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  • Writer's pictureKylie F. Kearns

Students Star On The Solar Stage

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

Big Jobs Call For Big Gadgets

Leading the country as Australia’s first officially credited Carbon Neutral School, South Fremantle Senior High School is also believed to have built Western Australia’s first Mobile Solar Stage.

The towable dual axle Mobile Stage provides a sheltered, easily set up platform for the Schools’ Specialist Music Students who can now perform and tour to almost limitless localities and audiences, self sufficiently.

The Solar Stage is more than a sustainable performance venue with musicians and sound technicians; it’s also a teaching tool for things like event planning, road tripping and participation in a variety of causes in different communities. It’s a truly fantastic idea.

The Solar Stage is required to power speakers, microphones, lights and electrical instruments for two days or one day and half the night, so Install A Gadget set about designing an adequate Solar System, incorporating the only batteries up for the job – Lithium.

After days of prior preparation, programming and testing, Install A Gadget installed the following over 4 days:

  • Solar Panels - 6x 300 Watt covering the entire roof of the trailer.

  • Lithium Batteries – 2x 12V, 400Ah LiFePO4’s, wired to make 1x 24V, 400Ah Battery. LiFePO4 batteries are a perfect fit for the Sth Fremantle SHS Solar Stage. They are smaller and up to four times lighter than AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat Deep Cycling) batteries which is critical to keeping a safe towing weight.

The weight saving is quite significant. The 2x 400Ah LiFePO4 batteries in The Solar Stage weigh 110kgs. To achieve the same amount of useable energy from AGM batteries, the AGM’s would weigh a total of 420kgs! That’s over a quarter of a tonne of weight saved!

Our LiFePO4 Batteries also have 80% usable energy compared to AGM’s which only has 50%, they cycle (charge and discharge) approximately four times more than that of an AGM battery and Lithium batteries hold their charge very high and stable, meaning the equipment powered by the system will work more efficiently. Our LiFePO4 batteries can also accept a charge from the Solar System up to four times faster than AGM’s so students’ll be playing sweet music all day long.

  • Victron Energys’ Latest Release Easy Solar- An all-in-one unit comprising of a 24V 3000 Watt Inverter, 70 Amp Battery Charger, 1 x 70 Amp MPPT Solar Controller, Colour monitor and Wi-Fi.

One of the standout features of the Easy Solar is its pairing with software which allows Install A Gadget to remotely monitor and manage the system, so long as there is mobile phone reception.

The Wi-Fi feature will also allow Live Streaming from the Colour Monitor to a tablet connected to a big screen. So not only will audiences be enthralled by talented young entertainers, they’ll be fascinated to see exactly where energy from the stages’ system is coming in and going out, as it happens. Brilliant!

  • Victron Energys’ Latest Release BMV712 Battery Monitor with Bluetooth - By downloading the VictronConnect app to a Smartphone and connecting to the Battery Monitor with Bluetooth, monitoring of State Of Charge, battery voltage & amps, temperature and time remaining can be done from a phone screen. Plus the data is stored historically making it possible to see how the batteries are performing over time.

  • Lithium Control Units – The Lithium Battery System is set up to sound alarms if the battery’s State Of Charge (SOC) is getting low, if a component of the system has failed (unlikely but in an imperfect world it can happen) or if someone has added something to the system that’s causing issues.

If the reason those alarms are sounding is not attended to, The Lithium Control Units step in to protect the batteries. If the SOC is getting low, the protection system switches off the Inverter and swaps to Charger only and will shut the whole system down to protect the batteries if the SOC gets too low.

The Lithium Protection System will also switch the Charger and Solar Controller off if the battery’s voltage gets too high. It shouldn’t happen anyway but it’s insurance to protect the batteries.

  • External Solar Anderson Plug – This allows for some extra Solar Input from a Portable 600W Solar Panel, if needed.

  • 240 Volt Items by a Licensed Electrician - 1x 240 Volt Inlet, 7x 240V Double Power Points and 2x 1PW 240V LED Flood Lights.

Congratulations to Sth Fremantle SHS for another successful venture in sustainability

and for facilitating valuable opportunities to its very lucky students.

It has been a pleasure to partner with you on such a special project.

We wish Students & Staff many wonderful experiences and every success in their musical careers.

“When words fail, music speaks”. ~ Shakespeare

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