The company’s chief executive and majority shareholder, Raymond Pratt, is a Darwin-based Indigenous man who parlayed his trade ticket as an electrician into founding the electrical and construction services outfit Dice Australia.
A key opportunity for AllGrid beckons in remote Indigenous communities which rely on costly and emissions-heavy diesel generators.
“Obviously as an Indigenous company working with Indigenous communities, it’s a really big area of traction for us,” Oberon said.
The end result of these “commercial scale” solar systems would be “energy wealth and energy autonomy” for those remote communities.
AllGrid has a number of feasibility studies under way for Indigenous communities both on and off the national power grid, Oberon says, with plans to train local Indigenous electricians to install those systems.
Energy storage systems give households with solar power the opportunity to further cut reliance on the nation’s largely coal-fired electricity grid, even during peak demand times when the sun has gone down.
AllGrid claims its storage systems, which are assembled at a factory in Brisbane’s south, can cut household grid power consumption by 75%.
Oberon said that although orders were “ticking along” thanks to the interest of early adopters, 2016 would be “the year that storage really starts to kick off in Australia”.
AllGrid has also released a solar energy system, the PortaGrid, for remote locations where tapping into the national power grid is not an option. It comes with the option of a weather monitor that automatically closes up the solar panels in severe weather events like cyclones.
Oberon said the company was talking to the national parks and wildlife service about using the PortaGrid to replace diesel generators in remote sites.
Oberon said the technology, developed with AllGrid’s second parent company, the renewable energy company Consolidated Industrial Holdings, could be particularly attractive in developing countries.
AllGrid also has its sights on developing storage systems with saltwater batteries that it says could last twice as long as lead acid batteries.
Oberon said the current AllGrid systems were designed so that the tubular gel batteries could be “easily swapped” with more advanced batteries at the end of their life.