Morningstar Corp. announced July 20 that its signature SunSaver and higher-powered ProStar solar charge controller lines have been certified for use in hazardous locations in North America, with UL/CSA ratings, and Internationally/Europe, with IECEx/ATEX ratings. The company’s new wider range of solar chargers designed for hazardous location (HazLoc) use enables the “digital oilfield.” They bring new opportunities for economical solar electricity solutions equipped with battery storage to power remote off-grid systems with improved safety and reliability.
Solar plus energy storage makes sense in oil and gas applications, according to a company statement. Operations are often great distances from any electrical grid, yet require dependable sources of electricity for essential services including injection pumping, monitoring and control, data and communications, security, lighting and other digital oilfield needs.
Generators can power remote off-grid systems, but they require fuel and frequent maintenance. In contrast, a solar electric system has no moving parts and, outside of storage batteries, requires little maintenance over the system’s comparatively long operational life.
“The economics of solar work out to an extremely low operational expense over the life of the system, making it more cost-effective in the long run,” said Lee Gordon, president and founder of Morningstar Corp. “One of Morningstar’s first products nearly 30 years ago was our SunSaver controller designed for oil and gas customers. We grew up in this industry. Today, with over 4 million products used in over 100 countries, Morningstar Corporation has a proven track record of the highest reliability through the lowest hardware failure rate in the industry.”
Gordon added that Morningstar’s latest generation of HazLoc-rated controllers build on their predecessors’ excellence and take it forward into new applications.
“Energy storage batteries are one of the most expensive components of a solar system. Your choice of a charge controller is critical in protecting that investment and ensuring optimal battery health,” said Bill Mellema, product director at Morningstar. “Our controllers are used in the most extreme environments found on Earth. There’s no such thing as overkill when it comes to reliability in these areas.”
Out of a field of more than 700 brands of charge controllers, Morningstar is unique for earning HazLoc certification on a wide range of models. For months, the company underwent a rigorous audit of its operations, documentation and quality procedures in the design, control, and production of these solar charge controllers. Passing the audit demonstrates that Morningstar follows rigorous standards and procedures to ensure quality and consistency in its product lines.
Morningstar’s new range of HazLoc controllers makes it possible to enable digital oilfields with larger (up to 1,100 Watts), more capable solar electric solutions. Products with the new UL/CSA North America and IECEx/ATEX International/European certifications includes:
- ProStar and ProStar MPPT charge controllers, 8 models
- SunSaver and SunSaver MPPT charge controllers, 8 models
- Morningstar SunKeeper for single-panel systems carries the UL/CSA ratings
With more than 4 million products installed and sold since 1993 — in some of the most extreme environments and mission-critical applications in the world — Morningstar is one of the world’s leading suppliers of solar controllers and inverters. The U.S.-based, employee-owned company is headquartered in Newtown, Pennsylvania, with an engineering research and development center in Maryland, and a global network of dedicated, best-in-class distribution and manufacturing partners. For more information visit www.morningstarcorp.com.