UPDATE: As predicted, we missed some. The story has been updated with the addition of the LG Chem, Aquion, Imergy ESP5 and Ecoult residential battery systems. More updates to follow. Please keep the suggestions coming!
With more and more analyst reports predicting the sort of battery storage market growth in Australia over the next 10 years that will see half of all households with solar and storage, we thought it was about time to do a stocktake of what is available (or soon to be available) on the Australian market.
As we are bound to have missed some battery storage systems, readers are encouraged to contribute any information that is missing – particularly drawing from their own experience of home solar and storage systems.
Here’s what we have come up with so far:
While the Powerwall looks great and has a small footprint, it doesn’t include a solar inverter, or an energy management system, so needs to be paired with compatible technology if it’s being used to store and manage rooftop solar generation.
To this end, one of Tesla’s initial partners in Australia will be Canberra-based Reposit Power, which is rolling out a series of trials enabling households with solar and storage to trade energy during the day. Reposit announced in May that its technology would be integrated with the Tesla battery storage unit.
Another benefit of the Tesla Powerwall is that it is an “outdoors product”, whose lithium-ion chemistry does not – unlike most of its competitors – deteriorate in performance at above 25°C or below 5°C.
As to the cost of the Powerwall in Australia, according to SolarEdge the cost of a StorEdge system would mostly be made up of the cost of the Tesla battery, and might add between $US4-5,000 to the cost of a rooftop solar system.
In Australia, Sunverge offers its residential hybrid 11.6kWh ($14,990) and 19.4kWh ($19,990) systems through AGL Energy. While in Queensland, Sunverge’s 12kWh battery systems are being paired with 4.9kW of solar in a 12 month trial with Ergon Energy Retail involving 33 homes in Townsville, Cannonvale and Toowoomba.
Just last week, AGL Energy expanded its residential battery storage range to three offerings, adding two new, larger systems at 11.6kWh and 19.4kWh from US-based solar and storage company, Sunverge, to the 7.2kWh Powerlegato battery system, made by its Taiwanese partner AU Optronics.
The Japanese electronics giant’s 8kWh lithium-ion residential battery storage system is being trialled in Australia through Canberra’s ActewAGL, the mostly NSW-based Red Energy and regional Queensland’s Ergon Energy.
The battery, with an output of 2kW, was designed specifically for the Australian market and is best suited to be paired with roofop solar arrays of around 5kW.
Unlike other battery storage developers, Panasonic is looking to sell only through retailers and network operators. According to the Actew AGL site – which has no information on cost yet – the batteries can also provide backup during periods of network outages as well.
One of the early entries to the Australian battery storage market, the Samsung SDI All In One energy storage system combines a solar/battery inverter and a lithium-ion battery offering 3.6kWh capacity.
The battery system weighs 95kg and has a small footprint (100cm × 26.7cm × 68cm) and can be controlled remotely via a web interface or mobile app. It also has a 2 year product warranty and 7 year performance warranty.
For a battery of this size, the application will be for use with solar in a grid-connected house. But as we saw in this recent One Step story, a Queensland home-owner has installed a Samsung 10.8kWh system – the first scaleable grid-connected Samsung system in the world, and in his case, the first to be used in an off-grid application.
Currently in Australia, Origin Energy is trialling the 3.6kWh Samsung SDI battery storage unit for its customers in three states.
Enphase launched its plug and play, modular lithium-ion phosphate 1.2kWh battery storage technology onto the Australian market in September and is expected to be commercially available in early 2016.
Used with the company’s cloud-based Enphase Energy Management System, the system is designed to help households to store and manage their rooftop solar energy supply and control their overall household energy use on a single platform.
The batteries are expected to be offered in Australia at a price of around $1,150 per kWh (to their direct customers, who are installers).
WA-based Magellan has two residential battery systems on offer, a 9.2kWh and a 13.8kWh, both lithium-ion phosphate in chemistry – which gives them the advantage of being able to be installed outside (operating temperature of between -10°C – 55°C).
The batteries can be used with existing solar infrastructure and are time-of-day programmable, including to night tariff charging. Other listed attributes are fully automatic functionality, integrated data logging, and emergency power mode.
Magellan’s residential batteries can also be made “Reposit Ready,” which means they come fitted with Reposit Power’s GridCredits software which allows customers to sell their stored energy onto the grid. According to the Magellan website, an inbuilt controller communicates with the battery system, and can also connect to the houshold’s Wi-Fi.
Currently, the ASX-listed energy storage company has three different-sized modules of its unique zinc bromide flow batteries, which are intended for commercial use but – ranging from 8kWh to 11kWh – could conceivably be used to store solar energy in a household.
At the same time as the company announced this, it also said it had managed to cut the nominal levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of its zinc bromide batteries by more than 50 per cent – to around $US0.20c/kWh – as a result of outsourcing its manufacturing to Flextronics, and improved performance and reduced prices of the batteries’ core components.
Redflow’s particular battery chemistry is distinguished by its ability to be 100 per cent charged and discharged each day – a function that would damage most other battery technologies. ZBMs also have the benefit of being able to be placed on indefinite standby while fully charged, or to be fully discharged for extended periods, at no cost to battery performance or life.
Another Australian bunch, Brisbane-based AllGrid Energy, launched its residential battery storage offering onto the Australian market in late August: a 10kWh system marketed under the name WattGrid.
The WattGrid comprises a tubular gel variant of lead acid battery, a hybrid (bidirectional) inverter, and a software “app” called WattsHappening, which allows the customer to monitor the unit in real time and control it remotely.
The WattGrid inverter also has a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) function, so that in event of a power blackout, the UPS will support designated backup circuits.
All up, the system can operate in four different modes, depending on the customer’s needs:
– Solar: During the day, solar power is drawn directly from the PV panel and excess energy is diverted into the batteries.
– Battery: When there is no direct sunlight shining on the PV panels, energy is then drawn back out of the batteries.
– Grid backup: When there is a blackout, WattGrid draws from emergency battery reserves just for prioritised electrical circuits such as the fridge and appliances.
– Time-of-use tariff arbitrage: For customers who’s electricity is more expensive in peak periods, battery use is prioritised for peak pricing periods in order to reduce electricity costs.
On its release, the battery system retailed for $11,999 (not including installation).
The main offering is the ZEN Urban PowerBank, which is designed for grid-connected homes, to provide flexibility in the level of grid independence solar homes can achieve.
This lithium-ion phosphate battery system comes in two standard sizes – 10kWh and 20kWh – but systems are also customisable. (see specs below)
The company also offers the ZEN Freedom PowerBank, aimed at households that want to quit the grid entirely. This has full integration with a back-up generator that can top up the batteries if necessary.
The SEN Freedom PowerBank comes in 20kWh with an 11kVa back-up diesel generator, and 40kWh also with an 11kVa back-up diesel generator.
Bosch Power Tech
Bosch’s BPT-S 5 Hybrid is a combination of a transformer-less 5kW inverter, a lithium-ion battery with a capacity ranging from 4.4kWh up to 13.2kWh and a management system with a colour touch screen display. The refrigerator-sized unit can store enough electricity to allow an average-sized household to become “mostly grid-independent”.
Globally, Bosch has sold several hundreds of the BPT-S 5 Hybrid and has now targeted Australia as a key market. Key features include programmable, intelligent use of solar PV, batteries and the grid – allows the user to maximise their savings by avoiding the purchase of expensive grid electricity. The system decides where to source and direct electricity most cost-effectively according to four pre-programmed ‘modes’ for morning, afternoon, evening and night. Battery systems sized 8.8kWh – 13.2kWh are emergency power compatible, so can “bridge” power outages.
Mostly known for its PV inverter technology – it’s another partner with Tesla’s Powerwall in Australia – Fronius now has its own battery product, the Fronius Solar Battery, which it offers as part of the its Fronius Energy Package.
Ranging in capacity from 4.5kWh to 12kWh – the size of the system can be increased by adding 1.5kWh battery modules at any time – the Fronius Solar Battery uses lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) technology. Coupled with Fronius’ hybrid inverter technology, and the Fronius Smart Meter (a bidirectional meter which optimises self-consumption and records the household’s load curve) it is designed to deliver a high degree of flexibility in applications.
In 2013, the Chinese electric car manufacturer backed by Warren Buffett signed a distribution agreement with Australian company Fe, citing large potential for the technology in Australian homes. The battery storage part of the agreement is for the distribution of its home energy storage system, DESS.
DESS system – which comes in a 3kW/8kWh single-phase system and 9kW/8kWh three-phase system – connects existing or newly installed solar PV systems with lithium iron phosphate battery storage through an inverter and battery storage module to the local grid. There is also an off-grid home energy system.
Sydney-based battery storage developer Ecoult announced in October it was entering the commercial and residential
battery storage markets in Australia, with its CSIRO-developed lead acid technology.
Ecoult’s UltraBattery – described as a supercharged lead-acid battery hybrid – is set to be launched at a residential scale of around 5kWh in the first quarter of 2016.
The UltraBattery has been used on King Island, where Hydro Tasmania combined it with wind and solar to dramatically reduce the Bass Strait community’s diesel consumption. It is also providing frequency control and back-up power in large, grid scale installations in the US.
A new commercial 25kW product has been installed in five locations in Australia, including as diesel reduction, back-up and solar smoothing on a resort, and in commercial businesses, including a large solar installer warehouse.
Ecoult CEO John Wood says he believes his batteries can compete with lithium-ion rivals on every metric, including cost. The commercial battery array – with peak power of 25kW and more than 11kWh of storage – is to be sold at “slightly” less than $20,000.
South Korean appliance manufacturer launched its 6.4kWh Residential Energy Storage Unit (RESU) onto the Australian market in July. The lithium-ion battery based system is similar in size, shape and capacity, to the Tesla Powerwall, and is expected to last 15 to 20 years, or at least 6,000 cycles. On its launch, it was being offered in Australia at $A6,898, with the first supplies made available through wholesalers Solar Juice.
The units – which can be used as both a hybrid and/or off-grid solution – allow for high output with extremely long life spans. And can be upgraded to a total of 12.8kWh with 3.2kWh expansion units. According to Jeff Wehl, from Brisbane-based Ecoelectric, the technology easily defies grid costs with a typical cost per kWhr of around 15 cents over 15 years.
Probably the most high profile example of Aquion’s Aqueous Hybrid Ion battery technology is the 1MWh system installed at Bakken Hale in Hawaii – the largest solar-battery off-grid home in the world. But the US company’s saltwater-based product is available for residential application in Australia, too, at a price point that is said to be competitive with lead-acid batteries.
As you can see in the image below, the batteries are modular, and stackable. They are sold in Australia through Blitzability Battery Storage Solutions, which says the battery can be used for small domestic systems to large scale commercial and industrial projects.
According to their website, Aquion’s flagship S-Line products serve as the fundamental building blocks for all Aqueous Hybrid Ion battery systems and are suitable for small back up systems up to 10kW. The S20 (2.4kWh) can be used as grid back up power fail or emergency power supplies, with solar to reduce grid power consumption and for off-grid systems.
The California-based Imergy Power Systems specialises in a proprietary, vanadium based flow battery system, which it claims to be “the most cost-effective energy storage technology available today.” As its website explains, flow batteries store energy in a liquid electrolyte that circulates between tanks, and can be charged and discharged completely, and cycled thousands of times a year without affecting the battery’s lifespan. The system can also be scaled up in size by increasing the electrolyte volumes, and function well at low and high temperature extremes.
Imergy’s smallest contained Energy Storage Platform (ESP) is its ESP5 Series, which has a 15-30kWh capacity range, recommended for residential use with solar, or for off-grid applications. The ESP can also provide autonomous control of local power generation, based on grid availability and ambient temperature. It is also designed for applications in rural electrification schemes combined with PV and wind turbines.
According to the company’s website, this system can cut diesel generator runtime by up to 100 per cent and energy costs up to 70 per cent over existing solutions. Price is not mentioned, but the ESP5 datasheet claims it “provides the lowest Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) of all storage solutions.”