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The vanadium redox flow battery (VRB) is well-suited for applications with renewable energy devices. This paper presents a practical analysis of the VRB for use in a microgrid system. The first part of the paper develops a reduced order circuit model of the VRB and analyzes its experimental performance efficiency during deployment. The model parameters of the various VRB system components were estimated from experimental field data. The parasitic losses of the circulation pumps power consumption were predicted during different operating situations. The second part of the paper addresses the implementation issues of the VRB application in a photovoltaic-based microgrid system. Commercially available chargers designed for lead-acid battery systems were shown to be non-optimal for VRB systems and a new dc-dc converter control was proposed to provide improved charging performance. The system model was validated with field-obtained experimental data.