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ZEN Energy installed a 3kW ZEN solar solution and 6kWh sonnen storage solution at Stefan and Jenny Von Der Borch’s home in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. Thanks to their ZEN solution, they are achieving their goals of becoming largely grid independent and making their home as energy efficient as possible.

About the Project

Stefan Von Der Borch lives in the Northern suburbs of Adelaide with his wife Jenny. Now retired, Stefan was a land surveyor’s assistant and an experienced aerobatic pilot, which led him to develop a hobby and passion for all things aircraft. However, Stefan has also maintained a long-standing interest in electricity, admiring the great works of Nikola Tesla.

Stefan had always loved the idea of being energy self-sufficient. Having previously installed 3kW of solar at his home, Stefan and Jenny wanted to take the next step toward grid independence by installing more solar panels and battery storage to increase the use of their own locally generated electricity and reduce his reliance on the traditional energy grid.

Like an increasing number of South Australians looking for ways to reduce their electricity bills, Stefan made his thoughts clear about energy prices and why he decided to invest in solar and energy storage.

“I’m sick to death of exorbitant power bills basically. We’re all being ripped off and South Australia just happens to be the dearest in the world.”

“I’ve just come back from overseas and I’ve been to Alaska and Canada, and they have some of the cheapest power in the world, and little old South Australia is right at the top of cost per kilowatt hour.”

While Stefan said he “burned a lot of paper looking into other companies”, he said ZEN’s experience, reputation, and use of quality products and installers made them the obvious choice as his and Jenny’s solar and energy storage provider.

“It was because of ZEN being who they are and what they’ve done”

“I know ZEN uses first-grade materials, and that’s very, very important because if you’re using low-grade materials, things aren’t going to last. And of course, ZEN wouldn’t give a warranty if they were using very low-grade gear.”

Jenny and Stefan also wanted to make sure they chose a company that had the demonstrated experience to install and connect their system professionally and safely, something Stefan believes isn’t always a certainty in a volatile industry.

“There’s been a lot of cowboys out there who don’t know how to hook in these inverters, and if you wire them in wrong, they’ll heat up and they will catch fire.”

Installing the Project

As part of the process ZEN goes through with every potential customer, Jenny and Stefan’s ZEN Energy consultant conducted a detailed review of their home energy needs to understand how and when they used electricity. By analysing recent electricity bills and talking directly to Stefan about the times of day they use energy, ZEN was able to identify the best products and sizes to match their specific energy needs and deliver Jenny and Stefan the best results.

From this analysis, ZEN recommended the installation of a 3.24kW ZEN Premium solar solution to sit alongside their existing 3kW system and to connect both systems into a 6kWh ZEN sonnen storage solution. Whilst ZEN’s original conservative estimates suggested that this system would make Stefan and Jenny’s home 65% grid independent and save them over $1600 a year in electricity bills, in the middle of an Adelaide winter Jenny and Stefan’s online monitoring was showing their home was an incredible 85% self-sufficient, meaning they only needed to buy 15% of their electricity needs from the grid.


Stefan and Jenny achieving 85% grid-independence with their ZEN sonnen battery


One of the biggest selling points for Stefan was the flexibility of his ZEN sonnen battery, which gives him a modular storage solution that can build up his storage capacity should he choose.

“The beautiful thing about sonnen is that I can add to the system, without throwing the whole battery box away and getting a new one in. I’m wrapped about that.”

“sonnen is so good with this idea of building up in increments because you can actually say well okay, I’ll go up by 2 kilowatts, then there’s 8, then I’ll wait 6 months and see how that goes and see where my figures are. You can’t really get much better than that.”

Stefan has been so happy with his ZEN Energy experience and the results that he’s been highly recommending ZEN to his friends.

“I said to them, don’t go with any backyarder or small business, they’ll charge a lot. It’s not that they probably won’t be able to do it, but you want someone to have plenty of experience when you’re installing something really big like that.”

Project Outcomes

Thanks to their ZEN Energy experience, Stefan and Jenny are now largely grid independent and saving money on their electricity bills every day. Their new ZEN solution is already working better than predicted, which also means they will achieve their financial targets sooner rather than later.

“I’ve calculated what I spent on this and by the look of it, I will get it back in less than 10 years and that’s what I’ve been waiting for before I got a battery.”

With their new ZEN solar and storage solution, they’re enjoying the freedom and peace of mind to keep using their appliances without having to worry about a blowout in their energy bills.

“That’s why I put a system in, because I want to keep using everything the way I’m using it.”

On a final note, Stefan had this to say,

“ZEN was excellent, they were very good to deal with. I’d recommend them to anyone.”

Looking for grid independence and lower energy bills like Jenny and Stefan?

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South Australia 5067