Off the Grid

Large-scale battery tech provides a template for major business savings

Thanks to innovators such as Tesla, the answer to the 2017 power question is never a dull one. A case in point took place this week in Logan City, Queensland, Australia. In response to the needs of a growing population, the city council built a brand new reservoir and water disinfection plant.

Using a solar-powered system, it still required a grid connection for cloudy days to continue the chlorination treatment but there was a catch. The facility was located so far away from the power grid that a connection would have cost upwards of USD$1 million. It needed its own power source in order to be economically viable.


Cost-effective battery power

A Tesla Powerpack provided a cost-effective and future-ready answer. A total of 323 solar panels were attached to the roof of the facility, harvesting energy to be stored in the 95 kWh Powerpack.

With the hardware estimated to have cost just $100,000 and a transferable concept, the huge savings for companies are immediately apparent. The system and the solar installation power the facility 24 hours a day and ensure that stored water remains of the highest quality. It also removes the need to build a sealed road leading to the facility as the battery operates predominantly as a standalone entity. The facility is ultimately expected to serve a community of 200,000 people.

As the first Australian facility of its kind to be supplied with electricity in this way to go off grid, the facility sets a new global standard. Logan Mayor Luke Smith has already confirmed that the concept is being considered for other infrastructure projects and this is a template that could be rolled out globally.


Saving money for business

Designing cost-effective batteries to store electricity on a massive scale is a game changer for utilities and big business. With the cost of batteries falling fast alongside the cost of solar panels as part of our smart energy future, the energy storage industry is about to break wide open.

While solar power is a major renewable source during the sunniest part of the day in many countries, it provides no power at night. Batteries offer optimum energy efficiency and a way to smooth out the power supply and store electricity from off-peak hours to be used during peak demand times. By shifting the peak, businesses will see a major decrease in their energy bill.


From Business to Consumers

Australia is certainly one to watch when it comes to renewables and energy innovation. The country will soon be home to the most powerful energy storage project in the world, again courtesy of a groundbreaking Tesla project located in South Australia. When it is complete, a 100MW/129MWh utility-grade battery bank will be the largest grid-tied system ever made.

Public mindset plays a major part in this innovation, as the community is willing and open to change. A poll of 2000 households by the Climate Council found that Australians believe household solar storage batteries are the key to a cheaper and more reliable energy management system.

Batteries are a key area where this broader outlook is apparent with Powerpacks playing a major role in the changing landscape. The greatest benefit of batteries is their modular flexibility to scale and fit a variety of energy storage solutions and capacities exceeding 100MWh.


A Fully Charged Sustainable Future

The survey results also showed that 68 per cent of households with solar panels are considering purchasing a battery and that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed believe the combination of batteries and solar systems will become commonplace within a decade.

The main motivator is to cut the energy bill and it can’t be long before this advanced level of battery tech becomes more economically accessible for households on the grid as well as businesses of all sizes.

More than half of those polled also said that they expected large-scale batteries like the one being built by Elon Musk in South Australia would become commonplace in the next 10 years. The country already produces enough renewable energy to power 70 percent of homes and the Council of Sydney has pledged to make the city run entirely on renewables by 2030. With this track record, it seems wise to keep an eye out on the latest energy developments down under.

Here at Planet9 Energy, we keep you updated on the latest innovative technologies in the energy industry.  

Comments are closed.