Author Topic: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?  (Read 1243 times)

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Offline tpowell1830

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Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« on: March 21, 2017, 02:59:49 PM »
I ran across the video on YT. This says that 20% of Australians from Perth are using Solar Cells for home power. Also, you have a new battery technology using Bromine. I thought that was interesting considering that I keep seeing these reports on the forum that there are walking brownouts and blackouts in the southern part of Australia. Is the use of batteries really that prevalent for home power? The $5000 government rebate looks nice as well.

What do you Australians think?

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Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 03:19:02 PM »
This is something that's always interested me to look into.  Basically you  have something like this:

Commercial hydro => Rectifiers (AC-DC converters) => Battery bank => inverter => Main panel to rest of house  - this is similar to telecom as it's used for power backup.

This will allow to perhaps turn rectifiers off on peak and use the battery then recharge off peak.   You could also add solar to the mix, so during the day the solar panels would be charging the batteries instead of the rectifiers.   
 

Online BradC

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2017, 03:27:23 PM »
I ran across the video on YT. This says that 20% of Australians from Perth are using Solar Cells for home power. Also, you have a new battery technology using Bromine. I thought that was interesting considering that I keep seeing these reports on the forum that there are walking brownouts and blackouts in the southern part of Australia. Is the use of batteries really that prevalent for home power? The $5000 government rebate looks nice as well.

There is a significant Solar uptake in Perth. Thankfully our grid is entirely divorced from the "National Energy Market" and we actually have fairly reliable power with a significant base load capacity. It took the network operator a few years to adjust to the variability of the Solar input, as 4 or 5 years ago we were seeing summer voltage peaks in excess of 270V. They seem to have that sorted in the last couple of years, and while we still see wild freqnency swings (+/- 0.5Hz in some cases) the voltage is a lot more stable. Haven't had a significant outage for a number of years now, and certainly nothing approaching the farce that has been seen in South Australia recently.

Additionally, many moons ago our State Govt decided we needed to quarantine a decent percentage of our Natural Gas production for local use (much to the disgust of the Federal Govt at the time). Thankfully that has worked for us, and we're pretty self sufficient over here now.

 

Offline MrBungle

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2017, 03:33:00 PM »
I ran across the video on YT. This says that 20% of Australians from Perth are using Solar Cells for home power...
I can't watch the video for some reason(work server issues) but as a resident of Perth, I think this figure is generous.
I certainly don't see 1 in 5 roofs with panels but solar is definitely on the increase. I would guess I see maybe 1 in 10.

Quote
...I thought that was interesting considering that I keep seeing these reports on the forum that there are walking brownouts and blackouts in the southern part of Australia.
Don't confuse 'southern parts' with the state of South Australia, most of Australia's population is 'southern' but it is really only the State of South Australia that is having issues.

Quote
Is the use of batteries really that prevalent for home power?
Nope, the vast majority of systems are grid-connect, though I'm sure storage is gaining popularity now thanks to Tesla.

Quote
The $5000 government rebate looks nice as well.
It's okay, but the older rebate systems were far better for early adopters.
I know a few people that are still getting a 43cent per kWh feed-in tariff.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 03:38:05 PM by MrBungle »
 
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Online moz

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2017, 03:34:20 PM »
The company referred to is almost certainly  http://redflow.com/

Their chairsuit is active on Whirlpool and there's quite a lot of info if you want to read the main thread: https://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2515892

Also: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/zinc-bromine-flow-batteries-are-they-going-to-make-it/msg1079959/#msg1079959

(second the comments about solar penetration being uneven, and batteries rare. We have comparatively a lot of off-grid houses but they're mostly remote places where the grid is unavailable or really unreliable)
 

Online wilfred

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2017, 04:08:46 PM »

Don't confuse 'southern parts' with the state of South Australia, most of Australia's population is 'southern' but it is really only the State of South Australia that is having issues.


Keep in mind the relatively recent issues Tasmania had with the failure of the HVAC (BASSlink) across Bass Strait. They faced a critical shortfall in power as they were otherwise reliant on hydro and there was a drought. They had to install diesel as an emergency stopgap.

And the Hazelwood coal station is due to close very soon taking 22% of Victoria's baseload (5% nationally) capacity with it.

SA had issues due to catastrophic storm damage, a single point of failure in the interconnect to Victoria and poor planning in managing stop-start supply from renewable generators of which SA is embracing enthusiastically.

The debate hasn't risen above a polarised pro-anti renewable level by and large. But it is really a failure at the political level. Policy introducing a price on carbon  was heavily politicised and banks and investment financiers are reluctant to fund future coal capacity largely because the future cost of carbon polution is unquantified on the balance sheet. It is regarded as just too risky.

It is ironic that now energy companies are either pricing carbon internally in investment decision making or asking the government to do it.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-17/carbon-pricing-one-optimum-method-reduce-emissions-bp/8279958
That is just one easy to find reference. I've heard others.  They're doing it because the banks insist on it for funding decision making.

Another problem SA had was there was sufficient gas power available but the market failed and the operator decided it wasn't good (profitable) business to bring it online. But the capacity was there. Which brings us to the latest political failure to set aside a reserve supply of gas for local use. We are now faced with buying gas on the international market at international prices. Which may have been a factor in the decision to not bring additional capacity online in SA recently.

The longer the policy failure drags on the more quickly those who can will seek to ensure they can be self reliant.

Will people be able to ever run the house from the battery in their electric car i wonder.
 

Online moz

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2017, 04:27:48 PM »
Will people be able to ever run the house from the battery in their electric car i wonder.

That's easy: yes, they can do that now... in Japan

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1095193_nissan-leaf-to-home-electric-car-power-tests-more-practical-for-u-s-with-longer-range-cars

http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/NEWS/2012/_STORY/120530-01-e.html

Not least because they already have demand management so things like this pay off. When it's costing 15-20c/kWh to cycle power through the battery someone has to pay for that to be worth while. Apparently the Japanese decided that that makes sense. But here in Australia we're proud consumers living in an economy, and much more money changes hands if we live in poorly insulated houses, buy big air conditioners, and run them full blast on hot days. It's a win-win-win, except for consumers who get ... uh... billed.

Australia also has some pumped hydro but it's rarely used because the fossil power company that owns it makes more money if it's idle (the peak price they get goes higher, more often)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 04:32:38 PM by moz »
 

Online moz

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2017, 04:44:02 PM »
it is really a failure at the political level.

I suggest it goes back even before Howard's last-gasp price on carbon promise, to the decision to privatise the generators and grid. The electricity grid is actually a canonical example of a natural monopoly used by economists to show that markets aren't always appropriate. The carbon price and renewables saga also shows how hard it is to manage a utility that runs on 30-60 year cycles when the rules change with the wind.

My expectation is that when (if) batteries become viable for a significant number of people we will see supply charges based on the property being able to be serviced rather than the connection being used. The argument that the supplier has to maintain the grid regardless is valid, and we already see that done with sewage and town water (mostly in more rural areas). I'd be peeved, but also one of the people skirting that by living in a granny flat with no separate connection ... let the tenants pay the supply charge :)
 

Online BradC

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2017, 06:07:47 PM »
Will people be able to ever run the house from the battery in their electric car i wonder.

I'm sure this isn't the context you posed that question in, but certainly in the Hurricane states in the US people have been running inverters from their electric cars for emergency house power.
The high voltage pack steps down to 12V, they run their inverter from that. When the HV pack gets low the car cycles the IC to charge it back up again. Lather, rinse & repeat.

Of course the ideal is to take the power direct from the HV pack, but doing it the other way is just "off the shelf" so to speak.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 08:20:23 PM »
The company referred to is almost certainly  http://redflow.com/

Yes it would be Redflow.
I have a contact who can hook me up with a director of this company (Simon Hackett of Shark tank fame)
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2017, 08:21:04 PM »
The $5000 government rebate looks nice as well.

Where is there a $5k rebate for battery systems?
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2017, 08:54:12 PM »
Related:
 

Online BradC

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2017, 10:03:38 PM »
The company referred to is almost certainly  http://redflow.com/

Yes it would be Redflow.
I have a contact who can hook me up with a director of this company (Simon Hackett of Shark tank fame)

I'd be seriously interested in seeing some more detail on their tech. The stuff on their web is nice, but kinda vague. It *looks* like a fascinating storage tech. Certainly more than a crapload of lithium a welded together.
 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2017, 10:53:35 PM »
The $5000 government rebate looks nice as well.

Where is there a $5k rebate for battery systems?

It is at around 11:30 in the video, Adelaide counsel offering it.

Elon Musk is offering to offer batteries, I guess that is the Tesla system.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 10:56:06 PM by tpowell1830 »
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Online moz

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2017, 08:08:10 AM »
I'd be seriously interested in seeing some more detail on their tech. The stuff on their web is nice, but kinda vague.

Do you mean the datasheets on the cells? A little clicking round the links Simon gave at the start of the Whirlpool thread gave me this page: http://redflow.com/products/redflow-zbm-2/ which has a bunch of PDFs linked. That seems likely to be about as detailed as you'll get without signing up as an installer. But you could always ask Simon on Whirlpool (after reading the thread), because he has been pretty good about answering.

I was adding a mumble about Simon's house being very cool and Simon being a mad keen enthusiast type while Dave's video above played... but I think the video conveys that quite nicely :)
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 08:24:35 AM by moz »
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2017, 09:04:42 AM »
Australia certainly seems like a nearly ideal place for solar. Plenty of sunlight, relatively expensive conventional energy, lots of air conditioning load during times of peak sunlight, relatively progressive attitude, I'd bet on it becoming a lot more common over the next 20 years.
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2017, 10:18:01 AM »
I never understood this "lets place a battery to every home" movement. You dont want to place batteries at home. Batteries are expensive, they need maintenance, they are a fire hazard, they wear out. The grid operator needs to place batteries. They need to smooth out the power fluctuations, and supply the grid with reliable power. That is what we are paying for.
If your country is not using net metering, there could be a financial point to place batteries. But it is wrong. They should be using net metering, and have battery stations. The reasoning, is fundamentally wrong.

It is a different story than placing solar panels. You have a roof, an empty space, the energy company does not have lots of empty space.

And it is not economical. Solar panels are a different story, since even microinverters would be the most optimal. For batteries, the electronics scales very well. In theory, you can create a 10KV battery pack, run it through some SiC transistors, inductors, transformers, and get any AC voltage. It scales well upwards in power, not so much downwards. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars to make a power plant, surely, the grid operator will eventually be able to afford reasonably sized battery banks.
 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2017, 10:26:00 AM »
I never understood this "lets place a battery to every home" movement. You dont want to place batteries at home. Batteries are expensive, they need maintenance, they are a fire hazard, they wear out. The grid operator needs to place batteries. They need to smooth out the power fluctuations, and supply the grid with reliable power. That is what we are paying for.
If your country is not using net metering, there could be a financial point to place batteries. But it is wrong. They should be using net metering, and have battery stations. The reasoning, is fundamentally wrong.

It is a different story than placing solar panels. You have a roof, an empty space, the energy company does not have lots of empty space.

And it is not economical. Solar panels are a different story, since even microinverters would be the most optimal. For batteries, the electronics scales very well. In theory, you can create a 10KV battery pack, run it through some SiC transistors, inductors, transformers, and get any AC voltage. It scales well upwards in power, not so much downwards. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars to make a power plant, surely, the grid operator will eventually be able to afford reasonably sized battery banks.

I think the point of the video was that those who had solar panels were getting a raw deal when selling power back to the suppliers. The idea is that instead of paying the high cost of prime time power from the power company that the users would just charge the batteries from the solar panels and use the stored power at the peak usage time when the power cost the most. These units have computerized systems that sorted all of that out for the users.
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Online moz

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2017, 10:53:14 AM »
I never understood this "lets place a battery to every home" movement.

Batteries in homes don't solve a technical problem, they solve a political problem.

For various reasons which are too painful to discuss some countries have political systems incapable of supporting or in some cases even permitting obvious technical solutions like grid or substation scale batteries. If those people want batteries (almost) the only option is to put batteries into their house.

In Australia, as Simon Hackett mentioned in the video Dave linked, the regulatory obstacles to home grid-connected batteries are significant. The simple political solution is just to remove the feed-in tariff or lower it to pointlessness and it seems possible that Australia will do that. After that losing the tariff for having batteries isn't an issue.

At a neighbourhood level Australia does have some micro-grid stuff happening, and some activist companies (like Redflow) are pushing different options where they can. But it's hard work, and we have already seen government step in and kill those schemes even (especially?) when they work well. The only fix for that is voting, but the most charitable explanation is that 90% of Australian voters don't think that climate change matters enough to change their vote.

For an individual, one technical route around those is is to have a standard grid-interactive solar PV setup, but have a UPS for the house or some subset of it. Charge the UPS from the PV when you can, or from the grid when you can't. Program the UPS to deliver battery power to the house when it can, and from the grid when it can't. It's stupidly complicated, slightly more expensive than it could be, but it complies with the regulations. At the point where everyone loses their feed-in tariff the extra cost of that workaround becomes pointless.

Worth noting that it's also technically illegal in Australia to run an extension cord over the fence and buy electricity from your neighbour, should you go off-grid and want to charge your batteries. But it's also illegal to run fixed cat5 or any other signal wire in your house. Some people know about those rules and obey them :)
 

Offline mwalker

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2017, 12:55:40 PM »
Yet in Victoria we are increasing the minimum feed in tariff from 6.2c/kWh to 11c/kWh as of 1 July, which has the side effect of reducing the price incentive for batteries a fair bit.
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2017, 05:58:37 PM »
For utility grade batteries it seems to me it would make sense to do this along HVDC lines.  Could literally use lead acid batteries for that if you set the voltage to a proper float voltage (multiple of 2.25).  Each cell would be about the size of a backyard swimming pool and there would be enough of them to be at the HVDC nominal voltage.  They could run along the line in flat long buildings.  The utility owns that property anyway and it needs to be cleared of trees, may as well build there.  They would not be very tall buildings, just very long. The HVDC would then be set to the float voltage of that battery.  For example if you go with a 675,000 volts, that would be 300,000 cells.  Actually, 600,000, you want at least 2 strings for redundancy.  Seems insane but seems to me this is the right way to go about battery storage.   Not sure how much actual storage you'd get out of that though, but it would basically act as a big capacitor. Give a better grace period to startup more generating stations.  Maybe buy minutes instead of seconds.
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2017, 07:54:12 PM »
For utility grade batteries it seems to me it would make sense to do this along HVDC lines.  Could literally use lead acid batteries for that if you set the voltage to a proper float voltage (multiple of 2.25).  Each cell would be about the size of a backyard swimming pool and there would be enough of them to be at the HVDC nominal voltage.  They could run along the line in flat long buildings.  The utility owns that property anyway and it needs to be cleared of trees, may as well build there.  They would not be very tall buildings, just very long. The HVDC would then be set to the float voltage of that battery.  For example if you go with a 675,000 volts, that would be 300,000 cells.  Actually, 600,000, you want at least 2 strings for redundancy.  Seems insane but seems to me this is the right way to go about battery storage.   Not sure how much actual storage you'd get out of that though, but it would basically act as a big capacitor. Give a better grace period to startup more generating stations.  Maybe buy minutes instead of seconds.
Actually, the way I imagine it is on a a smaller scale. In Belgium, we have a problem in some cases, when the sun is really shining.All the solar panels, are generating electricity, so the voltage at a feeder would increase, and when it would increase above the limit, your inverter is shutting down. This already happens, and the problem will happen more often, the more solar panels are installed.
So the way I see it, the battery storage needs to be in a shipping container. It has to be a completely autonomous unit. Then the grid operator, would install these at the required places. Also, in case of an emergency, these can be relocated to the required location.  They can be connected together, multiples next to each other, on top of each other, and so on. Complete, with built in fire suppressant system, space for maintenance, inverters, and so on, electro magnetically shielded, since it is a container, made out of steel. Lifetime of 10-15 years, we are supposed to have better battery technology by then anyway.

On the grid scale, probably, it makes more sense to use fuel cells. Or batteries, where the electrolyte is stored externally. Storing liquid in high quantity is solved, and probably a lot cheaper than making mega batteries, or millions of 18650 cells.
 

Online moz

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2017, 07:45:16 AM »
Batteries are not capacitors, and even HVDC lines vary in voltage, sometimes over fairly short intervals. 300,000 of anything complex in series will fail, probably quite quickly. Having an uncontrolled source/sink in the middle of an HVDC line would make controlling it more difficult. It would be much simpler to build a battery of the most economic units, scaled to be a convenient size. Then use modern power electronics to produce whatever voltage and current is required.

Also, rather than fuel cells use flow batteries. Two or more big tanks, and a building between them where the active elements live. I believe Redflow have even talked about doing that.
 

Offline raspberrypi

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2017, 08:06:25 AM »
I plan on powering my home off AA alkaline cells. Sure you have to change the battieries but they are cheaper then rechargeable batteries and come fully charged. That will save alot in electricity when I have charge the batteries the first time I take them out of the box. Or even better idea: buy those dollar store "Heavy Duty" batteries. Im going with AA because the batteroo fits on them. Maybe augment them with some solar panels I can install under the parked cars in the drive way. 

I can't wait for the first video of a refrigerator sized liPo battery exploding.

Photonicinduction on youtube has a good video on how he installed a bunch of batteries in his basement and recharges them at night with off peak electricity.
I'm legally blind so sometimes I ask obvious questions, but its because I can't see well.
 
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Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Battery Powered Homes in Australia?
« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2017, 09:34:06 PM »
For utility grade batteries it seems to me it would make sense to do this along HVDC lines.  Could literally use lead acid batteries for that if you set the voltage to a proper float voltage (multiple of 2.25).  Each cell would be about the size of a backyard swimming pool and there would be enough of them to be at the HVDC nominal voltage.  They could run along the line in flat long buildings.  The utility owns that property anyway and it needs to be cleared of trees, may as well build there.  They would not be very tall buildings, just very long. The HVDC would then be set to the float voltage of that battery.  For example if you go with a 675,000 volts, that would be 300,000 cells.  Actually, 600,000, you want at least 2 strings for redundancy.  Seems insane but seems to me this is the right way to go about battery storage.   Not sure how much actual storage you'd get out of that though, but it would basically act as a big capacitor. Give a better grace period to startup more generating stations.  Maybe buy minutes instead of seconds.
Actually, the way I imagine it is on a a smaller scale. In Belgium, we have a problem in some cases, when the sun is really shining.All the solar panels, are generating electricity, so the voltage at a feeder would increase, and when it would increase above the limit, your inverter is shutting down. This already happens, and the problem will happen more often, the more solar panels are installed.
So the way I see it, the battery storage needs to be in a shipping container. It has to be a completely autonomous unit. Then the grid operator, would install these at the required places. Also, in case of an emergency, these can be relocated to the required location.  They can be connected together, multiples next to each other, on top of each other, and so on. Complete, with built in fire suppressant system, space for maintenance, inverters, and so on, electro magnetically shielded, since it is a container, made out of steel. Lifetime of 10-15 years, we are supposed to have better battery technology by then anyway.

On the grid scale, probably, it makes more sense to use fuel cells. Or batteries, where the electrolyte is stored externally. Storing liquid in high quantity is solved, and probably a lot cheaper than making mega batteries, or millions of 18650 cells.

Actually that may be more feasible.  They could be made modular and configurable as different modes.  Once they are designed they could be mass produced and be dropped almost anywhere.  They could have different modes too, default would be to just "smooth out" the grid (would require some way to talk to the grid so it can be told to absorb or supply power) or they could also act as UPS or simply solar storage for off/semi off grid applications.    Essentially a large scale powerwall.
 


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