We’re seeing a trend emerge in the consumer renewable energy and storage market of Australia. Energy retailers are hitching their wagons to select companies to offer consumers renewable solutions. Origin Energy got in bed with Tesla to offer the Powerwall 2 and now EnergyAustralia is partnering with Redback Smart Hybrid System to offer a solar and battery solution.
The Redback Smart Hybrid System combines a solar inverter, battery enclosure and intelligent energy management software into a seamless package. The outdoor case looks far more like a utility than high-tech gadgetry, but depending on your placement, maybe that doesn’t matter.
When paired with solar panels and compatible batteries, Redback transforms a standard solar system into an intelligent energy management system.
In their fourth annual retail energy competition review, the Australian Energy Market Commission found that around 1 in 5 homes already use solar power. And it’s forecast that by 2027, over 40 per cent of customers will have adopted on site distributed energy, based on the CSIRO’s electricity network transformation roadmap.
Andrew Perry, EnergyAustralia Executive – NextGen, said,
“The Redback system is the next generation in energy storage and management with a sharp ability to learn and respond to how people consume their energy, based on their preferences. This is the future of energy technology, created with one aim: to put the customer in the driving seat so they can decide how they use, store and even sell their solar energy.”
Perry went on to say, with electricity and gas prices at record highs, customers were increasingly demanding affordable, innovative technology that helps them manage their energy consumption. This feels somewhat disingenuous as the high prices are largely due to energy retailers price gouging consumers, then turning around and now offering a (partial) solution to the problem of their making.
“In the past 12 months we’ve seen energy prices surge while in some states the lights have gone out. It’s no surprise there’s growing appetite for new technologies with the potential to shake-up the energy sector. There’s a revolution happening right now in energy and customers will say it’s about time,”
Redback Technologies Founder and Managing Director Philip Livingston said:
“We are bringing the new generation of Redback technology to market – giving Australians access to a seamlessly integrated hardware and software package that enables customers to save money by consuming more of the solar energy they produce on site.”
“This is an exciting time as there’s never been a better opportunity for Australia’s energy industry to take proactive steps toward a grid powered by renewables. With the launch of the second generation Redback Smart Hybrid System we are not only putting consumers in control of their energy, we’re paving the way for a clean energy tomorrow that will benefit future generations.”
Assuming you have, or buy 5kW of solar panels, the Redback Smart Hybrid Inverter can handle all 5 kilowatt (kW) of power output, while the Redback batteries, can store up to 13.2 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. slightly less than the lithium-ion based Tesla Powerwall that features 13.5kWh of storage. According to EnergyAustralia, 13.2kWh is enough to meet 75 % of the home’s daily energy needs. With a modular design, customers can start with as little as 3.3 kWh of storage and add more battery units over time, offering greater pricing flexibility.
In automatic mode, the Redback Smart Hybrid Inverter stores excess solar in the battery. At times when there isn’t enough solar available, the battery discharges, minimising draw from the grid to help keep costs down. The system is also capable of predicting household usage patterns and solar energy production using machine learning and proprietary algorithms developed by Redback.
Naturally in 2017, you’d expect to be able to remotely monitor your solar and battery solution and the Redback app allows that from your smartphone or tablet. The management system has the ability to connect into pool pumps and in the future control smart appliances in the home to help reduce reliance on the grid and ultimately save money.
Should the lights go out, customers can choose to have their system installed so that it can provide power to their home during a blackout. Not sure why you wouldn’t have it installed that way, as having a giant battery at your house should be the perfect UPS, at least for a few hours.
The new Redback Smart Hybrid System starts around $9,000 including solar and battery storage. That’s actually a pretty decent price compared to other similarly sized solar and battery solutions that would be close to double that.
In terms of return on your investment, EnergyAustralia estimates an annual household consumption of 8,000 kWh, the Redback Smart Hybrid System combined with solar and battery storage could save a household about $1,500 annually, meaning payback after around 7 years. The Redback Smart Hybrid Inverter launch follows EnergyAustralia’s $9.3 million investment in the system’s developer, Redback Technologies, in October last year.