As the renewable energy sector continues to grow, the focus is shifting towards maximising the utilization of generated energy. One promising solution is energy storage through battery technology.
Here we explore the importance of battery storage in the context of renewable energy systems installed in UK homes.
The Importance of Battery Storage
Large-Scale Battery Storage
To ensure grid stability, large battery storage stations play a crucial role in storing electricity during peak generation times and releasing it when supply levels drop. The UK is witnessing an increase in energy storage capacity, with plans to build two 50 MW battery super-hubs in Oxford and Kent by the end of this year. These facilities will have the capacity to power nearly 40,000 homes, contributing to the stability of the grid and supporting the transition to a low-carbon future.
Energy Storage for Homes
Battery technologies from leading companies such as Tesla, Sonnen, LG, and BYD have generated significant interest in energy storage for residential and commercial properties. For homeowners considering the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, battery storage offers an attractive solution. It allows them to store excess electricity generated during daylight hours for later use, even when they are not present at home.
Factors to Consider for Home Energy Storage
When evaluating the feasibility of adding battery storage to a solar PV installation, several factors should be taken into account:
Battery Capacity and Cost
Determining the required battery capacity and evaluating the associated costs and return on investment is crucial. The size of the battery capacity should align with the household’s energy consumption patterns and the desired level of energy independence. Additionally, considering the warranty period of the battery, typically around 10 years, is essential to plan for potential replacements.
Maximizing Energy Generation
Forecasting the amount of energy that can be generated and utilized within the household or sold back to the grid is an important consideration. Understanding the potential for self-use and grid export allows homeowners to optimize the financial benefits of their energy storage system.
Aesthetics and Installation
The aesthetic appearance of the battery storage system might be a consideration for some homeowners. Depending on personal preferences, the battery can be installed in a visible or concealed location, such as a loft, garage, or cupboard. The costs vary depending on whether the battery is seen as a piece of furniture or a practical energy storage solution.
Battery storage systems require an inverter to convert the direct current (DC) generated by solar panels into household alternating current (AC) electricity. The cost, warranty period (typically around 12 years), and performance of the inverter should be factored into the overall calculations when assessing the feasibility of a home energy storage system.
The Cost Consideration
Cost has been a significant barrier for many homeowners when considering battery storage. However, the prices of domestic batteries have been steadily decreasing, making them more attractive than ever. As the technology continues to advance and economies of scale are realized, the cost of battery storage is expected to become even more affordable in the future.
Participating in the Energy Market
Battery technologies are empowering homeowners to participate in the energy market by selling stored electricity back to the grid when wholesale electricity prices are high[^3]. Programs such as the Octopus Agile and Bulb tariffs offer competitive rates for self-generators under the government’s Smart Export Guarantee[^3]. This additional income potential should be considered when evaluating the investment benefits of a home energy storage system.
Is an Energy Storage System Right for You?
Before making a decision, it is important to consult with a renewable energy equipment provider to determine the suitability of an energy storage system. Conducting a feasibility study is highly recommended to obtain accurate and independent answers to the following questions:
- Why should I consider an energy storage system in the first place?
- How much can I save on grid electricity purchases with a storage system?
- What is the environmental impact in terms of carbon reduction?
- How will the system accommodate my specific energy consumption patterns?
- What are the installation costs, replacement costs, and useful lifetime of the system?
- How long is the warranty period for the storage system and inverter?
- What maintenance and management requirements should I be aware of?
- Will I have access to electricity during a power outage?
Battery storage technology is poised to transform the way renewable energy is utilized in UK homes. With the increasing adoption of solar PV systems and the need for grid stability, energy storage solutions offer homeowners the ability to maximise the use of self-generated electricity and potentially generate income through participation in the energy market.
As the cost of battery storage continues to decrease, it presents an attractive opportunity for homeowners to enhance their energy independence and contribute to a greener future.