Sustainable house solution powered by intelligent software

As a nation we have fallen hard for rooftop solar; Australia leads the world in uptake of the technology.

By: ARENA

And that huge penetration has thrown up both challenges and opportunities. It means that Australian companies are well placed to take advantage of sustainable house solutions powered by intelligent software born from creative R&D.

One such company making a splash with innovative thinking is Queensland-based Redback Technologies – a fast-growing start-up that has set as its goal helping to ensure that Australian households and businesses are one day entirely powered by renewables.

At ARENA WIRE we love celebrating the success of Australian companies who are leading the innovation push that is helping accelerate the shift to a renewable energy future.

Redback creates products that seamlessly integrate hardware and software to help consumers optimise the generation, management and storage of their own power.

“Our smart software uses machine learning to predict solar generation and customer usage, using inputs like weather data, and then makes intelligent decisions on how to use energy to achieve the best outcome for customers,” Redback founder and Managing Director Philip Livingston says.

“Its capabilities ensure effective management of energy at the customer’s site, resulting in lower bills and a reduction in fossil fuel reliance.”

How it works

The company’s flagship product, the Smart Hybrid System, consists of a 4.6kW inverter and battery enclosure which integrates with up to 9.6kWh’s of energy storage.

The system is enabled to provide an uninterrupted power supply and backup power all in one.

It uses machine learning to gather intelligence over time, learning from user habits as well as drawing data from external factors like weather to control energy use.

The Redback system also allows consumers to take charge of their energy usage.

Solar panels generate their energy in the middle of the day but, for most people, peak consumption is before work in the morning and after work in the evening.

The system enables households to direct the energy generated in the middle of the day to their devices using a cloud-enabled intelligent system for analytics and remote control.

Redback’s system optimises self-consumption of solar-generated electricity so households can use their energy when they want – improving the pay-back from solar panels.

It works to drive down energy costs for households that install the technology.

Redback website application viewed on an iPad
The Redback sustainable house solution allows householders to optimise their solar and battery systems. IMAGE: Redback.

And that’s not all

Redback’s software also enables thousands of systems to be aggregated to form a virtual power plant to provide grid services, demand response and to support the increased integration of renewables into the grid.

The devices will form a part of EnergyAustralia’s demand response project as part of ARENA and AEMO’s three-year $35.7 million demand response trial, which will be in place for the coming summer.

Redback has enjoyed a meteoric rise and the company is preparing to expand further, announcing plans to take on an additional 30 staff over the next six months as it beefs up its research and development capability.

That expansion has been made possible by an equity investment of $US 7 million from The Clean Energy Innovation Fund and Right Click Capital, which was announced last month.

The Innovation Fund draws on the combined skills and experience of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and ARENA.

The fund – which uses finance from the CEFC to invest in innovative clean energy companies and projects – recently committed US$5 million (approximately A$6.42 million) to Redback.

Right Click Capital, an investment firm specialising in identifying, investing in and supporting high-growth Internet and technology businesses across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, has invested about $2.55 million.

The firm will also contribute its specialist experience to support Redback’s expansion in Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

Mr Livingston says the equity investment will allow the company to expand its research and development capabilities as well as accelerate development of its smart software suite.

“Redback is committed to innovation. Our vision is to ensure Australian households and businesses are entirely powered by renewables,” Mr Livingston said.

“This investment enables us to expand our expertise in data science, software development and engineering and electrical engineering so we can continue to develop our next-generation energy intelligence platform and devices.”

ARENA Chief Executive Ivor Frischknecht said the investment announced last month was a positive move for the innovation fund.

“We’re proud to get behind Australian innovation that helps Australian households and businesses make better use of their rooftop solar and battery storage, improve efficiency and save on energy costs,” he said.

Those comments were echoed by CEFC Chief Executive Ian Learmonth.

“We can lead the way in developing innovative technologies like Redback’s so households and businesses get the most benefit from these investments,” he said.

The sustainable house solution investment follows EnergyAustralia’s recent announcement that it will offer Redback’s inverter system to its 1.7 million customers in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, the ACT and South Australia.

This article was originally written by Neelima Choahan, Journalist.

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