Getting the most out of your Redback battery storage system

Congratulations on purchasing a Redback battery system and taking the next big step in your renewable journey! This article is tailored for Redback owners like you, who have recently integrated a storage system. Here, you’ll find specialised tips designed to help you maximise the benefits of your new Redback system, so be sure to add this article to your browser’s favourites.

If you need more guidance on optimising your new system after reading this information, please contact your installer (you received their contact details in your first email from us). Or you can raise a support ticket.

Happy little boy running and having fun with his family in the front of their house that has a Redback Technologies Smart Hybrid System installed.

How your system is working day-to-day

First off, let’s do a quick overview of how your solar works. In a nutshell, your solar panels generate their power when the sun is shining. Any excess solar produced during sunny periods gets fed into your home battery storage system for later use. Once your battery is full, excess solar will then get fed into the grid for a small financial incentive called a feed-in tariff, which will often appear as a credit on your electricity bill. You can track your solar production, battery status and more on the MyRedback app, or the Redback portal.

In these arrays, your panels, inverter, and battery storage system are working together to allow you to generate, store, and use your own freely generated solar power in your home. Of course, the sun only shines for a certain amount of time per day, and your battery capacity isn’t endless. So, that’s where some strategy can come in handy to help you get the most out of your new system, while purchasing as little power from the grid as possible.

Being strategic about your solar

High power bills are a common concern for many households. Those who have invested in a solar system are likely enjoying lower electricity costs; and, if you have a solar system paired with a battery, you might see an even more significant reduction in your power bills. Nevertheless, there are also additional behaviours that can help you optimise your solar setup even further. Ideally, reducing the amount of grid power you use is the key to saving on your electricity bills. So, in this section, we’ll share some valuable insights to help you maximise your solar savings and make the most of your investment.

Consider switching from gas to electric

If your home is using gas, you’re no stranger to expecting two different bills – both for powering your essential appliances. By switching to electric, you’ll be able to consolidate to the one bill. As an example, he Victorian Government, for example, estimates that VIC households could save up to $1,000 off their annual energy bills by switching from gas to electric. By connecting your previously-gas-powered appliances (like your stove or heater) to electric, you open up the opportunity for these to be powered by solar. Imagine going from 2 energy bills, to just one where you have the opportunity to make an impact on your bill total!

An illustration of a house with solar panels on the roof and an electric vehicle plugged in.

Have an EV? Charge it during peak hours

Charging a 60kW EV battery on grid power can cost up to $24 per charging session. But why pay to charge when you can get your solar to do the hard work for you? Topping up your EV during the day using solar could save you that $24 on your power bill.

Charging your electric vehicle (EV) during peak solar hours, rather than during utility peak hours, is typically the best way to utilise solar power for charging. On a sunny day, the sun shines at its peak between 10 am and 3 pm (although depending on your location and the time of year this could vary slightly). During these hours, your solar panels are producing the most electricity which you can use to top up your EV. By charging your EV during these times, you can use this direct solar energy rather than pulling electricity from the grid. Charging during peak solar hours allows you to avoid drawing electricity from the grid during utility peak hours, which are often the most expensive due to higher demand.

Run large loads while the sun is shining

Strategically running your high-power appliances (also referred to as ‘large loads’) during peak solar production can really help you to purchase less from the grid, while instead utilising your freely generated solar. Your laundry appliances, dishwasher or pool pump all require a fair bit of electricity. So, running these larger loads on grid power during the evening could really cost you. But, running your washing machine with solar on a sunny day can really offset your electricity costs.

If the weather has you thinking about switching on the air conditioner (a very large load), timing your air-con usage can also pay off. Simply utilise the power of your solar by pre-cooling your home during the day while the sun is shining. This action will use your solar to help power the air con as it cools your home instead of cooling your hot home from scratch when you return from work. Overall, if you start the cooling process as soon as you return home, you’re not only trying to cool a very hot house, but there also might not be a lot of sun left in the day to power your solar (if there is any at all). So, pre-cooling can reduce the amount of power purchased from the grid and offset your power costs in the long run.

Up close image of Redback Battery installed against a tin wall

How to take control of your battery system’s output

Now, let’s discuss your battery. Essentially, it functions by storing the surplus energy your solar panels generate. This stored energy is kept in your home battery system, where it’s available to power your home during a blackout or when your solar panels aren’t producing electricity (like at night or on rainy days). This helps you minimise your reliance on grid power and can lead to cost savings.

Please note that the details can vary between our Smart Battery and Smart Hybrid systems. For specific information about your system, we recommend reading the Homeowner Guide that we recently emailed to you. Your Homeowner Guide is also available in the Redback Portal under the Support tab.

Optimally running your backup circuit

By optimising your backup capabilities, you’re able to reserve power to get you through a longer-term backout. At the time of installation, your installer should have explained your backup circuit and helped you set it up. During this setup, you would have selected the essential appliances to connect to your backup circuit. It’s important to remember that overloading your backup circuit by running too many appliances simultaneously, or by running appliances with high power demands, can cause the system to shut down. This can be particularly problematic during a blackout. So, we advise limiting the backup circuit to only essential appliances and being mindful of the appliances you activate when the backup circuit is in use.

If this conversation with your installer did not take place, or if you are unsure whether your backup circuit was hooked up, please contact your installer to clarify and address any issues. We sent you their details in our first email titled ‘Welcome to the Redback Family!’, and you can also find them in your MyRedback app under the ‘System’ tab.

Want more reserve power?

You may have noticed your Homeowner Guide mentioning “Minimum SoC,” which stands for “State of Charge.” This term refers to the lowest battery capacity level that should be maintained to prevent damage. Draining the battery completely to 0% could harm the battery cells, so a buffer, usually set at 20%, is maintained.

When to Decrease Minimum SoC

Decreasing the Minimum SoC is possible if you often rely on your battery and need extra energy. You can request for your installer to lower the Minimum SoC to 10%, unlocking an additional 10% of your battery’s capacity for use. It is important to note that you cannot reduce the Minimum SoC to 0%.

When to Increase Minimum SoC

Increasing the Minimum SoC can be beneficial if you have high energy demands on your backup circuit, or if you live in an area with unreliable grid power supply. A higher SoC acts as a larger power buffer, which is particularly useful when opportunities to recharge the battery are limited. You can ask your installer to adjust your Minimum SoC upwards, ensuring more reserved power is available when needed.

Your installer will talk you through these processes to help you choose the right Minimum SoC for your home’s power needs.

Woman looking at iPad with MyRedback Portal Displayed

Take advantage of Scheduling and Relays

Relays are especially handy for efficient power management in your home, functioning as switchable devices that can be programmed to run your loads at predetermined times. These pieces of hardware can be vital in achieving efficient power management in your home. You can use these relays in multiple ways. One common application is to schedule them through your portal to activate specific appliances at set times. For example, you might program your hot water system to heat up from 4-5 AM rather than keeping it running all night. This not only ensures the water is hot right before your morning shower, but it also minimises energy consumption overnight.

You can set a custom relay or choose from a predetermined time available in the Redback Portal. Furthermore, Redback’s Smart Load Control can be integrated with relay scheduling to enhance energy efficiency. This combination allows for more precise control, enabling adjustments through an installer-configured settings page on the portal. Here, you can toggle devices on and off according to your schedule, optimising energy use and adapting to your lifestyle needs in a cost-effective manner.

So, what’s the difference? A relay will run certain loads at a time of day predetermined by you, while your installer will configure Smart Load Control to run large loads (like hot water systems or pool pumps) when there is excess solar available. As long as Smart Load Control is set up by your installer, you can run it in tandem with your relays by toggling a few simple settings in the Redback Portal.

Optimise your payback

For Queensland or South Australian homeowners with a Redback Smart Inverter, Smart Hybrid or Smart Three-Phase Hybrid, a Dynamic Connection (or ‘Dynamic Export’ in SA) is also available. With a Dynamic Connection, homeowners have the opportunity to export up to twice as much solar to the grid when the network operator allows it. Most inverters are capped at a 5kW export limit, but with a Dynamic Connection the export limit can be up to 10kW – that means you can make up to twice as much money on your feed-in tariff. Redback was the first inverter manufacturer certified for Dynamic Exports in Queensland.

Note: If you have a Redback Smart Battery system and a non-Redback inverter system, please contact your inverter manufacturer for clarification on whether they’re certified for Dynamic Connections.

A screen from the Redback App on a phone in a persons hand with a coffee in the background

Use your Monitoring strategically

Make the most of your system monitoring by utilising the MyRedback app or the Redback Portal. These tools allow you to verify that your system is functioning correctly and help you make informed decisions about managing your battery’s charge. For instance, you can choose to strategically charge your battery from the grid ahead of a planned outage or in anticipation of severe weather, ensuring you have a fully charged battery system when you need it most.

We’ve provided detailed instructions on charging your battery via grid power in the Disaster Preparation and Recovery Information guide.

Additionally, the Redback Portal offers detailed usage charts and the ability to track solar production and consumption in real time. It also provides insights into your grid power usage and access to historical data, which can help you recognise patterns and strategically plan your solar usage to maximise efficiency and savings. The Redback Portal will also let you know if your system is offline. It’s important to ensure your system remains online to enable over-the-air updates, and to maintain warranty status as well, so it’s important to check it often and ensure it’s online and working optimally.

Remember, your battery system is a significant investment. To ensure it pays off, keep it functioning optimally and regularly check that it’s online and performing well.

If your system is showing as ‘offline’ in your portal or app, check our FAQs for guidance on what to do, or raise a support ticket with our Technical Support team.

Redback battery systems present an exceptional opportunity to not only enhance your energy independence but also significantly reduce your electricity costs. By leveraging the strategic tips outlined in this guide—from optimising appliance use during peak solar hours to effectively managing your battery’s charge—you can ensure that every watt generated by your solar panels is utilised to its fullest potential.

Keen to receive more information on your system? Don’t worry! We’ll email you more detailed information about your backup circuit and Redback portal over coming weeks.

You can also access documentation and guides in the Redback Portal under the Support tab.