SCTE Comes ‘Clean’ on Energy

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The Society of Cable Telecommunications
Engineers is ready for the Apocalypse — or,
at any rate, a really bad storm.

The professional association has deployed
a “clean energy” backup-power solution combining
solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells that
can keep the organization’s communications
systems at its Exton, Pa., headquarters running
off the grid for five days or even longer.

The point is not only to give SCTE a highavailability
power solution, but also to
demonstrate how cable operators can use
similar technologies to target large business
services customers.

“Here in Exton, if the lights go out, we can
continue operating,” SCTE president and CEO
Mark Dzuban said. “This reinforces cable operators’ ability to
get into the Tier 1 business-services market … For a Tier 1 customer,
what is the cost of a liability for a one-day outage?”

The 19.7-kilowatt hybrid power system combines a newly
installed 8-kilowatt hydrogen fuel-cell solution from
CommScope with a 2.8-kilowatt grid interactive solar array
and 20-hour runtime storage batteries installed by Alpha
Technologies. Last year, Alpha installed a 48-panel
solar array to provide power to SCTE’s information-technology
and communications infrastructure capable of
generating upwards of 13,300 kilowatt hours annually.

The system uses controls from Alpha and its OutBack Power
subsidiary to optimize the generation and storage capabilities
of all sources when public utility power is unavailable.
CommScope’s hydrogen fuel cell solution uses hydrogen-powered
fuel cells — whose only byproducts
are heat and water — to provide DC
backup power for cable network headends
and hub equipment.

The power to SCTE’s facility has in fact
gone out since the system went online,
according to Dzuban, including during
a lightning storm earlier in July.

The backup-power project also furthers
SCTE’s Smart Energy Management
Initiative, Dzuban said, a program
created to help the industry to identify
near- and long-term solutions for energy
management, power availability, alternative
energy and recycling.

Dzuban said SCTE has a payback “that is very good” for
the energy-management system, but declined to disclose
actual cost figures.