SimpliPhi Energy Storage Deployed in Off-Grid Units for New Zealand Utility Powerco
The Downs Group creates solar+storage systems to replace transmission infrastructure for more reliable, less costly access to power at the grid edge
SimpliPhi Power’s ruggedized, non-toxic and scalable energy storage solutions have been deployed in New Zealand by electricity distributor Powerco as part of an off-grid renewable energy unit named Base Power.
Base Power is an all-in-one system designed to bring reliable power to remote Powerco customers as a supplement, or alternative, to electricity supply from the utility grid where upgrading the network and improving supply is not cost effective. After several years of successfully trialing the units, Powerco has initially approved 20 new units over the next 12 months that are being constructed by local contractors The Downs Group.
Base Power units generate renewable electricity from solar panels with the excess energy production stored in SimpliPhi PHI 3.4 batteries. A diesel generator is also integrated into the units in the event that prolonged inclement weather prevents solar generation, thereby providing backup power for uninterrupted access 24/7. The units are designed to be transported by helicopter to locations that are difficult to gain access to, making them ideal for both remote and emergency situations in which access to power would be too costly or logistically unfeasible.
SimpliPhi CEO Catherine Von Burg commented, “Powerco deserves praise for their disciplined approach to developing an economic model that demonstrated unequivocally the cost effectiveness and reliability of distributed power assets at the fringes of the grid. The utility calculated that off-grid distributed and renewable assets combined with storage is more cost effective than extending the reach of the grid by two kilometers, or having to repair the transmission lines of approximately 20 poles. Add to that calculus the environmental benefits of replacing centralized fossil fuel generation and suddenly the cost benefit analysis overwhelmingly supports the Base Power off-grid units – creating a win-win with better energy security for both the utility and their customers.”
Powerco created Base Power in collaboration The Downs Group to be simple to operate and maintain. Powerco selected The Downs Group as being responsible for the assembly, installation and ongoing maintenance of the units. Most Base Power units supply power at the same voltage and frequency as the utility grid, creating a seamless experience for Powerco customers.
“To realise the vision of cost effectiveness and seamless, reliable power from renewables, integrating dependable energy storage at all points of access along the distribution grid and beyond is critical,” continued Von Burg.
“Given that Base Power units are intended for rugged environments, Powerco and The Downs Group knew they needed an energy storage solution with a robust profile, able to withstand a wide operating temperature range without the need for thermal regulation, if their solution was going to be equal to or even more reliable than the grid. Our PHI batteries provide 98% efficiency and are energy dense with a long cycle life due to our proprietary architecture and manufacturing processes that leverage the intrinsic stability and safety of the lithium ferro phosphate chemistry. We do not utilise cobalt-based lithium-ion chemistry. By eliminating the toxicity and hazards characteristic of cobalt, our solutions are able to perform in remote, harsh environments without the risk of catastrophic failure due to thermal runaway or fires. This combination allows the Base Power units to be highly efficient and store as much solar generation as possible for reliable power when the sun is not shining for years to come.”