VSUN cracks home battery market with off-grid vanadium flow system

Australian vanadium flow battery specialist VSUN has marked its first ever off-grid, residential sale in Australia, providing the energy storage component for a stand-alone power system for a home in regional Western Australia.

VSUN Energy, which is an offshoot of ASX listed resources outfit Australian Vanadium, said it had supplied a battery from Singapore-based manufacturer V-Flow Tech for the W.A. stand-alone power system (SPS), which would be paired with 12kW of solar and 18KVa of diesel backup.

The V-Flow vanadium redox flow battery system provided comprises a 5kW/30kWh VRFB with a maximum discharge of 7kW, which VSUN says the customer chose for its “particular strengths” of reliability, depth of discharge, safety and longevity.

VSUN says the SPS is designed to give the home an uninterrupted and safe source of mostly solar energy, initially via a single-phase design, but with options to allow for increased renewable use and eventual re-design for three-phase power supply.

And it’s hoping this will be the first of many more residential and off-grid sales.

VSUN has had its eye on Australia’s residential market for a few years now, but as company director Vincent Algar noted again this week, it has been hard-pressed to compete with lithium-ion battery systems.

But Algar believes this is starting to change, with more and more customers seeking a technology that will stack up in Australia’s increasingly harsh environment, or offer a viable and in some cases more reliable alternative to grid power.

Like other flow battery chemistries, VRFBs are noted for their longevity, safety and durability – they can operate in a wide range of temperatures without the need for heating or cooling, including up to 55°C. They are also non-flammable.

“The requirements of an SPS suit the strengths of the VRFB perfectly,” says Algar. “It is a robust piece of equipment that can be cycled repeatedly without degradation in performance.

“Its high-temperature tolerance makes it ideal for the Australian environment and being non-flammable means that there’s no risk of it causing a bushfire.”

“We look forward to seeing growth of sales of VRFBs in Australia, as new customers begin to understand the unique benefits they provide.”

VSUN – which offers vanadium flow batteries from a variety of manufacturers – says the V-Flow 5kW/30kWh is well-suited to off-grid settings, but can also be “deployed immediately” to customers within the residential and small commercial sectors.

“We are pleased to be kicking off our relationship with V-Flow with this new sale and assisting the growth of the VRFB market in the Australian and the South-East Asian regions,” Algar said.

VSUN has been making slow progress in Australia’s industrial and agribusiness markets, last year helping Victoria’s Meredith Dairty to cover all of its electricity needs via the installation of a 450kW solar system and a 80kW/320kWh vanadium redox flow battery, in collaboration with Profit Share Power, and with the battery sourced from Avalon Battery.

Before that, the company sold a 20kW/80kWh VRFD system to a Victorian apple farmer, to maximise its solar self-consumption and further reign in costs.

And in 2016, VSUN used the CellCube technology of Austrian outfit Gildemeister,  to install a 100kWh unit alongside a 15kW solar PV system at a Western Australian farm near Busselton.

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