Blog Post

Reliable Power for Veterans in Alaska

Approximately 20% of America’s veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). In order to combat the debilitating mental health issues veterans too often face when returning from their deployments, Battle Dawgs, an Alaska-based non-profit, provides inspiring and effective programs that support and empower disabled U.S. veterans. From Iditarod races to salmon fishing, white water rafting to flight-seeing tours, Battle Dawgs operates several robust camps for returning veterans on 650 pristine acres in the Alaskan wilderness. The last thing Battle Dawgs wanted to worry about was how to maintain reliable power 24/7 back at the mess halls, the main lodge, and the living quarters when the camp veterans returned from their action packed days.

Battle Dawgs had initially installed a set of four HUP1 lead acid batteries to pair with their solar array due to their lower upfront cost. However, the high level of maintenance required by the HUP1 battery bank quickly became too burdensome, as it took precious time away from planning and running camp activities. Even with countless hours spent maintaining the HUP1 system over the course of several years, Battle Dawgs still found themselves having to run their generator two times a day. After several years, the HUP1 battery bank was only able to power the compound for half a day at a time, at most, before needing to be recharged, rather than the full four to five days of power it was supposed to provide before needing to be recharged.

Knowing that they needed to upgrade their lead acid battery bank, Battle Dawgs contacted the most reputable and skilled solar+storage installer they knew: Coley Foster of 907 Solar. Coley readily recommended SimpliPhi PHI 3.5 kWh batteries as a drop in lead acid replacement due to the fact that they are lightweight and efficient with a long cycle life and can be shipped at lower costs. Given their remote location, Coley also knew Battle Dawgs would not want to go through the hassle of using a forklift to install their next battery bank. Coley also knew that the PHI batteries had received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Special Permission status, which allowed them to be shipped via plane throughout Alaska without issue, unlike most other lithium cobalt-based batteries.

Coley added, “I also knew from countless prior SimpliPhi installations throughout Alaska that the PHI batteries are reliable, long-lasting, 10-year warrantied and do not require maintenance, which was very important to Battle Dawgs after their experience with failing lead acid.” Coley also endorsed the PHI batteries to Battle Dawgs because he knew they would especially appreciate the fact that the PHI batteries were rigorously tested — with a zero failure rate — and approved by the U.S. military.

The off grid, DC-coupled system Coley installed for Battle Dawgs to pair with their 3.6 kW solar array consists of eight PHI 3.5 kWh 48V batteries for a total 28 kWh, Magnum 4448PAE Dual Stacked inverters for a total of 8.8 kW, a Magnum PT100 charge controller, and a Pacific Power 10k Generator with a Magnum Autostart. All system components were purchased through UMA Solar.

This solar+storage system powers all Battle Dawgs properties, including the main lodge, a workshop, a mess hall, a yurt and several cabins. This system powers lighting, outlets, power tools and a well pump. Most significantly, the multiple refrigerators and freezers filled with food such as salmon and moose meat for the camp veterans, staff and sled dogs that partake in mushing, will stay powered around-the-clock. In close proximity to their guests, animals and food, Battle Dawgs appreciated that the PHI batteries use the safest, most environmentally benign lithium ion chemistry: lithium iron phosphate (LFP).

In addition to saving precious funds previously spent on diesel generator fuel, as well as saving time by no longer having to water their battery bank, Battle Dawgs is also glad that they can easily expand their PHI battery bank as their energy needs grow. They’re always further developing their camps to be able to positively impact the largest number of veterans in need of support.

Battle Dawgs also were pleased to find that PHI batteries can operate successfully in a much wider temperature range, especially in comparison to the HUP1 lead acid batteries. The previously installed HUP1 battery bank’s lifespan was drastically diminished in the cold climate due to the detrimental effect of its much narrower temperature range.

Now that Battle Dawgs has reliable, safe & long-lasting off grid power 24/7, they can focus all of their time and effort on supporting veterans with their robust programs, thanks to solar + SimpliPhi energy storage.