system works in concert with existing green initiatives to provide clean energy in the most efficient way possible,” said Enphase Asia-Pacific Managing Director Nathan Dunn. “Not only does this reduce overheads and the building’s carbon footprint, it also bolsters the stability of the facility’s power supply - which is crucial for any data centre.”

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