EnergyAustralia launches system for customers to optimise energy use

Almost a year after investing in Brisbane-based startup Redback Technologies, EnergyAustralia has announced that it will be selling the startup's Smart Hybrid System.

EnergyAustralia has announced the launch of an "all-in-one" solar, battery, and software solution aimed at providing consumers with greater visibility over their energy consumption.

The Redback Smart Hybrid System, developed by Brisbane-based startup Redback Technologies, combines a solar inverter, battery enclosure, and cloud-based energy management software into a unit that can be mounted inside or outside the home.

EnergyAustralia, which made a AU$9.3 million equity investment into the startup in October last year, said that by combining these three components, Redback "transforms a standard solar system into an intelligent energy management system".

The Redback Smart Hybrid System has a 5-kilowatt power output and can store up to 13.2 kilowatt hours of electricity, which EnergyAustralia claims is enough to meet 75 percent of the average household's daily energy needs.

In automatic mode, the system stores excess solar power in the battery, and when there isn't enough power available, the battery discharges, minimising draw from the grid.

Redback's system is also capable of predicting household usage patterns and solar energy production using machine-learning algorithms developed by Redback, Energy Australia said.

Additionally, the system can be connected with pool pumps, and, in the future, smart appliances to help reduce reliance on the grid.

Customers can monitor their energy use from a mobile device via Redback's app.

"This is the future of energy technology, created with one aim: To put the customer in the driving seat so they can decide how they use, store and even sell their solar energy," Andrew Perry, EnergyAustralia executive, said in a statement. Perry added that customers have been demanding "affordable" technology to help them manage their energy consumption at a time when electricity and gas prices are at an all-time high.

A household that consumes 8,000 kilowatt hours per year could save AU$1,500 annually using the Redback Smart Hybrid System, EnergyAustralia claims. However, it will take a number of years to offset the initial investment in the system.

Prices for the Redback Smart Hybrid System start at AU$9,000, and is being sold through EnergyAustralia and its dealer network.

Last week, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said energy retailers will send more than 1 million letters to customers explaining in "plain English" how they can save money on their electricity bills.

The agreement was reached after the Australian government summoned seven energy retailer chiefs and the Australian Energy Council to Canberra twice in August to discuss rising electricity costs.

Turnbull said nearly 2 million Australians are paying more than they need to for electricity because they are locked into expensive or otherwise inappropriate contracts.

Fellow energy retailer Origin announced in August that it would be trialling technology from California-based startup Bidgely that enables consumers to track their energy usage across various home appliances.

The technology -- to be trialled initially with 5,000 Origin customers in Victoria -- analyses data from an electricity smart meter, providing an estimated breakdown of a household's energy use into different appliance categories such as heating, cooling, lighting, refrigeration, laundry, cooking, and entertainment.

The data from the smart meter is also combined with weather data to provide personalised alerts at different points during the customer's billing cycle.

Additionally, customers are able to compare energy use across billing periods, while receiving tips on how they can adjust their energy use.

Silicon Valley-based electric carmaker Tesla announced in July that it will install the world's largest lithium-ion battery on a wind farm in South Australia, following a state-wide power outage earlier this year.

Under an agreement with the South Australian government and French renewable energy company Neoen, the Neoen Hornsdale Wind Farm in Jamestown will be paired with Tesla's 100MW/129MWh battery, which will be installed by the end of the year.

CEO Elon Musk had guaranteed that Tesla will deliver the battery within 100 days of the grid interconnection agreement being signed with the South Australian government -- otherwise, his company will provide the battery for free.