Victorian Couple Live the Off-Grid Dream with Redflow

11 Oct 2017

Victorian sound engineer Adrian Shand is using renewable energy to power his rural stone cottage after installing two ZCell batteries from Australian company Redflow Limited.

Adrian and his partner, who live at Glenlyon in central Victoria, have used their ZCell batteries to maintain a “city lifestyle” in the country, without having to “calorie count” their daily energy use.

The self-declared “tree changer” couple, who own energy efficient appliances and insulated the cottage's roof, have plenty of solar-generated energy to power their home, including multiple computers and professional musical amplifiers that Adrian requires for his sound engineering work.

Although the cottage had existing photovoltaic solar panels and a lead-acid battery when they moved in, Adrian and his partner decided to upgrade both the solar panels and the battery to make the property truly grid-independent without heavy use of a diesel backup generator. Redflow’s 10 kilowatt-hour (kWh) zinc-bromine flow batteries, which the solar panels can fully charge in just four hours on a sunny day, deliver clean power that does not interfere with Adrian’s elaborate musical equipment.

Adrian said the energy storage system had cost $56,000 – about one quarter of the $200,000 cost of connecting mains power to the property. “It means we never receive another power bill,” he said. “We didn’t want to ‘calorie count’ our energy usage, so Redflow gives us the confidence to turn on appliances at night. We’re not afraid to do loads of washing after the sun has gone down because we’re not draining the battery wildly.

“We chose ZCell batteries because of their superior energy storage technology. It is 100 per cent based on the chemistry, which is far and away better than anything else. Our main criteria were stability and getting the most bang for buck, the most power that we could get for the least money. It wasn't necessarily a per kWh cost, it was more the performance and longevity of the battery. We live off-grid, so we need every drop of power we can generate with no degradation over the years.

“Also, I want to build a digital editing and mixing studio here, so I can work from home. These batteries will deliver clean power for when I have people bringing $10,000 amps into the studio.”

Adrian said the superior performance of the ZCell batteries, installed by Off-Grid Energy Australia, included their ability to discharge all stored power without damaging the battery and to retain each battery’s full 10 kWh storage capacity throughout its warranted 10 years or 36,500 kWh of storage.

The cottage generates 5.2 kilowatts peak (kWp) of energy from 21 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of a nearby shed. With 20 kWh total storage capacity, the ZCells replaced a 1.5 kWh lead-acid battery, which required a backup diesel generator to supplement it every couple of days during winter.

Adrian said the upgrade in storage capacity had a dramatic impact. “Now, we only use the backup generator occasionally, if there are a bunch of cloudy days in a row,” he said. “Also, the ZCell batteries and Victron battery inverter are easy to operate. Redflow and Off-Grid Energy are great at supporting us. They keep improving ZCell which is now brilliant.”

Redflow | http://www.redflow.com