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Lake Bonney
Joe Yarkin

Tracy Dahl
CH2M Hill Polar Services

Lake Bonney Camp overview 
Lake Bonney Camp overview
(click on image for larger version)
System Solar icon Wind icon Battery icon Engine iconPhotovoltaic/wind hybrid with battery bank and diesel generator back-up.
Location Lake Bonney, Antarctica (77 42 52 S 162 27 51.0 E 10.43).
Lake Bonney is located near the head of the Taylor Valley in Antarctica’s Dry Valleys.
Description The camps permanent facilities include a Jamesway with heated kitchen/living space, and three small Laboratories. The battery/inverter system provides 4 kW of 120 VAC power to all four buildings.


Lake Bonney’s power system consists of two manual tracking solar arrays, each supplying 680 watts and a 360-Watt wind generator. The power is stored in a 600-amp hour battery bank that is backed up by diesel generators. The solar power is processed using a maximum power point tracking (MPPT) charge controller, taking advantage of cold ambient temperatures and resulting higher voltage from the PV panels. DC power from the batteries is converted to AC by a 4000-watt inverter/charger that supplies 120VAC power to the camp buildings and labs.  The two diesel generators can be manually started as required, to charge batteries and power the camp simultaneously. Real time data is taken measuring solar and wind input, AC output, and battery voltage. The data is logged on site and sent to McMurdo via free wave Ethernet. For camp users, a battery system monitor in the Jamesway monitors the Battery voltage, net amperage and the % battery capacity. This system monitoring enables  users to decide when to make adjustments to solar panels, loads or add generator power as necessary.

  • Solar Array: 16- BP 285, 85 watt rated solar panels in 2 arrays
  • Charge Control: RV Power, 5000DL, 50 amp Maximum Power Point Tracking charge controller
  • Batteries: 12- East-Penn Deka 100AH Gel Cell deep cycle batteries in 24 volt, series / parallel configuration
  • Inverter: Trace SW4024, 4000 watt, 24 Volt, true sign wave inverter/charger
  • Wind Generator Aero6gen 360 watt wind generator, with Trace C-40 diversion load controller and Filsnor dump load
  • Over current protection
  • 350 amp DC breaker protecting Inverter from battery bank
  • Duel 50 amp DC breakers protecting charge controller from batteries and solar panels
  • 50 amp output breakers
  • Battery Power Monitor: Bogart Engineering, Trimetric TM-2020 with 500amp shunt connected to meter real net energy production and battery state of charge.
  • Data logging: National Instruments field point data link.

Lake Bonney solar arrays Solar arrays.
Lake Bonney Aero6Gen wind turbine Aero6Gen wind turbine
F6 power panel Power panel and battery bank.

Data Data not communicated from this site.
Comms System powers camp communications infrastructure (HF and iridium voice/data with telex back-up) but does not transfer scientific data.