Redback Technologies receive $4m grant from QLD

The Queensland government has given Redback Technologies a $4m grant to continue its work on developing a smart energy monitoring platform. The grant has been awarded through the Advance Queensland Platform Technology Program. 

Redback Technologies

Redback Technologies - Redback Smart Hybrid Inverter
Redback Technologies – Redback Smart Hybrid Inverter (source: redbacktech.com)

The Brisbane based Redback Technologies advertise themselves as creators of “Advanced hybrid technology with battery manages and stores solar energy, which you can save for your own personal use or sell back to grid.”

The Fifth Estate is reporting that this could result in Redback hiring up to 109 new staff to help the development and manufacture of their ‘smart energy monitoring platform’ – a system which is able to deliver real-time power generation/usage information via apps or the internet and is also able to automate smart (IOT) appliances. It also manages solar and battery energy use depending on the weather, usage patterns, current tariffs the customer has, and so on. Obviously the project is not complete yet so we don’t have a full feature set but it’s really exciting to see something like this developed so close to home, and being helped by the government. 

Innovation Minister Kate Jones told a press conference:

“Redback Technologies is at the forefront of moves to make battery storage technology more affordable, with a system that will enable a reduction in energy costs for consumers and help to pump renewable energy into the grid.

“The $4 million Advance Queensland Platform Technology Program grant will lead to the development of a smart energy monitoring platform that will give customers the ability to instantly analyse and control energy consumption.” Ms. Jones continued.

Philip Livingston, the managing director of Redback, said that there will be macro as well as end user benefits as the business grows – pointing out that the more data they’re able to get on usage patterns, we will see a commensurate increase in efficiency of their systems: 

“The support of the Queensland government will enable Redback and our partners to create a platform ecosystem, using big data to drive better outcomes for energy users and energy businesses,” he said.

“This technology will benefit industries beyond energy.”

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Redback Solar raise $7m in capital for R&D

Redback Solar news – Brisbane based solar tech startup Redback Technologies has raised $7m in capital from the Clean Energy Innovation Fund. The company will use the investment to expand its R&D, improve its ‘smart software suite’ and hire more staff.

Redback Solar’s Capital Raising

Dynamic Business are reporting that the Clean Energy Innovation Fund (a partnership between the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)) has invested $5 million USD (approximately $6.43 million AUD) into Redback Technologies.

Around the same time, Right Click Capital’s Growth Fund has invested $2m USD (~$2.57 million AUD) into Redback along with offering their specialised experience to assist in Redback’s planned expansion into the Asia-Pacific region. The Right Click Capital Growth Fund, as per their website, have ‘deep experience starting and scaling technology businesses’ and are looking to back ‘ambitious technology businesses’ so it looks like a perfect fit. 

Right Click Capital Partner Benjamin Chong spoke a little about why they chose to invest in Redback, advising that “The inherent inefficiencies within the energy sector in Australia makes it ripe for disruption. Redback Technologies is uniquely positioned to seize this opportunity, with the power to provide everyday Australians with an alternative, low-cost solution to energy generation, storage and consumption. “We are excited by the solid track record of Redback’s management team and the firm’s ability to leverage technology to provide intelligent energy management solutions for households and businesses in Australia and beyond.”

Founder and MD of Redback Technologies, Richard Livingston, was excited about the investment and spoke about the impact it would have on stimulating Redback Technology’s products, software, and expansion. “This investment will enable us to further develop our next generation energy intelligence platform and devices and further cement our vision to ensure Australian households and businesses are entirely powered by renewables.” Livingston was quoted as saying.

Redback Solar – 2017 Movements

Redback Technologies launched the Redback Smart Hybrid System with EnergyAustralia early last month – with a ‘normal household’ with usage of 8000kWh / year to save around $1,500 a year with the system (4.9kW solar array and 3.3kWh battery). They received $9.3 million from EnergyAustralia last year for this – seeing Redback’s Generation 2 Smart Hybrid System offered to EnergyAustralia’s 1.7 million customers in Victoria, NSW, QLD, the ACT, and South Australia. 

Redback Solar - Capital Raising 2017
The Redback Solar team at a trade show in 2017 (source: Redback Technologies Facebook)

It’s obvious that Redback have a fantastic team and product – they’re growing rapidly and multiple teams have invested in them – we’re excited to see where these Brisbane locals end up! 

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Redback Smart Hybrid System / EnergyAustralia

Queensland based solar company Redback Technologies have teamed up with EnergyAustralia to offer a “next generation” smart solar plus storage system, named the Redback Smart Hybrid – which is slated to pay for itself within seven years.

Redback Smart Hybrid System

Redback Smart Hybrid Battery Enclosure
Redback Smart Hybrid Battery Enclosure (source: redbacktech.com)

According to the Australian Financial Review, the system will utilise smart technology to optimise use of solar panels and batteries depending on usage and weather patterns. It’ll also have an app which allows users to remotely control and monitor operation of the Redback Smart Hybrid system.

Estimates from EnergyAustralia say that a normal household with usage of 8000kWh / year will save around $1,500 a year with the Redback Smart Hybrid system (4.9kW solar array and 3.3kWh battery). That system would cost around $9,000, or $7,000 to retrofit to existing panels with some modifications to the inverter. One of the main bonuses of the system is that it’s modular – so customers are able to scale up if they’re interested in expanding. It makes use of the Redback Smart Hybrid Solar Inverter which is designed in Brisbane, and different batteries / solar panels depending on your circumstances.

Kane Thornton, CEO of the Clean Energy Council called the system an example of the “game-changing” tech currently coming out to help combat rapidly rising electricity bills.

Andrew Perry of Energy Australia was circumspect to the AFR about specific sales goals for the system, but did advise that they have “strong ambitions for growth”. It certainly seems like we are heading very quickly to the point where solar + storage is a no-brainer for certain types of consumer – especially with the ‘smart technology’ removing the need for spreadsheets and PhDs for those wanting to get a strong result from their solar investment. To get a system like this for under $10,000 is a great deal – we’ll be very interested to see how sales go over the coming months.

Redback Smart Hybrid vs Tesla Powerwall

Technically the Redback Smart Hybrid is just an inverter + smart energy management system, but the Smart Hybrid system being offered by EnergyAustralia is an ‘all in one’ system. In comparison to the Powerwall which is just an inverter + storage,  it’s a bit difficult to compare them fairly. It is important to note that given the modular design of the Smart Hybrid, you’re able to ‘start off small’ with a 3.3kWh battery (as opposed to the Powerwall 2, which you can also add to, but only in increments of 13.4kWh) and grow from there.

The PowerWall is significantly more expensive than the Redback, and doesn’t include solar panels. However, if money is less of an issue and you’re prepared to wait, the Tesla Solar Roof Australian release date is currently “early 2018” and will undoubtedly be a premium solution for those who are interested in aesthetics along with quality.

It seems that both systems have their own niche depending on how much one wants to pay – but you certainly couldn’t be faulted for taking a look at the Redback Smart Hybrid price point and being impressed. If the smart tech works like they say it does, it’ll be a very powerful contender against all comers. Not having to worry about compatibility is definitely a big plus – although the battery / panels used may differ depending on your circumstances, EnergyAustralia will ensure the system fits together nicely.

The Redback / EnergyAustralia Partnership

EnergyAustralia invested $9.3m into Redback Technologies last October – their first major investment. The two companies have been working together on various projects including back in April where they inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to bring Redback’s solar tech to Dubai South for a pilot project.

Have a look at the video below which introduces Redback Technologies, their founder and MD Philip Livingston, and explains more about their partnership with EnergyAustralia.

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Redback Technologies Product Range

One of the most exciting solar companies in Queensland is Redback Technologies, based in Indooroopilly. They’ve got a great product and have been moving in very exciting directions over the last 18 months – we’re looking to seeing what the future brings for this young company.

About Redback Technologies

Have a look at the video below which introduces Redback Technologies, their founder and MD Philip Livingston, and explains more about their partnership with EnergyAustralia.

Redback Technologies were founded in 2015 and are, according to their LinkedIn profile, ‘a technology company focused on the development of advanced, low cost solar solutions for residential and commercial users’. They offer market leading integrated hardware and software technologies.

Redback were recently in the news for being granted $1.96 million by the QLD Government as they inked an MoU to bring their tech to Dubai. You can read our report on that by clicking here. Livingston was also ‘bullish’ on the recent Tesla South Australia deal – being quoted as saying “More storage rather than less is a good thing. Having storage in the grid as a buffer is good for consumers. Mr Musk is a role model for many of us in the way he approaches things.”.

Redback Technologies Product Range

Redback are currently offering their Smart Hybrid Solar Inverter System with Battery Enclosure.

It consists of:

  • 6kW Solar Panel Input
  • 4.6kW inverter
  • UPS and backup power included
  • Compatible with ‘a variety of batteries’
  • Able to install inside or outside, floor or wall mounted.
  • Constructed from ‘high grade aluminium’.
  • Inverter is IP65 rated.

It’s different from standard solar + storage systems in that they use Redback’s proprietary software and don’t lock you into using a specific battery – there are a number of popular 2.4kWh storage options you can slot into the enclosure.

Learn more about the Generation II Hybrid by visiting the Redback Website.

The Smart Hybrid Battery Enclosure is also well constructed and fits a number of energy storage batteries – it consists of:

  • 4 x 19″ 2 rack mountable battery packs
  • Up to 9.6kWh storage capacity (4 x 2.4kWh batteries)
  • Passive and active cooling
  • Smart temperature control
  • IP54 rated environmental protection rating
  • <25dB noise emissions
  • Prewired – easy installation.

Perhaps the ‘jewel’ in the crown of Redback’s offerings is their advanced solar power management software – entitled ‘Ouija Board’ – which you can learn about in the video above.

With Ouija Board you can remotely control inverters from an app or a web portal – and it’s upgradeable for both software and hardware (firmware) via wi-fi or 4g (optional). It has relay support for pool pumps and water heaters, smart load scheduling, supports IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and is customisable for peak time tariff support. The Ouija board provides some amazing ‘intelligent technology’ to help store, monitor and manage your home’s solar energy. We’re working on getting some screenshots and sample reports from Redback – some of the insight they offer into your power usage can save hundreds (or thousands) of dollars.

Redback Technologies Product Range
Redback Technologies Product Range

Buy Redback Technologies Solar

If you’re interested in purchasing anything from the Redback range please fill out the form to the right of this article and we’ll be in touch with some ways we can help you invest in solar while using a quality local company with great products and a local warranty.

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Redback Technologies ink MoU to bring their solar tech to Dubai South

Redback Technologies have taken a step towards expanding their business to the United Arab Emirates, last week inking a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to bring their real time energy management systems along with their solar expertise to the UAE. The MoU, with Duserve Facilities Management (Duserve FM) is in regards to collaboration on a pilot project which will trial Redback’s solar solutions in the UAE.

The 12 month pilot project involves Redback trialling its energy generation and management solutions over 20 commercial and 20 residential properties in Dubai South; a new metropolitan area which will house around 1 million people. Redback will manage and monitor energy during the 12 month period, with their proprietary software able to offer real-time data and insights into the energy usage of each property to a very granular level.

Redback’s Energy Management Platform

Redback are in the unique position of being a solar company (their inverters partner with Redflow zCell batteries, using Zinc Bromide instead of Lithium Ion which have myriad pros and cons – click here for a great article from SolarQuotes.com.au who sum up the situation very effectively)  whose USP also includes a proprietary software platform (via the ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT)) to keep a constant eye on energy usage – deciding whether they’ll distribute extra energy to smart appliances, store them in batteries and adjust accordingly by learning patterns based on expected weather movements, user energy habits and so on. The software is hosted with Microsoft Azure IoT Suite cloud platform, which ensures updates and upgrades will be very easy as the technology progresses. This really is a key selling point about Redback – once you’ve used the software for a while it’ll be able to predict a lot about your usage patterns and figure out the best way to save you the most amount of money on your electricity bill.

About Redback Technologies

REdback Technologies Logo
Redback Technologies Logo (Source: Redbacktech.com)

Redback is an unlisted company currently in the final stages of raising capital to help support their expansion into Dubai. Based in Brisbane, the company has more than quadrupled its staff over the last year – expanding from 12 to 52. Retailer EnergyAustralia invested $9.3m into the company in October last year, with some very enthusiastic things to say about both Redback’s solar technology and its cloud-based energy management system which works for households or whole buildings.

Have a look at the video below which introduces Redback Technologies, their founder and MD Philip Livingston, and explains more about their partnership with EnergyAustralia.

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