Longevity Medical Centre saves $10,000 a year as redflow batteries beat outages
Based in Doncaster East, Longevity Medical Centre has a 20 kilowatt-hour (kWh) Redflow energy storage system, with two 10 kWh ZCell batteries and two Victron MultiPlus inverters, harvesting energy from a 5.3 kilowatt-peak (kWp) solar array on the roof of its multi-storey premises. Since it was installed in the first half of 2017, the Redflow battery system has stored with more than nine megawatt-hours of energy.
Founding owner James Bishop said he estimated the Redflow batteries were saving the medical centre about $10,000 a year by avoiding power outages. “It doesn’t matter if the outage is for one minute or one hour, the disruption of getting everything working again would cost us about $2000 per occurrence,” he said.
“With four to five power outages a year, that’s $10,000 a year we’ve saved, plus the reduced energy cost of time-shifting stored solar energy. The bottom line is that business is hard enough without having power fluctuations. Every business buys insurance to offset the risk of disruption. Batteries give us insurance for our electricity supply which insurance policies fail to cover or cover poorly.”
Mr Bishop and his wife Dr Emmy Pai established Longevity Medical Centre in the Jackson Court shopping centre in northeast Melbourne in 2005. With four doctors and on-site pathology services, the centre cares for thousands of patients annually from neighbouring suburbs.
Mr Bishop said the ZCell batteries delivered an uninterrupted power supply for the entire building. “Before Redflow, we had power cuts and had to do consultations by candlelight which was a bit of a disaster,” he said.
“But even more concerning for us was the impact on patients who came to see us on those days. If the power went out, it could delay getting the pathology, radiology or other medical results or reports for someone who needed urgent medical treatment. That sort of impact can’t be measured financially. For all medical centres or hospitals, keeping the power on can be a matter of life or death.
“Now, when the power goes off, the ZCells kick in automatically without missing a beat. For business use, batteries are a laydown misère – they keep businesses working rather than having employees sitting on their hands when the lights go out.
“The lithium batteries in my laptop need to be replaced every year or two because their charge drops off. By contrast, zinc-bromine flow batteries have lasted the distance and are still going perfectly. They keep their 10 kilowatt-hours of energy storage capacity for 10 years. They are also relatively simple, so we can utilise them without having to worry.
“On occasion, we’ve had visits from Redflow staff who have turned up to do something to the batteries. Through their ability to monitor the batteries remotely, they can identify any potential problem and address it before it becomes apparent to me. If I had a different type of battery, without that sort of proactive support and oversight from Redflow, I am sure I would have had battery failures and issues that would have really messed with my business.”
Mr Bishop described Redflow’s customer service and support as “outstanding”. “They work really hard in a challenging environment,” he said. “They have been incredibly helpful with every issue I’ve had. I am very happy with Redflow staff and management. As well as technical support, they are more than happy to provide me with advice and insight to my own batteries, enabling me to avoid problems.”
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