The OREC/CRLA Solar Trailer Project (FINAL NAME TBD) consists of a twenty-four foot photovoltaic (PV) trailer designed to offset energy use at the Crater Lake National Park (CRLA) Science and Learning Center and the Oregon Institute of Technology’s Klamath Falls, OR campus. The design idea for the trailer is to provide renewable energy at CRLA that won’t require rooftop installation of photovoltaic panels on historic buildings in the park. Additionally, heavy snow loads in the park make permanent photovoltaic installations infeasible. The portable trailer can be used at Crater Lake National Park during summer months and peak park visitation, and then used at the Klamath Falls Oregon Tech campus during winter months when classes are in session and there is peak electricity demand. The trailer is designed for safe travel, easy deployment, variable array angle, and the option of either grid-tie or remote operation.
The trailer was designed by Oregon Tech Environmental Sciences graduate and Crater Lake National Park Climate Change intern, Scott McEnroe. Funding for purchasing equipment was provided by the Oregon Renewable Energy Center, Crater Lake National Park, and the Oregon Community Foundation’s Bisbee Conservation Grant. Additionally, Solar World USA donated photovoltaic panels and EcoSolar Inc. donated expertise and photovoltaic panel installation time to the project.
The trailer can produce up to 2.5 kW of electricity. It can either be tied into an electricity grid system or can be operated in remote locations using the battery system. During the summer months at CRLA, the trailer will offset electricity use at the Science and Learning Center through a grid tie-in. Additionally, it will be deployed at other park locations as an educational tool to highlight efforts that the National Park Service is making towards sustainable operations. Because it can be operated remotely, the trailer can also be used in search and rescue missions and major events. Science and Learning Center student interns will evaluate trailer power production and create educational outreach materials for park visitors about the trailer and other Park Service renewable energy projects.
At Oregon Tech, the trailer will also be used for educational purposes for Oregon Renewable Energy Center events as well as a demonstration and research tool for the Renewable Energy and Civil Engineering programs at Oregon Tech. The trailer can be used for student research on photovoltaic panel electricity production, training on monitoring electricity output, and other photovoltaic energy training applications. The trailer can also be used in a grid tie-in to offset electricity use at Oregon Tech or for charging electric vehicles.