Simon Hackett Is Taking His Office Off The Grid

Former Internode boss and founder Simon Hackett is a big fan of battery power — he was the first owner of a Tesla Motors Model S in Australia, has a house kitted out with a solar array and energy storage, is a key part of Aussie energy tech innovator RedFlow. And now, he's using RedFlow to take his $7 million office complex in Adelaide entirely off the grid — eventually.

Battery image via Shutterstock

Hackett is the guy behind Base64, the office complex founded in 2012 as a sort of high-tech incubator for startups in the city of Adelaide. Base64 is Hackett's own base of operations, too, and that means he has a vested interest in getting it set up just the way he wants.

As part of the deal, RedFlow will install at Base64 an array of zinc bromide module batteries in a Large Battery Storage system — basically a shipping container packed to the gills with energy storage technology. The 60 battery modules will provide 300kW of power and 660kWh of energy storage, about the capacity of eight Tesla Model S battery packs.

All that will hook up to the building's existing 20kW solar panel array and draw power from it, allowing the building to run off solar-generated electricity even when the sun is down. The system also works as a massive uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to protect business-critical systems from brownouts and power outages.

The work done by RedFlow is a pioneering effort that is one of the first attempts in Australia to decentralise power production and storage for businesses and not just homes. If it takes off — and it should — we'll start to see a nationwide rise in homes and businesses alike that have individual energy storage, which makes it a lot easier to install in concert with solar power and take a building off the grid and reduce reliance on large, relatively inefficient power plants.

Hackett is pushing RedFlow's LBS as a long-term energy storage system for other large office complexes, as a much cleaner form of backup power than a diesel or petrol generator. The installation at Base64 is pegged to cost about $1 million, and will be installed around halfway through this year. [RedFlow]

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