"PV with battery storage is the first game-changer of the 21st-century.
Electric vehicles come a close second."
Self-generation with battery storage?
Self-generation cuts out the unnecessary and costly middle step,
allowing homeowners to cut their bills by generating and using their
valuable solar power on their property.
You will still be entitled to your feed-in tariff revenues even
though you have used the power yourself.
You don't have to pay to import increasingly expensive electricity
later for heating your tank.
The more of your hot water needs are powered by free-generated
electricity, the higher the savings as a proportion of your system's
Energy generated and consumed on site has always been the cleanest
form of energy - now it's the cheapest too.
The latest self-storage battery technology can enable you to adopt the following
self-consumption habits, which will both allow homeowners to maximise
the financial benefits of their solar PV panels and achieve the
environmentally desirable state of self-sufficiency.
How to monitor your battery?
Keeping track of the amount of energy produced at your property will
put you in the best position to gain the more out of green power.
Installing an energy monitor such as the SolarEdge enables you to track energy generation over the course of a day, a week or a year. Using this information, you can then decide when your PV panels are producing enough energy to charge your car, use your washing machine or allow to charge your battery storage.
What to do with surplus power.
There's nothing more satisfying than powering your home using energy generated
by the solar PV panels on your roof, but what if you're out all day at work?
It's still possible with the latest Tesla
Powerwall, and SMA sunny boy storage means
that you can store this surplus energy and use it
to heat your evening bath or power your television.
Additionally, power controllers like the PV to hot water converters, divert surplus power into an immersion water heater element to keep your water temperature to a preset minimum. When you return home in the evening, the hot water from your taps will have been heated by your owner solar panels, making your bath that much more relaxing!
What's more, by using battery storage at your property to complete tasks later in the day, you'll be reducing your reliance on power from the National Grid in the evenings and therefore preventing future proofing your home for the next three decades.
Exciting times are ahead!
Questions about PV and battery storage
Is the battery system easy to install?
Batteries can be installed indoors or outdoors with minimum fuss. DIY installations are not possible because legally installers require a Part P electrical qualification.
What savings can I expect by installing?
Savings depend on the size of your Photovoltaic system and the amount
of electricity you use in your household, but a four-person family with
a 4KW PV panel system can expect to save substantially. Use our get 'get
a quote' service to receive individualised performance data for your
Will battery storage affect my feed-in tariff payments?
Yes, because currently the export payments, pay for 50% of all your units exported. This set-up means you can use all your units for battery storage, but still receive all the export payments as per usual.
How does the battery store electricity?
Lithium ions interspersed throughout this layer, and when the battery's charged, an electrical current drives the lithium ions out of the cathode, into a fluid filled with electrically conducting ions, and into another layer, called the anode, which is made up of stacks of graphite.
How many hours does battery storage work?
Several, but this depends on how many appliances used at any time. A 10 kWh sized system will give you ten kilowatts over the period of an hour, a hair dryer takes about 1 kW to run, while a washing machine uses several kW to run so that new system could power an average household for several hours in the evening.
How long do the batteries last?
Typically 3000-4000 recharging cycles from full drain to full charge. The system is designed to switch between devices on demand and seamlessly automatically.
Can I still use my Economy Seven?
Yes, making the installation teams aware that you have Economy Seven will allow them to structure the install to draw from the grid rather than the battery.
What about a warranty?
All installations come with manufacturer and installation warranty.
PV solar panels and battery storage in the UK
The wrong people always teach us the right lessons in life, and that is especially true when it comes to those who are currently selling the new battery storage and PV solar panels.
This week, the first Tesla Powerwall battery storage system was installed into the lives of a Welsh family.
Unfortunately, in the same week, we've learned that other solar companies offer and are overcharging for battery storage systems against wildly exaggerated claims.
These types of sales-based companies are identified by minimum technical knowledge and using high-pressure sales tactics. These cold-calling types are only a minority, but who are spoiling for the majority of decent installers in the solar industry.
The reality of battery storage systems working alongside PV solar panels is that they are a definite new direction for the solar industry, but realistically not for everyone.
Many ethically-minded installers are divided at this early stage as to its benefits, especially as there are so many variables. The 'one-size fits all' approach is no longer sensible when selling photovoltaic with battery storage. I suggest that's it depends on the final installed cost as to the viability for most people.
Here's what to look out for:
One trusted installer I know has just been to see a couple that was quoted 11,500 for a 3 kW system with battery storage and voltage optimiser by a national company.
The sales rep told them they would be off-grid for most of the year and their total savings would be over 1,000 per year, despite the fact they're existing bill, is only 650.
This claims can be many thousands of pounds overpriced, and claims made are just wrong. Similar situations will be happening each day throughout the country as these types of companies adapt to recent feed-in tariff changes.
The single most common aspect of getting a good quality solar panel system installed by an ethical installer at a reasonable price, so that you can genuinely benefit financially is research, research, research.
The simple truth is that hard-sell companies thrive off ignorance!
"Our solar panels are better than their solar panels" and "sign up today for a special discount" is a clear signal to turn your back and find a better installer.
Discounts and special offers are designed to whip you up into a frenzy of excitement, so you sign-up that day. If you don't and research first, then they know they have lost you.
The fact the feed-in tariff incentive scheme attracted sharks into the industry has not done the industry any favours. However, solar panels are genuinely a beneficial technology and great at what they do; it's just a shame that the con men are still out there today.
Ultimately, solar panels are a great way of reducing our dependence on an ailing and increasingly costly energy network. You can benefit financially long-term, but only if you get a simple system at the right price.
The truth of battery storage - facts and figures
A big thank you to Andy at Lincolnshire Solar for this breakdown of the reality of battery storage systems running alongside PV solar panels.
A Typical house using the national average of 3800 kWh per year and solar PV system generating 3500 kWh per year.
Price of electricity per kWh is 0.12 pence.
The Energy Saving Trust quotes an average saving of 125.00 per year for a typical home; they also quote 0.145 pence per kWh.
125.00 divided by 0.145 = 862 kWh used in the home from the generated solar PV system or a saving of 23% of the 3,800 kWh.
So what else can you save by installing a battery storage?
Look at it this way, if you use 3,800 kWh per year, you use on average 10.41 kWh per day, so it's only possible to save 10.41 kWh per day.
From data downloaded from my customers SMA inverters, I have come to the following conclusions.
Real PV facts, real figures
3 KW solar PV generating on south facing roof 3000 kWh per year.
The unit price of electric per kW, 0.13 pence.
Ordinary PV savings without Battery storage according to the Energy saving trust (EST) is 125.00.
The EST quote 0.145 price per kW so 125 divided by 0.145 is 862 kWh per year.
Battery Storage savings over 300 days @ 5KW (size of battery bank) 1500
kWh @ 0.13p =195.00.
Feed-in tariff payment if available 3000 kWh @ 4.3 p =129.00.
Export payments 3000/2 x 4.86p =72.90.
The total savings for year 1 = 125.00 +195.00 + 129.00 + 72.90 =521.00 GBP.
Battery lifespan is ten years or 3,000 cycles.
Important technical details to check
Solar PV systems with battery storage may not be eligible for the FIT's payments if installed before the generation meter.
One benefit of the Solax inverter charger is in the event of a power cut the inverter can power the home up to a maximum load of 2kW, a manual changeover switch is required to isolate the incoming supply, and an external earth rod is necessary to earth the property.
It is important to point out that PV solar panels installed in different locations will give different output figures. However, as these numbers produced in Lincolnshire and this is a central location within the UK, I would use them as an average with more significant figures occurring the more southerly your location and lesser data when your situation is more northerly.
There are brilliant battery storage systems on the UK market that are tried and tested around the world. PV solar panels working alongside battery storage devices and even EV charging are an option to consider in addition to the current incentives for solar panels. A good solar installer will be able to advise you on both types of system.
Yes, there are sharks in our industry as with any other, but clear facts will always trump 'bullshit' sales when the time is taken to research your options correctly. Remember sharks feed off ignorance!
PV solar panels and battery storage systems are on the rise, and it will
remain a viable option for many when bought at the right price from a trusted
Being a solar pioneer isn't easy, but nothing worth doing ever is!
In a nutshell.
Reducing reliance; promoting independence.
Reducing reliance; promoting independence.
Helping people recognise the futility of Switch N' Save.
Recognising PV solar panels and EV's work brilliantly together.
Our enthusiasm grows for photovoltaics alongside global demand.
We make installing photovoltaics as comfortable as possible.