cPAL PLUS (compact Power and Light, 100w LED, 42Ah). Bringing on-demand energy and light to rural communities

  • 12.8v DC 10A (max) electric Power and LED lighting on-demand – “a mini power station on a pole”
  • Powered by sunlight, environmentally friendly, clean, green “free” energy
  • Built-in 64w mono-crystalline solar panel
  • 42Ah internal battery charges during daytime, Power for external devices available any time
  • 100w LED lighting available at night (switch control, turned on/off as required)
  • Uses latest LiFePO4 Lithium battery technology with low-voltage shutdown and short circuit protection.
  • Fully automatic, easy to fit – by anyone (no installer needed)
  • Mounts securely on top of metal pole (scaffold pole ideal), safe and secure, preventing abuse and theft
  • Fit-and-forget, no maintenance, -20 to +60 degrees C operation
  • Ideal “compact” Power and light for rural medical clinics, schools, community centres, courtyards, housing compounds, water dispensing points.

smaller cPAL BASIC version (12.8v 10A, 40w LED, 38w solar panel, 18Ah, 34cm x 74cm)

The background

Throughout developing countries and rural communities, life slows to a halt as day turns to night.  As darkness falls – often, the only light is from fires, as food is prepared, and bizarrely from cell phone screens and torches (charged from vehicles during the day or by walking to neighbouring villages that have access to electrical power).

People feel less safe in the dark – all work stops and children fall silent, unable to play or read or do any schoolwork…..

Globally, “electrical Power and Light” drives commerce and allows people to thrive and develop through sustained and extended work, education, communication, and improved health. “Power and Light” allows clean water to be pumped from bore-holes and health care to be extended to even the most remote locations with the refrigeration of medicines and vaccines and access to more advanced medical procedures 24/7.

The solution

Existing solar charging systems are often expensive and cumbersome – a “collection of parts” – with trailing wires to external solar panels, battery packs and over-complex unit controls, with the whole system prone to damage, abuse and theft.

Developed by IDE Concepts, the cPAL (compact Power and Light) unit provides a cost effective and robust fit-and-forget solar charging / battery power / Light system that can be installed in any community to provide “Power and Light” on demand.

The cPAL unit is entirely housed in a compact water-resistant casing and mounts at the top of a pole several metres above the ground for security and access to sunlight.

A 4-core cable from the unit to the ground provides a 12.8v DC supply (11 – 18v range) from the built-in 42Ah Lithium battery and a switch option for turning the overhead light on/off as required.

The cPAL unit automatically charges the battery during daylight hours and has no external components so can be installed in minutes by non-experts and at an appropriate pole height for security (preventing theft) and area illumination.

The 12v power supply can of course be used for any application such as pumping and dispensing water, charging personal devices such as cell phones, powering small refrigerators in remote medical clinics and even local area 3/4G WiFi hubs for schools or village community centres.  The light switch can optionally be controlled by external equipment so the light could be turned on for a period when equipment is used.

Access to “Power and Light” extends the daylight hours allowing people to continue working, prepare and eat food at any time, improve healthcare and safety and children to learn and develop through extended education and with access to communication and the Internet.

The Technology

Based on “solar street-light” technology, IDE Concepts has modified the system to allow the LED light banks to be switchable and the battery power to be available externally for any application. The cPAL operating temperatures of  -20 to +60 deg C makes it ideal for use in the extreme conditions of developing countries.

The cPAL unit is housed in a compact IP65 rated water resistant cast aluminium housing measuring 89cm x 36cm x 5cm deep and mounts on top of a metal pole (50-60mm diameter).

A 64w mono-crystalline solar panel on the top surface charges an internal flat-profile 12.8v 4S 7P 42Ah LiFePO4 battery pack via an MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) charging module to achieve the most efficient charging from the solar panel to battery.  Two 50w LED arrays are mounted on the lower surface giving 100w of illumination, more than enough to cover a significant area such as housing compounds, work areas or village centre.

The MPPT charge controller also manages the constant current drive to the LEDs ensuring the light output stays the same as the battery voltage reduces. The LiFePO4 battery has integrated BMS (Battery Management System) electronics that maintains cell balancing and over-current, under-voltage and short-circuit protection. The cPAL unit is designed to be fit-and-forget with 42Ah of capacity at a nominal 12.8v (11 – 18v range from low voltage shutdown to full MPPT charging) and a maximum current of 10A.

The LEDs will only operate during darkness (when the solar panel output is zero). With users turning the LEDs on/off as required the battery has sufficient capacity to operate many pieces of essential equipment for extended periods even during poor weather (low sunlight).