ZBB Energy Corporation was formed in 1998 in Wisconsin as a holding company for ZBB Technologies, Limited and ZBB Technologies, Inc. ZBB Technologies, Limited, our Australian subsidiary, was formed in 1982 to develop commercial applications for the zinc-bromide research being conducted by Murdoch University in Western Australia. ZBB Technologies, Inc., our U.S. operating subsidiary, was established in 1994 in Wisconsin to acquire the zinc-bromide technology assets of Johnson Controls, Inc. which was engaged in research to manufacture energy storage systems based upon the zinc-bromide technology.
Up until 2004 we were primarily engaged in research and development and through that prior period had developed a number of prototype energy storage systems for field trialing and evaluation by certain power utilities and other commercial operators. Principal amongst these were large scale systems deployed with Detroit Edison in Michigan, USA and with United Energy in Melbourne, Australia.
In May 2004, we entered into a sales contract (contract completed March 31, 2008) to provide our 500kWh energy storage systems to our first commercial customer, the California Energy Commission (CEC). Under a contract extension the two systems now owned by CEC have recently had control system upgrades retrofitted and will be redeployed by the owner to additional sites within California on an as needed basis. ZBB continues to maintain this equipment under terms of the original agreement.
In March 2005, we formed ZBB China Pty Ltd., a joint venture company with China Century Group Ltd. of which we held 49%. In October 2008 we reached an agreement in which we now own 100% of this subsidiary.
In March 2005, we completed an initial public offering in Australia of our common stock and options to purchase common stock. Our securities were traded on the Australian Stock Exchange Ltd. through August 2007. We received gross proceeds of approximately US$4.5 million (A$6.0 million) in the Australian stock offering.
Effective as of June 15, 2007, we completed a 1-for-17 reverse split of our outstanding shares of common stock. On June 20, 2007, we completed the initial public offering in the United States through the sale of 3,333,333 shares of our common stock at an initial offering price of $6.00 per share, and listed our shares for trading on the NSYE (formerly the American Stock Exchange). Effective as of August 9, 2007, we de-listed our shares from the Australian Stock Exchange and all of our common stock became tradable in the United States. As of June 30 2009 we had approximately 10.6 million shares listed for trading on the NYSE Amex exchange.
In June 2007, ZBB Technologies, Ltd, our subsidiary based in Western Australia, and the Commonwealth of Australia entered into an agreement for project funding under the Advanced Electricity Storage Technologies (AEST) program, whereby, among other things, the Department has agreed to provide funding to ZBB Technologies Ltd. for the development and delivery of an energy storage system that will be used to store and supply renewable energy generated from photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbines already operational at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization’s Newcastle Energy Centre in New South Wales. The agreement requires ZBB to contribute approximately $2.3 million (A$2.8 million) of any cash and in-kind contributions to the project including a newly developed 500KwH energy storage system This agreement provides for a three year term under which the Commonwealth of Australia will provide $2.5 million (A$3.1 million) in project funding over several periods through June 2010.
During the year ended June 2009 we completed the necessary certification process to be awarded ISO 9001:08 compliance for our Milwaukee manufacturing facility. We also worked in conjunction with one of Eaton’s supply chain partners to ensure that our ZESS module control system that is fitted to all of our battery modules is certified by Underwriters Laboratory and bears the necessary UL508 certification stamp mark. These two items were key objectives to be achieved from our 2007 IPO.
ZBB Energy Corporation (“ZBB” or the “Company”) develops and manufactures distributed energy storage solutions based upon the Company’s proprietary zinc-bromine rechargeable electrical energy storage and power management technologies. The Company was incorporated under the laws of Wisconsin in 1998.
The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and those of its wholly owned subsidiaries, ZBB Technologies, Inc. which operates a manufacturing facility in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, and ZBB Technologies, Ltd. which has its advanced engineering and development facility in Perth, Australia. The Corporate website address is www.zbbenergy.com.
We design, develop, manufacture and distribute energy storage systems and solutions under the trade names ZESS 50, ZESS 500 and ZESS POWR. Our ZESS 50 and ZESS 500 energy storage systems are built using a proprietary process based upon our zinc-bromide rechargeable electrical energy storage technology while our patent pending ZESS POWR hybrid power conversion system is manufactured by our power electronics partners utilizing their standard proven components. The integrated modular nature of our zinc-bromide regenerative fuel cells is a philosophy that has carried through to the ZESS POWR product both in terms of electrical interfaces and packaging which allows our solutions to be sized and packaged into fully configurable energy storage systems of any size and integrated with or without any generating source. Our systems combine the ZESS 50 and/or ZESS 500 modules with the ZESS POWR, integrated computer hardware and software; and fully integration with customer control systems including remote monitoring and control options for the integration with the customer’s existing electrical power system or as a complete independent power plant. The complete ZBB portfolio provides the advanced energy storage aspects of recharging during off peak times from any renewable or conventional energy source and discharge power as needed to meet the customer load demand regardless of the connected generation source real time status. Our energy storage solutions address issues related to grid stability and renewable energy intermittency.
We currently have an aggregate of 35 full time employees, of which 28 are located at our U.S. manufacturing and corporate headquarters in Wisconsin, and seven employed at our Research and Development facility in Australia. Currently ZBB has a total of 22 professional staff and 13 non professional staff. We expect staffing numbers to significantly increase as our business grows and new production equipment is deployed in accordance with our business expansion plans.