Redback selected for international VPP trial

Redback Technologies has announced it has been selected to participate in an international solar and battery technology trial.

New Zealand energy generator and retailer, Contact Energy, is conducting a two-year Virtual Power Plant (VPP) trial in Wellington.

Redback’s Smart Hybrid System will be used as part of the trial designed to support Wellingtonians in the event of a natural disaster.

The technology will allow residents to access energy from solar power generation and battery storage when the electricity grid is under pressure during peak times or is compromised due to outages.

Redback Technologies’ Smart Hybrid System captures, stores and manages solar power encouraging self-optimisation of household energy.

Contact Energy chief generation and development officer James Kilty said the Australian start-up was chosen for the trial due to the innovative and highly flexible nature of the technology, which enables customers to choose a range of battery sizes, and provides external cloud control of the technology.

Mr Kilty said the smart network of customer-located batteries would enhance the resilience of communities in the event of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, which Wellington has experienced in recent years.

Customer feedback had been positive thus far, with a willingness to support the wider community through a neighbourhood charging hub, should the need arise, he said.

The project, which has been developed in partnership with Wellington Electricity and Wellington City Council, is the next step in Redback Technologies’ international expansion, after the company signed a deal with Duserve Facilities Management earlier this year to expand into Dubai and the wider Middle East and North America region.

Redback director of Oceana sales Tim Latimer said the project represented a huge opportunity to trial Redback’s technology in a VPP use case.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with one of New Zealand’s leading energy retailers to trial Redback’s system in a VPP setting,” he said.

“This will bring us one step closer to establishing a grid predominantly powered by renewable energy.

“By building the energy infrastructure for the future, Redback is placing the power back into the hands of the consumers and giving them control over how their energy is used.”