A plug-and-play solar-powered battery backup solution for homes

The OneBox from Vision Mechatronics consists of a Lithium battery, hybrid inverter and solar charge controller to give a hassle-free solution for electricity backup in case of power outages. Users with excess solar power generation can save money with net metering by using its grid feed feature.

March 2, 2020

Diesel generators are the most common means of electricity backup during power outages. Besides being noisy and polluting, these are also the most expensive means of alternative electricity backup with an operating efficiency of 25%, requirement for repeated maintenance, hassles of diesel storage and fear of diesel theft.  

Providing a clean and green option to diesel generators, Vision Mechatronics has installed in South Delhi a grid-interactive lithium battery based energy storage system coupled with solar rooftop power plant.

The building integrated backup storage system—called OneBox—handles the loads of an elevator (lift), five air-conditioners, two ovens, water pumps, slow charging electric vehicle points, common lighting of the building, and lights, fans and plug points for one full floor. 

The system offers a high peak discharge current, which enables it to handle loads like lift and air conditioners (which require high starting current) with a comparatively small capacity of Lithium batteries. It also supports single phase outage and has a response time of 7 ms, ensuring uninterrupted supply and zero blackout.

A hassle-free solution

“OneBox is a do-it-yourself hybrid solar solution that consists of the world’s smartest Lithium battery, hybrid inverter and solar charge controller to give a hassle-free plug-and-play solution for backup. It takes care of uninterrupted flicker-free power supply with response time of 7 ms, which keeps all electronic items unaffected by power cut and fluctuations,” Vision Mechatronics director Dr Rashi Gupta told pv magazine.

Inverters and batteries come preconfigured in OneBox as per customer requirements. So, “Users neither need to worry about the compatibility of the inverter and lithium batteries, nor about the complex wiring while installation,” said Dr Gupta.

“Integrating solar panels in OneBox not only helps in reducing their carbon footprint but also makes the system cost effective and improves power availability. Users with excess renewable generation can save money with net metering by using grid feed feature of OneBox.” 

Predictive monitoring ensures minimal downtime

The differentiating factor in Vision Mechatronics’ Lithium battery is Active Balancing and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities along with predictive & preventive monitoring, which helps to increase the life of the battery. 

Predictive monitoring feature monitors cell-level data to predict 15 days in advance that the battery/system needs attention. Generally, the customers receive an email in advance. Also, with the auto-on/off feature, the smart battery emails the cause of failure, enabling the customer to take corrective actions. 

Return on investment, viability

OneBox is a cost-effective and eco-friendly substitute for diesel generators with an ROI of about 1.7 to 3 years and an operating cost reaching grid parity, stated Dr Rashi. 

Recently, the Bureau of Indian Standards published safety and performance standards for grid-interactive energy storage systems as well as battery management systems for batteries, which is an important step towards standardization of new technologies like lithium batteries.

“India is globally the first country to publish a Battery Management System (BMS) Standard, and the BMS used in the OneBox is compliant to the Indian standards,” said Dr Rashi.