280kWh Redflow-based microgrid in Tasmania

Redflow CEO Simon Hackett has installed a 280kWh Redflow-based rural microgrid in Tasmania. The sheep farm will benefit greatly from the ZMB2 flow batteries – let’s take a look at the install and how it’s going to work.

Simon Hackett – installing a microgrid in Tasmania

Redflow Microgrid in Tasmania (source: Redflow)

The 280kWh Redflow-based rural microgrid is now live according to a press release on the Redflow website. Simon Hackett’s place, a sheep farm named the Vale, has seen install of 280kWh of  Redflow ZBM2 zinc-bromine flow batteries. We first wrote about this Redflow microgrid in 2019 – fantastic to see the Vale’s solar installation improve and upgrade along with solar panel technology.

The Vale (http://www.thevale.com.au), a working sheep farm with the largest private runway in Tasmania, is a 73-hectare property including a number of farm buildings and multiple houses.

The solar install uses a cluster of 12 x 15KVA Victron Quattro inverter/chargers and control systems that can deliver a peak energy output of 180KVA – it’s wired throughout the property to create the microgrid. The solar energy created by the ground-mounted 100kWp solar array is stored in 28 Redflow 10kWh ZBM2 zinc-bromine flow batteries, for a total storage capacity of 280 kWh. 

Hackett went on to discuss some of the specifics of his microgrid in Tasmania:

“The battery array makes extensive use of the Redflow Standby Power System (SPS) mode, allowing batteries to be fully charged during good solar weather days, and to then be ‘hibernated’ with zero self-discharge. During extended overcast periods, the SPS batteries are automatically activated to support site loads instead of using the grid. This unique strength of Redflow’s ZBM2 batteries allows the site to maximise both energy storage quantity and also energy storage efficiency.”

Hackett, who also works as Redflow’s Systems Integration Architect, said the system will completely eliminate grid electricity costs for the property. “The system also gives us energy resilience by automatically switching to off-grid mode during any grid power failures,” he said.

 

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Vecco Group: $25m for Australia’s first vanadium battery plant.

Queensland-based Vecco Group will spend up to $25 million building Australia’s first vanadium battery plant in Brisbane.

Vecco Group and Australia’s first vanadium battery plant

According to InQueensland, Vecco Group have come to an agreement with China’s Shanghai Electric – one of the largest electrical equipment manufacturing companies in China – for an initial purchase of vanadium electrolytes (Confused about flow batteries? Click here to learn how a Vanadium Redox Battery works)

Thomas Northcott, Managing Director of Vecco Group said, “this is a significant step forward for Vecco in securing an integrated supply chain from our Debella Vanadium + HPA Project through to battery production.”

“We are excited to be capturing the first mover advantage in Australia and south east Asia for what is a rapidly growing market for large scale renewable energy storage.” Northcott continued in a press release from Vecco Group.

“Demand is currently strong and there is significant future demand supplying large long duration vanadium batteries to support green hydrogen projects around Australia.”

Vecco is also carrying out a pre-IPO to raise $5 million and is aiming at a full IPO next year.

As we continue with advancements in solar battery technology, it’s fantastic to see alternative options to lithium-ion – the flow batteries such as Redflow are awfully heavy but they have a great use case if the technology can continue improving at this rate. With that said, vanadium batteries have been proposed as early as the 1930’s and have been in production since the 1980’s, so they probably have some ground to make up.

Vecco Group Flow Battery example by Colintheone – https://avs.scitation.org/doi/10.1116/1.4983210, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59002803

The vanadium industry

The vanadium industry has progressed significantly in 2021 with multiple announcements, including one from from mining billionaire Robert Friedland’s company VRB Energy. VRB announced a 500MWh vanadium flow battery in March. Gigafactory in China and Sir Mick Davis, the ex-CEO of Xstrata are also invested in Kazakhstan based vanadium company Ferro-Alloy Resources.

Vanadium flow batteries last for 25 years, suffer no capacity degradation and a low environmental footprint, as the electrolyte is almost 100% recyclable.

Other companies working in the space include UniEnergy Technologies, StorEn Technologies, and Ashlawn Energy in the United States; Renewable Energy Dynamics Technology and VoltStorage in Europe; Prudent Energy in China;Australian Vanadium in Australia.

 

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Rebates for small business commercial solar in Victoria!

The Victorian government have announced a new scheme to help increase small business commercial solar in Victoria – with two different rebates currently available. Let’s take a look at what your company should do if you’re thinking about installing – you can get a rebate of up to $3,500 to help pay it off!

Commercial Solar in Victoria – Solar for Business rebate

Solar for Business rebates (source: solar.vic.gov.au)

According to the Victorian government website, from May 2021 eligible small businesses in Victoria can apply for the Solar for Business Program rebate. The rebate offer includes up to 50% or $3,500 (whichever amounts to less) on eligible solar power systems.

The program is eligible to quite a lot of small businesses, here’s the skinny on the details if you want to apply:

You must:

  • Be the owner of a business which has less than 20 employees     
  • Operate from premises that are not considered residential     
  • Operate from premises that are individually metered    
  • Have your system installed by a Solar Victoria approved solar retailer (click for a search) as detailed on Solar Victoria’s website   
  • Install a solar system with a PV capacity size up to a maximum of 30kW, as detailed on the Solar Victoria approved product list

Solar for business has been a no brainer for quite a while now, so with rebates like this being offered there’s never been a better time to consider installing renewable energy at your small business. If your bills are in the thousands per month you will save money installing solar. To also enjoy a rebate from the government is a very nice sweetener indeed – hopefully we see the scheme being taken up and similar rebates in other states implemented.

To register your interest please click here.

Small Business Energy Saver Program in Victoria

The Small Business Energy Saver Program is another option – providing generous bonuses of up to $2,000 for companies who upgrade to more energy-efficient equipment, such as air-conditioning, refrigeration, and heating pumps. 15,000 solar rebates will be available under the program – these will be doled out over the next three years.

(Very) rough solar installation costs – commercial solar in Victoria

Generally you can budget around $1000 per kilowatt (a little over a dollar a watt) of power on your system (after STCs), e.g. a 50kW system will be around $50,000 (closer to $65k in WA, if you’re thinking about a place to set up commercial solar…). This is obviously very, very rough and you’ll pay a bit more per watt for a smaller system (e.g. 10-30kW) rather than up to 100kW, so don’t quote me on these prices. Please note that the Solar for Business rebate only covers systems to a max of 30kW!

If you do want some help with getting a price guide for commercial solar installation or you’d like someone to go over some quotations with please email us and we’d be happy to help.

You can also get help with some rough savings numbers by using the solar calculator at the Queensland government website.

Registered accredited providers

The Victorian website has an up to date list of accredited providers for the scheme, but if you’re interested in installing commercial solar in Victoria and taking party in the rebate scheme, here’s a list current as per 12.04.21:

Barwon South West

Energy Makeovers
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 788 776
[email protected]

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

Gippsland

Energy Makeovers
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 788 776
[email protected]

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

Homelab
Mr Jack Labno
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
Install energy efficient fridges and freezers
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install water efficient pre-rinse spray valves.
1300 781 614
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

Wattly
Patrick Blain
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 878 500
[email protected]

Grampians

Energy Makeovers
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 788 776
[email protected]

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

Homelab
Mr Jack Labno
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
Install energy efficient fridges and freezers
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install water efficient pre-rinse spray valves.
1300 781 614
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]rg

Hume

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

Homelab
Mr Jack Labno
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
Install energy efficient fridges and freezers
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install water efficient pre-rinse spray valves.
1300 781 614
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

Wattly
Patrick Blain
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 878 500
[email protected]

Loddon Mallee

Energy Makeovers
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 788 776
[email protected]

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

Homelab
Mr Jack Labno
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
Install energy efficient fridges and freezers
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install water efficient pre-rinse spray valves.
1300 781 614
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

 

 

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How much electricity does a solar panel generate per day? What’s a tier 1 panel?

Having the world’s highest average solar radiation per square meter, Australia is considered the most potential and viable solar energy source whether you’re a home or a commercial entity looking to install panels on your premises.

Choosing the right solar system can be very confusing as there’s a lot of misleading jargon and buzzwords – especially with the solar panels! You’ll also have to ensure they are compatible with your entire solar system – you’ve then got to see how they interact with each other before trying to calculate their output, which can be challenging as well.

It is impossible to tell you with certainty that your solar panel produces this much power – as this varies from brand to brand and panel to panel. There’s also something else you need to consider in addition to choosing a panel – the quality of manufacturer, generally ranked via solar panel tiers.

How much electricity does a solar panel generate per day? Photo by Ryan Searle on Unsplash

How are solar panels tiered?

Solar panels are categorized into three tiers, with tier 1 as the best. This can affect output depending on the brand and number of watts per panel (especially over longer periods of time). Your location will also be important – obviously someone in Australia is going to get better value out of a solar installation than someone in Glasgow (only 50 days of sunshine a year there…).

Let’s discuss the concept of a Tier 1 solar panel. This is a bit of a misnomer – in the sense that Tier 1 or Bank-ability solar panels come from companies which have been in the industry for many years and are financially capable of dealing with your warranty issues, repairing issues or any problems you encounter over the ~10 years you will use their product. That’s my convoluted way of saying Tier 1 denotes the ranking of the manufacturer itself, not the solar panel. It is the manufacturer who will back up your product in the case of potential future defective panels or installations. Banks or investors may not want to put their money in your solar power project (commercial solar or residential) unless they’re satisfied your manufacturers are likely to be around if and when your solar systems malfunction. How many successful projects has the company undertaken? How long have they been around? The answers to these questions will impact which tier the manufacturer is.

It is important to keep in mind that Tier 2 or Tier 3 solar panels are not always a poor choice per se – these manufacturers can also offer high quality panels, it’s just riskier to rely on them because the company is recently established, and you may not be sure how long they’ll be in the industry. Maybe their manufacturing standards aren’t as robust as some of the bigger brands – as always, you get what you pay for. It’s a matter of weighing up the pros and cons and ensuring your solar investment is making money within your risk tolerance. And if you’re going for a bigger installation, it’s generally worth going for a quality manufacturer and a tier 1 panel. Preferably more than one, but you get the point.

Who chooses solar panel tiers?

This tier-based ranking (remember, it’s per manufacturer, not per panel) is decided by Bloomberg New Energy Finance – a research organization. There are other ‘tier’ lists out there which are better off avoided as it can be very confusing – the Bloomberg list has been well trusted for a long time.

If you’re interested in more detail in how a company’s tier is decided, the official BloombergNEF site has a useful PDF you can download here.

Just remember, there’s a lot of marketing involved in solar, so be sure to ask as many questions as you can to the salesperson. Grab a copy of the spec sheet for the panels they’re showing you and check it out yourself. Do your due diligence and you can even end up with a cashflow positive solar installation.

How much electricity does a solar panel generate per day?

Your location and the amount of watts in the solar panel will also impact the amount of power your panels are able to generate. solar panels will be in terms of making the most of the solar power.

Your inverter also plays an important role in regulating and maximising generation of solar power. A top-notch quality solar inverter determines how well your solar output is distributed, applicable once the DC power turns into AC.

In Australia you can generally bank on 10-12 hours of sunlight during summer. For simplicity’s sake, let’s call average sunlight 10 hours for our calculation, and the capacity of the solar panel we’re measuring is 300 watts:

Total Watts = Average time of sunlight x Solar Panels watts x Number of Panels

= 10 x 300 x 1

= 3000 Watts Hour or 30KWH Daily

But we also need to consider solar panel efficiency. A solar panel has a maximum of 15–22% efficiency, due to the Shockley-Queisser limit silicon panels will never reach greater than 1/3 efficiency.

Let’s calculate total watts from a single panel, daily, with 20% efficiency:

3000 Watts x 20% = 600 Watt Hours or 0.66KWH per day.

If you want to measure solar output you have numerous options depending on which inverter you’ve chosen. Most of them offer a web-based interface so you can keep an eye on how much money you’re saving – you could even pipe the solar statistics to a Raspberry Pi, or automate reports showing how much you’ve saved. Solar power in Australia has never been cheaper – we’re seeing a meteoric rise in commercial solar installations nationwide, whether you’re Ikea or an SME – it’s time to go green and choose solar power for your business.

Which manufacturers offer tier 1 solar panels in 2021?

As per review.solar for Q1 2021:

  • LONGi
  • Jinko
  • JA Solar
  • Trina Solar
  • Canadian Solar
  • Risen
  • QCells
  • Suntech
  • Talesun
  • First Solar
  • ZNShine
  • Seraphim
  • Eging
  • Haitai New Energy
  • Astronergy
  • Jolywood
  • SunPower/ Maxeon
  • Jinergy
  • VSUN Solar
  • Jetion
  • LG Electronics
  • BYD
  • AE Solar
  • Phono Solar
  • Waaree
  • HT-SAAE
  • REC Group
  • URE
  • ET Solar
  • Renesola
  • Adani
  • Boviet
  • Vikram
  • Ulica
  • Leapton
  • Hansol
  • Kyocera
  • S-Energy
  • Recom
  • Shinsung
  • Heliene
  • Sharp
  • Swelect
  • Photowatt

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4 Main Types Of Batteries For Solar Storage

(source: Unsplash.com)

When choosing a solar battery, there are various essential things to consider such as the battery’s lifespan, cost, how much power each battery can provide etc. There are multiple models of batteries which can store solar energy, all with advantages and disadvantages. The best ones for storage applications are recognized as the safest to use by the NEC 2020.  

Here below are the most trusted batteries currently available in the market for solar storage purposes.

Nickel Based Battery

Nickel-based batteries are used on a large scale for energy storage purposes because their characters perform well in all kinds of temperatures. Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) is the most common technique used.  Nickel-based batteries have been used in large-scale energy storage projects as they perform well in all types of temperatures. Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) is the most common Nickel-based battery technology used with the lowest cost than the other batteries. They are more appropriate for off-framework establishment as they have a dependable reinforcement framework and don’t need regular maintenance, yet the absence of support will lessen their cycle checks. They don’t require ventilation or cooling and have a long life cycle. They are available in a wide range of sizes and performances and even can be stored in a discharged state because of their long shelf life. Moreover, Cadmium used in these batteries is a toxic metal that makes the battery types less user-friendly and leads to lead-acid batteries.

Lead Acid

Lead batteries are renowned for decades. Either they are the bulky ones but are still rapidly being eclipsed by other technologies with more extended guarantees or lower prices as solar battery storage becomes more popular. They have a low self-discharge rate among the presented rechargeable batteries. They have the specific power and are well capable of the high discharge of current among many others, but it charges slowly (14+ hours) among the others and has a low specific energy. The lead batteries are not so eco-friendly, and in case if they are not discarded properly, they can contaminate the environment. That can result in a threat to human health and nature as they contain sulfuric acid and lead that are dangerous elements. So that’s why these batteries are heavy because of their materials. 

Lithium-Ion

The lithium ions are gathering more repute after evolving electric car industry development both in technology and cost. There are two kinds of lithium-ion batteries that exist and are used for large-scale solar battery storage applications: Lithium Manganese Oxide (LMO) is a fast charging but can only enter the C&I market. The Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) is high energy-specific and stable but relatively new. Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) has a long life cycle with no requirements for ventilation or cooling. At the same time, these batteries have high energy thickness and a somewhat low self-release. They don’t require delayed preparation when new, and one charge is adequate. Lithium-particle batteries are overall poor support, and an occasional release isn’t needed. Anyway, the vast majority of them are still similarly costly to fabricate and are liable to maturing, even while not being utilized and transportation limitations. They likewise require an insurance circuit to keep up voltage and current inside limits.

Flow

They are the new entrants to the battery storage technology family, and even the technology has been used for years. They are known as flow batteries because of the water-based solution of zinc-bromide inside them. They have more prominent plan adaptability, permitting more blend between capacity limit and force yield limit. These Redox flow batteries (RFB) have high flexible energy storage technology and low energy density and less expensive. The Hybrid flow battery has a high storage technology with common charge and discharge rates and less costly. Rather than adding more batteries to a storage system to build its ability, stream batteries need more electrolyte fluid. This electrolyte can be recharged whenever without intruding on power yield. The electrochemical cell can convey power as long as the electrolyte arrangement is accessible.

Wrapping Up!

Settling on the battery innovation will affect the entire power system use and life span. As we have seen, lead-acid batteries are more dependable and have been utilized for quite a long time. Yet, they are not as adaptable or practical as the other batteries appeared previously. It is unquestionably challenging to pick battery storage or the correct EMS that will work with it. After selecting the battery type, one needs to appropriately estimate their battery fleet and track down a viable EMS for choosing a battery based on your demand. 

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