Sunverge solar battery system reviewed

Sunverge Energy’s Solar Integration System (SIS) is an intelligent distributed energy battery storage system that integrates with new or existing solar systems and also connects to the electricity grid. It is designed to provide enhanced power management, but how does it really stack up? Find out everything you need to know about the Sunverge solar storage system it in this review.

Sunverge, which is based in San Francisco and Brisbane, describes the system as “a distributed energy storage and management appliance comprised of powerful storage batteries, power electronics and system-management software running in the cloud”.

How does the Sunverge system work?product_header11

The Sunverge solar storage unit monitors solar generation, electricity demand, utility price signals and battery capacity in real time, prioritising operations in response to what is happening at the site and on the grid. As conditions change over time, the unit adapts. The SIS functions automatically without the need for active involvement or behavioural change from energy consumers.

Sunverge and AGL

Sunverge has been working with energy company AGL Energy since 2015, with AGL announcing a US$20 million investment in Sunverge in February the following year, “to enhance its energy storage management capabilities and help accelerate the adoption of energy storage in the Australian market”. Under a strategic agreement between the two companies, AGL is Sunverge’s exclusive channel partner for the sale of its systems in Australia.

“An emerging leader in demand response management for premises-based energy storage, Sunverge’s innovative energy solution will help us better meet the needs of our customers in a carbon-constrained energy future,” AGL Managing Director and CEO Andy Vesey stated upon announcement of the investment.

“This future is increasingly based on decentralised products and services, including digital metering, solar PV systems, as well as new technologies such as batteries, electric vehicles and other ‘beyond-the-meter’ energy solutions.”

The energy market is evolving, promising ever-greater energy management control, with the next generation of residential battery storage system options poised to play an increasingly important role. Not only are home-owner attitudes towards energy management changing, but utilities companies also are positioning themselves to compete in the evolving market.

Sunverge states that its systems deliver benefits for both: “The direct benefits of customer-sited energy storage are indisputable: more reliable power and lower bills for consumers, and reduced grid management and energy delivery costs for utilities.”

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What is a virtual power plant?

Sunverge advised in August 2016 that it was partnering with AGL and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency “to develop the world’s largest virtual power plant (VPP)”, with the project being undertaken in South Australia.

Vesey stated on announcement of the project that it “is core to AGL’s strategy of being a manager of distributed energy resources”, with it helping “to continue to improve the digital customer experience”.

Sunverge describes the operation of a VPP as: “Using cloud-based software, the VPP directs energy storage units to operate in unison to meet peak energy demand across an entire community or service area, helping consumers utilise their own rooftop-generated solar or stored solar power during peak demand periods and reduce their power bills.”

Sunverge states that storage systems operating as part of a VPP deliver a stronger and more reliable power grid, more efficient energy management and greater value, and long-term bill reductions for consumers.

The project, which is employing the Sunverge SIS 7.7, is being rolled out in three phases over a period of around 18 months, with the VPP to be capable of storing 7 MWh of energy, with an output equivalent to a 5 MW solar peaking plant, enough power for 1,000 homes.

It will provide greater grid stability, demonstrate alternative ways to manage peaks in demand and support the higher penetration of intermittent, renewable generation on the grid, it is claimed. It is also hoped that the project can demonstrate how relationships between electricity networks, retailers, consumers and the market operator can create new sources of value and stability in a renewable energy future,” Sunverge states.

What Sunverge systems does AGL offer?

AGL’s Sunverge systems comprise its Sunverge SIS 11.6 and Sunverge SIS 19.4 options, with the systems employing lithium-ion battery technology. AGL states that its selected batteries “are maintenance-free, compact and long-lived; as well as exceeding international battery safety standards”.

The batteries, which can be charged by both solar and from the grid, are designed to last for up to 7,000 cycles or a total of 10 years, whichever comes first. AGL Sunverge systems:

  • Sunverge SIS 11.6 – capacity 11.6 kWh – usable 9.9 kWh
  • Sunverge SIS 19.4 – capacity 19.4 kWh – usable 16.5 kWh

In terms of charging, the Sunverge SIS 11.6 takes 6 hours for 4 kW or 4 hours for 5 kW, and the Sunverge SIS 19.4 takes 8 hours for 5 kW. AGL states that the systems provide around 80 per cent depth-of-discharge with a continuous rate of 5 kW.

How are the Sunverge systems installed?

The Sunverge systems can be installed either indoors or outdoors, with AGL recommending installation in a garage or under an eave, away from direct sunlight. In terms of pairing a Sunverge system with a solar panel system, AGL states:

  • The Sunverge SIS 11.6 is suited to a 4.5 kW solar system, with it capable of powering a home for approximately 3 to 9 hours, depending on household consumption. As a general rule of thumb, households with a solar export between 9 kWh and 15 kWh on an average day should consider this battery.
  • The Sunverge SIS 19.4 is suited to a 5 kW solar system, and is capable of powering a home for approximately 5 to 15 hours, depending on household consumption. As a general rule of thumb, households with a solar export over 15 kWh on an average day should consider this battery.

The measurements for both models are:

  • Height, width, depth – 186 x 86 x 36 cm
  • Weight – approximately 300 kg

The systems come with an inverter and with installation included, and come with a 10-year warranty.

Interested in finding out more about AGL’s Sunverge systems?

Consumers interested in purchasing a Sunverge system can find further information via the AGL website, and can contact AGL via either its website or via phone.

“Our solar experts will discuss your energy needs and lifestyle to ensure you have the right system or storage solution to complement your household,” AGL says. “Plus, you can finance our batteries on a low-interest five-year payment plan.”

Consumers can also join AGL’s Power Advantage Club, via which AGL keeps consumers informed of its latest solar or solar energy storage offers and promotions, with further information available via the AGL website. AGL additionally provides information on its VPP project via its website, with consumers able to register their interest.

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