Flow battery maker Redflow to build its first commercial system in Australia

Australian battery developer Redflow has sold a commercial-scale model of its zinc bromide flow energy storage system to its company director, tech guru Simon Hackett, who will couple it with an existing solar system on a renovated office complex in Adelaide, as part of longer term plans to take the office off-grid.

The sale is Redflow’s first of its scale in Australia, and is being hailed by the company as the start of a trend for commercial buildings to integrate solar and other renewable energy sources with storage and self-generate.

The battery system is contained in 20 foot (6m) box that will accommodate 60 ZBM3 battery modules providing up to 300kW and 660kWh of energy with a voltage output between 400V and 800V DC. Delivery and installation is expected in June 2015.

Hackett, the technology entrepreneur who was also one of the first people to take a Tesla Model S electric vehicle in Australia, will use the storage system at his $7 million renovated office complex known as Base64 located in an historic Adelaide mansion.

Base64 will use the $1 million storage system to store energy from its existing 20kW array of solar panels. Hackett says the system will allow a significant reduction in consumption from the grid, particularly in peak periods, and act as a back-up in power failures.

He said a second system may be installed in the future, along with more solar panels, as part of plans to largely disconnect from the grid.

“Our mid-term goal is to have Base64 capable of operating without routine use of the local energy supply grid at all, by generating electricity on-site and using the LBS systems to time-shift the delivery of that energy as required.”

Hackett made a $2.2 million investment in Redflow earlier last year and in November was appointed to its board. The founder of Internode and a director of NBNco said he expected battery storage to be “totally disruptive.”

Redflow said in a statement the system is scaleable and can be placed in series and/or parallel and powered from renewable energy sources such as solar.

“In addition, when combined with existing diesel generator installations, the generator running time can be reduced significantly thereby saving on ongoing maintenance and fuel replenishment costs resulting in lower operating costs.”

“Distributed generation and the use of renewables is a rapidly emerging and growing segment,” it says.

Redflow last month said it would fast-track the release of its residential and business offerings, which it said was becoming competitive with grid tariffs, particularly in Europe.

Top image via Redflow

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Giles Parkinson

Giles Parkinson regularly contributes unique content to Solar Choice News. Giles is the founder and editor of clean energy industry news service RenewEconomy. He is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the founding editor of Climate Spectator.
Giles Parkinson