Stockport based renewable energy specialists, KAST, explain how new battery technology is being used in the home alongside domestic electricity generation systems.
In 2019, renewable sources created 33% of the UK’s electricity. That figure is ever increasing as new solar and wind farms come online. On top of large-scale production, an estimated 700,000 homes have solar PV panels and energy storage could be the next big step for renewables in the home.
Why is battery storage of electricity important?
Large battery storage stations allow for the storage of electricity during peak generation times and its release when supply levels drop.
Energy storage capacity is increasing in the UK, with the announcement of a major new deal to deliver two 50 MW battery super-hubs in Oxford and Kent by the end of this year. These facilities will deliver enough energy to power nearly 40,000 homes.
As we shift towards a low carbon future, the demands on electricity will increase, partly driven by growing numbers of electric vehicles on the roads; this is why large storage facilities are so important for the future stability of the grid.
But it is not just about the national scale.
Energy Storage for the home
Battery technologies from the likes of Tesla, Sonnen & LG, and BYD has led to considerable interest in the potential for energy storage in homes and businesses.
For those considering installing a new solar PV installation, battery storage must be a serious consideration. It enables people to store the electricity they produce but cannot use it in the home (often because people are out when solar generation takes place during daylight hours).
Storage comes in different shapes and sizes so a proper feasibility should be undertaken – considerations being:
- The size of battery capacity required and the scale of costs and return on investment.
- How long is the warranty on the battery? at best currently 10 years, so the need for replacement should be considered in any feasibility.
- Maximising the amount of energy generated should be forecasted on self-use or for sale to the grid.
- Is the aesthetic appearance important or will the battery be hidden away, installed in a loft, garage, or cupboard? Costs vary on products that are seen as ‘furniture’ or ‘practical’.
- Battery storage requires an inverter, this converts the solar-generated Direct Current (DC) to household AC. Just as with the battery, the same principles apply on cost, warranty (typically around 12 years), and performance which should be included in the calculations.
Certainly, cost is still an issue for many people. But with the prices of domestic batteries still falling, they look more attractive now than ever.
Battery technologies are also allowing homeowners to participate in the energy market by selling stored electricity back to the grid at the time of day when wholesale electricity prices are highest. The Octopus Agile, and Bulb tariffs are purchasing from self-generators at increasingly competitive rates under the governments Smart Export Guarantee. Again, the income should be included in investment forecasts.
Is an energy storage system right for you?
It is important to talk to your renewable energy equipment provider to make sure you get an energy storage system that is right for you. KAST always suggests that a feasibility study is undertaken so you receive ethical, accurate, and independent answers to the following.
- Why would you recommend I have an energy storage system in the first place?
- How much will the system save in terms of purchasing grid electricity?
- How much carbon will I save?
- How have you considered my particular patterns of energy use in the house?
- How much will it cost to install and what are the replacement costs and useful lifetime?
- How long is the warranty cover?
- What do I need to know about managing the system and maintaining it?
- Will I still be able to have electricity in the event of a power cut?