Blog Post

SimpliPhi Provides Superior, Seamless Replacement for Lead Acid Batteries

SimpliPhi provided Rush Ranch with a simple, sustainable and superior storage replacement for a failing bank of flooded lead acid batteries.

Purchased in 1988 by Solano Land Trust and designated as part of the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in 2003, Rush Ranch’s 2,070 acres of marsh and grasslands provide recreational and educational opportunities for thousands of visitors each year and have provided important contributions to tidal marsh science.

An 11.5 kW PV array and a 3 kW wind turbine provide off-grid power to the entire Rush Ranch property -- including a caretaker’s residence, guest quarters, research and conference space, a barn, offices and the well water purification and pumping, septic system pumps, fans and air conditioning, lighting and appliances, office equipment and plug loads that those buildings require.

With the lead acid battery bank failing, nighttime storage of PV production was limited. This both wasted power generation not used during daytime hours and caused the activation of a Kohler 45 kW propane backup generator at night, burning excessive amounts of costly fossil fuel and producing unwanted CO2. The lead-acid batteries also required watering, monitoring, equalizing and other ongoing maintenance, which diverted staff hours from activities related to the core Solano Land Trust mission.

In June 2017, Green Build Energy Group teamed up with CivicSolar to replace the flooded lead-acid batteries with 10 PHI batteries. Together with OutBack VFX-3648 inverters and Midnite Solar Class 150 charge controllers, the PHI batteries were installed as part of a 34 kWh bank.

Rush Ranch chose SimpliPhi because PHI batteries offer a high-performing, non-toxic direct lead acid replacement. The Solano Land Trust also appreciated that PHI batteries are made in California and have a proven track record for quality and reliability.

According to the system owner, the batteries demonstrated significantly greater energy capacity in their first full day of operation: "The propane backup generator had its first good night's rest in a long time, as the SimpliPhi batteries carried the loads through the night."