Conservation SA conserving energy with ZCell battery installation

Written by ITWire, Peter Dinham

South Australia’s peak environmental organisation, Conservation SA, has installed two ZCell batteries to charge an electric car and to provide energy for emergency lighting and data centre back-up for its office.

Redflow, the developer of the ZCell batteries, says this first installation of ZCell batteries for commercial premises allows Conservation SA to store energy collected from a 13 kilowatt (kW) array of Tindo solar panels on the roof of its building, The Joinery, in central Adelaide.

The installation follows Redflow’s announcement last week of its first ZCell residential deployment at the home of Google Australia’s Alan Noble at his Willunga property in South Australia. As well as providing back-up power for Conservation SA’s emergency lighting and first floor data centre, the ZCells will charge the GoGet electric vehicle that is based at the site.

Assisted by a $5000 battery rebate from the Adelaide City Council, Conservation SA installed the ZCell energy storage system to demonstrate the effectiveness of onsite energy storage that was environmentally friendly. ZCells are made from elements that are easily recyclable or reusable.

According to Conservation SA chief executive Craig Wilkins, the organisation was leading by example. “With Redflow ZCell batteries and Tindo Solar panels, we can seriously reduce our carbon emissions.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate exciting new technology. As part of our work here at The Joinery, we look to showcase to SA the next generation of energy technology, such as these ZCell batteries. They also help us as a not-for-profit organisation to reduce our power bills.”

The Conservation SA installation comprises two ZCell batteries connected via a 5kW Victron inverter. The 52 x 250-watt Tindo Solar photovoltaic panels on the building’s roof charge the ZCells through a Fronius solar inverter as well as directly supplying a substantial proportion of the daytime energy needs of the building. The flexible energy system is easily expanded in future.

ZCell installer Colin Lord from Sustainable Works says the Conservation SA installation allows detailed monitoring of the building’s energy use.

“Using ZCell’s Battery Management System (BMS) interfaced to the Victron CCGX energy management unit, Conservation SA can see how much energy is used by the building and the electric car and how much mains power is offset by the batteries,” Lord says.

Redflow chief executive Simon Hackett said Conservation SA provided a “high-visibility demonstration of the benefits of battery storage”.

“As well as providing a continuous power supply for critical systems, ZCell is providing all the electricity for the GoGet car located at Conservation SA.”

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