Solar Power Used for Seismic Mapping Stations

Understanding how and why the earth’s crust shifts like it does requires data collection from areas that aren’t close to a power supply. Northern Power Systems was awarded a contract to supply 30 of its TeleSol photovoltaic (PV) power systems for the USArray component of EarthScope, an experiment that is exploring the structure and evolution of the North American continent and the physical processes controlling earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

The stand-alone TeleSol solar power systems will provide power for seismometer sites across the United States that comprise the USArray facility. “It is our hope that experiments like EarthScope will enable the world’s scientific community to better understand earthquakes and the underlying factors that cause them and, ultimately, contribute to better early warning systems and processes,” said Northern Power President Jito Coleman. Operated by Incorporated Research Institutes for Seismology (IRIS) and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the EarthScope USArray facility is made up of hundreds of transportable as well as permanent seismometers. EarthScope should provide a foundation for fundamental and applied research throughout the United States that will contribute to the mitigation of risks from geological hazards, the development of natural resources, and the public’s understanding of the dynamic Earth. USArray monitors seismicity in the continental U.S. in order to provide new insight and new data to address fundamental questions in earthquake physics, volcanic processes, core-mantle interactions, and continental structure and evolution. Northern’s remote power supply design organizes the systems into four separate region-specific configurations, each of which consists of an environmentally conditioned enclosure, a solar array, a battery bank and proprietary Northern power controls, remote monitoring/SCADA software, and electronics. “Small loads from 50 through 400 W are economically served though Northern’s standalone TeleSol PV product, and the seismometer applications in the USArray project fit in this category,” said Michael Brennan, Vice President of Industrial Infrastructure at Northern. “The TeleSol product provides high-reliability, utility grade power with no genset fueling or maintenance requirement, factors which will be important in the USArray facility.”
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