Redback Technologies has been selected by Contact Energy, one of New Zealand’s leading energy generators and retailers, to participate in a Virtual Power Plant trial in Wellington.

Redback’s Smart Hybrid System will be used as part of a two-year solar and battery technology trial designed to support Wellingtonians in the event of a natural disaster. The technology will allow residents to access energy from solar power generation and battery storage when the electricity grid is under pressure during peak times or is compromised due to outages.

Redback Technologies’ Smart Hybrid System captures, stores and manages solar power encouraging self-optimisation of household energy. Its smart technology uses machine learning to gather intelligence overtime to ensure energy usage is optimised and provides an accelerated return on investment. The trial includes 25 homes in Wellington.

Contact Energy chief generation and development officer James Kilty said it chose the Australian start-up for the innovative and flexible nature of the technology, which enables customers to choose a range of battery sizes and provides external cloud control of the technology.

Kilty said the smart network of customer-located batteries would enhance the resilience of communities in the event of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake.

The project, which has been developed in partnership with Wellington Electricity and Wellington City Council, is the next step in Redback Technologies’ international expansion, having signed a deal with Duserve Facilities Management earlier this year to expand into Dubai and the wider Middle East and North Africa region.

Redback Technologies director of Oceania sales Tim Latimer said the project represents a huge opportunity to trial Redback’s technology in a VPP use case.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with one of New Zealand’s leading energy retailers to trial Redback’s system in a VPP setting. This will bring us one step closer to establishing a grid predominantly powered by renewable energy,” Latimer said.

“By building the energy infrastructure for the future, Redback is placing the power back into the hands of the consumers and giving them control over how their energy is used.”