Redflow to take on Tesla Powerwall

Redflow,-AFR,-February-12,-2016

Source: Featured in Australian Financial Review Friday 12/02/2016

Home-grown battery developer Redflow has announced late March for the launch of its home battery storage system as it seeks to grab a share of a growing market that risks being cornered by much larger and better known names such as Tesla and Panasonic.

While details of just what the Redflow “plug & play” home battery will look like and cost have yet to be revealed, chief executive Stuart Smith points to significant interest already from Redflow’s shareholders, who will be eligible for a discount in the initial phase of the launch.

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BY Angela Macdonald-Smith

Home-grown battery developer Redflow has announced late March for the launch of its home battery storage system as it seeks to grab a share of a growing market that risks being cornered by much larger and better known names such as Tesla and Panasonic.

While details of just what the Redflow “plug & play” home battery will look like and cost have yet to be revealed, chief executive Stuart Smith points to significant interest already from Redflow’s shareholders, who will be eligible for a discount in the initial phase of the launch.

“Having big names like Tesla out there, we don’t see as an issue at all. In fact, it is doing a lot of the heavy lifting for us in terms of market awareness,”

Mr Smith said. “What we have to do is make sure we leverage off that We believe we have distinct advantages over those technologies as well as being an Australian product”

Redflow will play to the “Aussie” heritage of its 10 kilowatt-hour battery, which differs from the lithium-ion technology used by Tesla, being based on a zinc-bromide solution that it says is better suited for the residential market

In contrast to lithium-ion systems, the Redflow battery is able to charge and fully discharge every day with no degradation to the system, is better suited to high temperatures and is fully recyclable, Mr Smith says.

Australia is widely seen as a prime market for battery developers given the near-record use per capita of rooftop solar, from which households can see more gains when combined with storage.

In addition to Tesla and Redflow, Asian names Panasonic and LG are key players in the sector, while Californiabased Sunverge Energy, which is allied with local retail giant AGL Energy, has also launched in the Australian market

Mr Smith won’t yet reveal the price of Redflow’s home battery, but he says it will be comparable on a per kilowatt hour basis with Tesla’s Powerwall.

According to previous reports, the price-tag for the Redflow battery is expected to be within the $10,000 to $15,000 range.

Redflow is still working with an industrial designer to put the finishing touches on a cover for its home battery, which will be similar in size to an air conditioner and able to be installed either indoors or outside.

International sales are also being targeted by Redflow for its home battery, with Europe particularly in its sights given the economics of installing such a system “already make sense” in that region, Mr Smith said.

Redflow only turned its attention to the residential market less than a year ago when Tesla launched its Powerwall product and was influenced by NBN director and technology entrepreneur Simon Hackett, a major shareholder who is now executive chairman.

It had previously focused exclusively on the telecommunications market and on commercial-sized applications for its storage devices, but sales have been slower than targeted.