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Composites poles used to support photovoltaic infrastructure

Boldur poles, made with BASF’s Elastolit® polyurethane and enabled by a unique filament winding technology, are now used to support photovoltaic infrastructures for the first time. 82 Boldur poles have been installed by JS Power Co., Ltd., (JS Power) on a roadside along 600 meters of the Ansan river to hold up roofing lined with solar panels.

According to BASF press release, Boldur poles possess excellent flexural rigidity and strength. The poles are more than twice as sturdy and resilient as compared to conventional ones. As it has a breaking strength that is ten times greater than its weight, the poles can withstand even super-strong typhoons, heavy snows, and other natural disasters.

“Compared to poles traditionally made with metal, Boldur poles are more durable as they are resistant to corrosion, rust, insects, rot, and decay,” said Kang Hee-Dong, CEO, JS Power, a company specializing in project development of renewable energy and photovoltaic applications. “Periodic inspections to prevent rotting and insect infestation are not required as well. These features help utility operators reduce maintenance costs. Further, Boldur poles are covered in a specially formulated UV-resistant topcoat, which also helps to extend its service life. As such, the use of Boldur poles to support the photovoltaic infrastructure received the most favorable review in the project evaluation by the Ansan City.”

Boldur poles are also fire resistant. As such, it will not continue burning when in contact with fire but instead quickly self-extinguishes. As it does not conduct electricity, it can withstand lightning strikes and electric shock as well.

At approximately one-fourth the weight of concrete, Boldur poles require less manpower and lifting equipment to install. This reduces installation costs as well.

The solar panels along the Ansan river will generate 800KW of power.

With the Ansan project, we are enabling a reliable supply of renewable energy, as well as growth of the new energy market,” said Andy Postlethwaite, Senior Vice President, Performance Materials Asia Pacific, BASF.

“In 2021, JS Power and BASF entered a strategic Memorandum of Understanding agreement for the usage of Boldur poles for the facility structure of Agrivoltaics power generation projects in Korea. Agrivoltaics is where solar panels and arable farming are co-developed on the same land.

“Agrivoltaics is gaining renewed interest in South Korea due to new governmental targets to install 30.8 GW of solar by 2030 and increased desire from farmers to maximize the productivity of their agricultural land,” shares Kang Hee-Dong, CEO. “JS Power is delighted to be collaborating with BASF and working towards our common goal for a more sustainable future through more resilient infrastructure, advanced technology, and innovative chemical solutions.”

Under the agreement, both companies will cooperate in developing 100 megawatts of Agrivoltaics projects in Korea within three years and enhance the cooperation in technology, commerce, marketing, and business models. JS Power will actively promote Boldur for the design of their Agrivoltaics projects, while BASF will provide all required material solutions, coupled with full technical and commercial support. Apart from the Agrivoltaics industry, the robust, ultra-light Boldur has been used across Asia as utility poles for power generation and telecommunications towers.

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