Solar tales from the great outdoors

OutBack Power products are also used by the Wildlife Conservation Network, which is working to protect endangered elephants in Kenya.

OutBack Power products are also used by the Wildlife Conservation Network, which is working to protect endangered elephants in Kenya.

OutBack Power shares the stories behind some of its most remote, challenging and interesting solar installations from around the globe.

OutBack Power, a member of The Alpha Group, is a designer and manufacturer of power conversion electronics for clean energy, back-up power and mobile applications.

The company has established itself as a specialist product provider for harsh environmental conditions and applications where product reliability is paramount, such as for village micro-grids in Africa, rural electrification projects in Latin America, remote off-grid cabins in Alaska, and military installations in the United States. More recently, OutBack Power has taken its off-grid battery-based technology and applied it to the emerging category of grid-interactive systems.


When Native American-owned and operated provider of renewable and distributive energy systems, Sacred Power, designed, manufactured and installed 650 fully-assembled patented energy systems for the Navajo Nation in New Mexico in co-operation with the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Utility Service, it selected OutBack Power’s FLEXpower ONE pre-assembled system. The system’s FX inverter is weather-resistant and rainproof.

In the 2010 film Carbon Nation, retired United States Army Colonel and Green Hawk Movement founder Daniel Nolan demonstrates the technology behind the Fort Irwin National Training Center’s experimental building design, where heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning needs in desert conditions are now approximately one-sixth of that of conventional shelters because of energy from OutBack Power’s FLEXware system, powering a photovoltaic (PV) solar installation and wind turbines.

The United States Army’s M113 armoured personnel carrier has revolutionised mobile military operations. The on-board instrumentation, navigation, surveillance, computing and communications electronics for the carrier depend on OutBack Power’s Extreme-series inverter/chargers for clean, stable power in the field.

Given the remote location of the Tumul K’in Mayan School in the Belize rainforest, where the only means of access is by river with a longboat, the school’s on-site renewable energy generation required a compact and high-output system. The FLEXware 500 system was utilised at the site, both for energy generation and as a sustainable technology teaching platform for the school’s 30 students.

Following a major earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010, the hospital built in Thomonde by the Partners in Health organisation became more expensive to run when a diesel generator was needed 24 hours per day, seven days a week. The Solar Electric Light Fund came to the hospital’s aid with a 29 kilowatt (kW) off-grid solar PV system powered by four VFX inverters and six FLEXmax charge controllers from OutBack Power, capable of running the hospital’s lighting, equipment, fans, refrigeration, computers, diagnostic machines and all other electrical needs required to support patients and staff.


Malankara Plantations in Kerala, India, is an 86-year old landmark and the first public plantation to produce tea and rubber in India. Team Sustain provided Malankara with a system to power its complex and run 18 tonnes of air-conditioning, information technology networking, lighting and water pumping with a 25 kW, three-phase system of nine OutBack Power GVX-series off-grid inverter/chargers.

Micro-grid electrical systems are beneficial for isolated villages, where homes, police stations and religious facilities are primed for electrically-powered modern conveniences and appliances. As a fishing and pepper-farming village at the tip of east Malaysia, Melano is unreachable by land, and accessible only after an extended boat trip. This made it a perfect candidate for 18.4 kW of power from two FLEXware systems, since compact size makes the system ideal for hand-carried and small boat transport. Because the village is so inaccessible, reliability is paramount, as replacements are literally a journey away.

Arctic and Antarctic

37 km above the South Pole, NASA is conducting ongoing Antarctic Impulse Transient Antenna Array missions to detect ultra-high energy cosmic-ray neutrinos near the edge of space. An OutBack Power FLEXmax 60 charge controller is on board to manage power from the solar array in demanding conditions.

Above the Arctic Circle, the Ivotuk Research Station serves as a joint facility for the Global Change Research Group and the Water and Environmental Research Center. An OutBack Power inverter and charge controller manage a hybrid power system of PV panels, a wind turbine and two generators in order to deliver the electricity necessary to support meteorological and other scientific instrumentation 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.


Locally-installed and maintained in Lesotho, Africa, solar projects are funded by groups including the Gates Foundation, the Clinton Foundation and Partners in Health; they are considered the best choice to meet the electrical needs of rural clinics that are the first line of defense against diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis or AIDS. The FLEXware system serves as a renewable energy teaching platform and a core power source for many of these African clinics.

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