ROCKLIN, Calif., Oct. 21, 2015—SMA has joined forces with Farm from a Box™ to develop a complete, off-grid toolkit for localized food production. Ideal for remote and rural communities worldwide, this micro-farming solution includes everything from water purification and irrigation to seedlings and solar power, allowing users to produce their own food while providing a source of income. SMA designed the 3kW off-grid PV system included in the unit.
“SMA is proud to partner with a company whose goal is to bring independence to communities around the globe by providing the tools they need to sustain themselves, both nutritionally and financially,” said Marko Wittich, SMA executive vice president of sales for the Americas region. “Farm from a Box isn’t charity; it empowers and strengthens communities with sustainable solutions, powered by renewable energy.”
Ideal for humanitarian aid, refugee camps, post-crisis rebuilding, private-sector development, and community cooperatives, each Farm from a Box can serve 150-plus people, one hectare of land (2.47 acres) and a wide range of crops, including grains, vegetables and fruits. Built from a modified shipping container, it is available in 10-, 20- and 40-foot units, each pre-installed with a PV system comprising 10 high-efficiency solar modules, an SMA Sunny Island 6048-US off-grid inverter, SMA Sunny Boy 3000TL-US inverter with Secure Power Supply, SMA Sunny WebBox remote monitoring solution, SMA Smartformer transformer and distribution box, and deep-cycle batteries for energy storage. The array is backed up by a 3,000-watt generator.
Farm from a Box also includes a water pump, water filtration system, drip irrigation kit, seedling house, soil amendments and basic farming tools. There also is high-efficiency LED lighting, secured storage, a mobile charging area, communications/WLAN, geo-spatial mapping and a data monitoring platform. Rounding out this comprehensive solution is a full training program that covers ecological farming practices, technology use and maintenance, and basic business and entrepreneurship.
“The Farm from a Box system combines best-in-class OEM components from globally recognized companies that ensure quality, longevity and support,” said Brandi DeCarli, founding partner of Farm from a Box. “SMA offers the most technologically advanced PV solutions worldwide, making it the obvious choice for our dream team of industry leaders.”
A Farm from a Box test unit is currently up and running in Sonoma, California, with another scheduled for deployment in the Rift Valley, Ethiopia, later this year. Located at Shone Farm, home to Santa Rosa Junior College's Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, the Sonoma system serves as a local showcase and research and development site, including prototype and component testing and tracking of results and capabilities. The unit in Ethiopia will be a fully operational pilot project that will test, measure and collect data points in cooperation with a local women’s cooperative. It also will help shape and refine the training and implementation program.
Other Farm from a Box product partners include Netafim, Grundfos, Trojan Battery, Trina Solar, Sierra Wireless, Davis Instruments, Renasola, Navvi and Sun4Water.
The SMA Group with sales of more than €800 million in 2014 is the global market leader for solar inverters, a key component of all PV plants and offers innovative key technologies for future power supply structures. It is headquartered in Niestetal, near Kassel, Germany, and is represented in 21 countries. The Group employs more than 4,000 people worldwide. SMA’s broad product portfolio includes a compatible inverter for every type of module on the market and for all PV system sizes. The repeatedly awarded product range includes system technologies for grid-connected photovoltaic systems as well as off-grid and hybrid systems. The technology is protected by 740 patents and utility models worldwide. The range of services is supplemented by comprehensive services and operational management of large-scale PV power plants. Since 2008, the Group’s parent company, SMA Solar Technology AG, has been listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (S92) and also in the TecDAX index. www.SMA-America.com
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