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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Redflow – ZBM2 Microgrid in Tasmania for Hackett

Redflow CEO Simon Hackett has shifted his Tasmanian sheep and cattle farm to a new power source – a 100kW ground mounted solar microgrid using 27 Redflow ZBM2 batteries. Nice to see the bosses eating their own dog food. Let’s take a look at the project and what their future plans are for it.

Redflow – ZBM2 Microgrid in Tasmania for Hackett

Hackett, the owner of Redflow,  will use an initial deployment of 27 ZBM2 batteries, storing as much as 270 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy, interfaced to a large fault-tolerant cluster of 12 x Victron Quattro 48/15000 inverter/chargers.

Simon Hackett at his Tasmanian farm (source: Redflow)
Simon Hackett at his Tasmanian farm (source: Redflow)


“The project, with an overall budget of around $1 million, will include the building of a new site-wide microgrid. This will use new underground power interconnects to link seven distinct buildings across the whole property,” Hackett said in a statement. He went on to discuss the existing situation at the sheep and cattle farm he owns:

“We already have a Tesla Model S at the property and we plan to progressively replace our existing fleet of diesel farm ATVs, utes, and tractors with electric versions as soon they become available,” he said.

“We read with interest earlier this year that Toyota is committed to making electric HiLux 4WD vehicles and we would love to take delivery of the first of those to reach Australian shores.

Hackett explained that the Microgrid has myriad future plans and will be scalable:

“We can and will add more renewable energy generation using solar and/or wind if required in the future. Even after the full replacement of diesel vehicles with electric ones, we expect the property to be a net exporter of electrical energy to the Tasmanian grid,” he said.

Lastly, Hackett is very optimistic (mind you, he’d want to be) about the installation – we’re very interested to see some figures on how much it saves:

“I am convinced, based on my deep experience with Redflow, that ZBM2 batteries at the core of this energy system can deliver the hardworking energy storage and longevity to make this investment pay off over the long term,” he said in comments made last week.

Click here to read the original press release on Redflow’s website, entitled ‘Redflow receives order for ZBM2 batteries to power rural microgrid in North West Tasmania’.

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Tasmanian Solar figures show Launceston leading the charge.

Recent figures released by the Australian Photovoltaic Institute shows Australia’s solar installation statistics for 2017 mean we have nearly 6GW of capacity nationwide. Leaders in the solar ‘race’ are Queensland with 1.7GW and NSW with 1.2GW of residental/commercial solar PV power. Comparatively, Tasmanian solar figures are at a smaller 105mW. This gives them plenty of room for improvement, but when you consider geographic size and amount of sunlight this is moving in a very hopeful direction for solar. Especially when you consider that they are in front of the Northern Territory who should have at least 1.5GW by now.

Solar Uptake in Tasmania – 2017

With 105mW, Tasmania have more solar capacity than the NT and the ACT. According to the APVI, Launceston is the best performing area of Tasmania for solar power – with 2,353 discrete residential/commercial installations. Since 2013, when the feed-in tariff dropped from 28c / kWh to 5.5c / kWh, the solar industry has been very slow – with installers like Jason Garard reporting a massive drop in business from “two-and-a-half jobs a week to a job every two months”. There is some hope in sight, however, as the state government and energy minister Matthew Groom preparing to support solar development through a new 2017 scheme called TEELS. This comes as welcome news to groups like ‘Solarcitizens.org.au‘ who have been pleading with the government for a ‘fair go for Tassie solar’ after the 2013 tariff drop and a lack of state initiative has all but crushed the industry.

Tasmanian Solar
Tasmanian Solar – Fair Go for Tassie Solar (source:solarcitizens.org.au)

Tasmanian Solar – Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (TEELS)

The Tasmanian Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (TEELS) is a $10m government initiative backed by Westpac to provide interest free loans for the purchase and installation of energy efficient products (e.g. solar hot water systems, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems). Tasmanians are registering their interest with Aurora Energy, who are partnering the government on this scheme. It’s expected this will have a major effect on solar energy in Tasmania.

As of today (April 28), they are finalising the setup of the scheme – you can click here for a list of eligible TEELS products and services and also to register for the Tasmanian Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme. We’ll update this page and our main page about solar power in Tasmania as soon as TEELS has officially launched!

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