CARY, N.C., Oct. 1, 2014 – Running a radio station requires lots of electricity – especially when the station’s signal can reach billions of people in places like China, North Korea, Russia, Indonesia and other parts of Asia.
Broadcasting at up to 500 kilowatts during peak hours obviously uses much more electricity than the average home does, with the result that the power bill for TWR’s transmitter on Guam accounts for the largest line item in the facility’s annual budget.
To help reduce the cost of keeping KTWR on the air and use the money saved to expand the global media ministry’s outreach to the Asia-Pacific region, TWR (also known as Trans World Radio) started planning in late 2012 for the installation of a solar-power system at the station. The ministry invited its supporters to join the project through prayer and donations, and the local team worked with a Guam-based engineer to certify that the solar installation would meet Guam’s stringent super-typhoon-conscious construction standards.
This summer, the team members on Guam received the necessary components from a global supplier. They then worked with a local contractor to install the system.
The most difficult part of the entire project was getting the posts aligned and set in concrete. Once that was done, the installation of the rails that hold the panels went quickly. The installation of the panels was pretty straightforward, and all 120 panels were in place by the middle of August. During the past week, the new system began generating electricity for the station.
This new power source is projected to shrink KTWR’s power bills by $14,000 to $29,000 a year.
“The savings should help TWR free up more funds for producing programs and for putting more programs on the air so that more listeners can hear about Jesus and his love for them,” said Mike Sabin, KTWR chief engineer.
If the new installation works as expected, TWR intends to add more power-generating capacity, boosting the 30-kilowatt system to 100 kilowatts in future phases.
One interesting side benefit of the solar panels is that they provide a nice shaded area for picnics or just relaxing on the tropical island of Guam. The installation team even took advantage of this while putting up the panels under the hot sun.