Mobile Processing Solutions (MPS), a leading provider of mobile satellite solutions in South Africa, has taken another step ahead of the pack with the introduction of solar power to its vehicles. This comes after the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) commissioned two new vehicles to process and assist their clients in remote areas.

According to Fernando Acafrao, CEO of MPS holding company MST, this is a major step forward as it enables the company’s vehicles to operate seamlessly and for longer periods in rural areas where electricity isn’t readily available. Other vehicles in the company are powered by generators when travelling to remote areas and, while the NHBRC vehicles also have back-up generators onboard, these mobile solar solutions lower the vehicles’ carbon footprint and enables it to remain on location much longer – ultimately reaching more people who need access to these services.

The tech
MST engineer, Quintin van Heerden, said while the addition of eight poly-crystalline solar panel to the roof of the bus wasn’t a problem, it was challenging to find space on the bus for eight batteries with a combined weight of approximately 400kg. The 205AH batteries are installed in the floor of the vehicle and can be accessed from the inside. They are combined into two 24V battery banks with a total size of approximately 10kWh and a constant discharge rate of 20 hours. For the layman, that translates to a power supply of about 2000W, which means on a sunny day the mobile is able to power its four computer workstations, servers, lights, disability chairlift and air-conditioning, almost completely through solar power.

It doesn’t end there though, the engineers still made space for a back-up generator on board, and if the voltage of the batteries drops too low or the load required is too high, an onboard inverter automatically starts the generator to take over the load and charge the batteries at the same time. This is done seamlessly without losing any power at any stage. The mobile also has a shore power connection to be powered by the grid if available.

The two NHBRC vehicles will start operating early in 2017 across the country. The mobile units will offer enrollment of new homes, home builder registration, training and development initiatives. Ultimately, the NHBRC assists consumers by protecting them from contractors who deliver substandard work. The mobility of these services will do to make these services more accessible to those in remote areas, who often get neglected when it comes to services like these.

The first mobile will be launched in February in the Northern Cape. Watch this space for more details on this.

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