Shipping Containers & Solar Power: A Winning Combo

24 Jul, 2018

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A lot has been said about how repurposing shipping containers for housing and other uses is positive for the environment, but what happens when you combine shipping containers with solar power? Well, a company in South Africa has found the answer, and it is truly inspiring. (Related topics: storage container rentals DuPage County, Illinois)

It is no secret that many towns, particularly in rural areas all over the world and even more so in Africa suffer from several infrastructure limitations that might slow down or stop altogether the progress of entire communities. With that in mind, South African engineer James van der Walt came up with an idea to aid these communities to improve their daily lives.


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For this purpose, he created the Solar Turtle Automatic, energy kiosks that fold out to look like a turtle. Just like that, these boxes run on solar power and provide 3 kilowatts of green energy, and can protect themselves from trouble in 46 seconds.

Although it took over a year to build the 600-Kilogram fold-away system, the first of these structures will power a tailoring business and a bakery and, as the engineering process advance, it is expected that, in the future, people in the community who don’t have access to power can go to these kiosks and buy electricity from the container blocks.

The idea of a shipping container that can protect itself from external threats came as a result of the previous model for the Solar Turtle being damaged during a service-delivery protest at a school in 2016, when the women who worked in the energy kiosk couldn’t use the manual system to fold away the panels fast enough, leaving the panels exposed to flying rocks and rubble whilst the renters locked themselves inside the container.

This new and automated energy kiosk is just one of the many uses South Africans are giving to shipping containers, and whilst the first of these will be used to power up a few businesses outside Cape Town, in the future, these could power schools and medical facilities. Furthermore, these kiosks are equipped with Wi-Fi and can be easily controlled with a cell phone app.

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