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EnergyAustralia invests $9.3m in smart hybrid solar technology

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EnergyAustralia has announced a $9.3 million partnership with Brisbane-based solar inverter system developer, Redback Technologies. The deal will see customers able to manage their consumption of grid and rooftop solar electricity through a smartphone.

The Redback Smart Hybrid Solar Inverter system combines a smart solar inverter, battery enclosure and intelligent energy management software. The technology utilises its hybrid functionality to manage and store energy, which users can save for their own personal use or sell it back to the grid, preventing the loss of energy.

Furthermore, the system utilises machine learning to gain intelligence over time, through user preferences and even weather reports.

The system is hosted on Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite cloud platform, which “ensur[es] easy updates and upgrades as the technology develops”, according to Redback. It runs on a cloud-enabled intelligent system for analytics and remote control, which means that the user can avoid drawing energy during expensive peak times.

The technology will allow users to schedule major appliances such as air conditioning to run when there is excess solar power available, for example.

“With a Redback system customers can manage their energy consumption so they not only save money, but reduce their carbon emissions,” said Andrew Perry, EnergyAustralia Executive – NextGen.

“Our investment in Redback is a signal to the market, too: If you’re running a company with great ideas for new energy-efficient technology then get in touch with EnergyAustralia’s NextGen team.”

Perry said EnergyAustralia has not set a limit on the funds it is willing to spend on the right business or technology.

Redback’s Smart Hybrid Solar Inverter system will be available to order from EnergyAustralia in early 2017, with battery storage capacity ranging from around 3-12kWh. As the system allows the use of more captured solar energy, smaller batteries can be used to keep costs down.

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