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Is home energy storage appropriate for me?

Views: 234     Author: Ubest     Publish Time: 2023-10-25      Origin: Site


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Is home energy storage appropriate for me?

For many years, many people considered energy storage to be a novelty or the domain of those who lived off-grid. Now, technological advancements and the growth of domestic renewable energy indicate that this is a promising area. The concept of the ' smart home' works well with energy storage. Many smart storage systems allow you to track your energy consumption online and charge the batteries with low-cost grid electricity if you have a tariff that is cheaper at certain times of day.

Energy storage is beginning to play a role in smart energy management at the grid level. In the future, people may use their energy storage devices, such as hot water cylinders, to store excess electricity in exchange for preferential rates. All of this is fascinating, but is now the time to invest in energy storage, and what should you think about?

To store or not to store

If you have a renewable energy generation system in your home, such as solar PV, you will inevitably generate more electricity than you require during periods of high supply and low demand, with any excess exported back into the grid. Click here for 51.2V 100AH Rack-mounted Home Energy Storage System.

Many people are currently compensated for this through a feed-in tariff system. Most people are paid based on how much electricity they generate and use at home, rather than how much they export. This practice is known as deeming, and it is set at 50% of the total generation for most people. So, if you can save some of that surplus electricity and use it when you need it, you will still be paid the same for your export while spending less on electricity bills for your import.

This, however, is about to change. With the introduction of smart meters and the new Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), which requires large energy companies to pay people for their exports beginning next year, payments will be calculated using smart meter readings. This could affect everyone who has PV, especially those who have installed batteries or diverters linked to a hot water cylinder. A point to consider if you're considering storage in this context.

Finally, any customers installing a battery system to an existing PV system must ensure that any changes to the overall system do not interfere with any existing Feed-in Tariff payments.

A popular topic

Another renewable option is to store energy as heat, which makes sense given that heating and hot water consume the majority of energy in homes. The most cost-effective way to store energy as heat is to connect a renewable system to your hot water cylinder.

Cost considerations

Batteries, unfortunately, are not cheap, nor are more complex options for connecting and controlling inputs to thermal stores. Prices are expected to fall significantly over the next few years, so if you want to get into storage now rather than wait for prices to fall further, you'll need the following factors to align.

How much energy you use, when you use it, and how much energy your renewable system can generate all play a role in whether or not the numbers add up.

Here are some estimated costs for a system that includes solar PV, battery, and inverter:

A 4 kWh battery costs £5,000 and has a lifespan of about 9 years (though the cost and lifespan of the battery will vary depending on size).

Solar PV inverter = £800, lifespan of around 12 years Size 4 kWp = £6,200

The total initial installation cost (battery, inverter, and PV) is £12,000.

But things aren't quite that simple. A new PV system has a 25-year life expectancy, which means you may need to install more than one battery and inverter during that time. With this in mind, it's safer to estimate that the cost of batteries (we're estimating three) and inverters (two) will be around £22,800.

Is it worthwhile to store solar energy?

It is unlikely to make financial or practical sense if you already have a small solar PV system with little excess to put into a battery or other storage options. Newly constructed homes that incorporate small PV systems into their designs are also unlikely to benefit. On the other hand, if you install a large number of panels on your roof and no one is using the electricity generated during the day, it might be worth considering your storage options.

Ian Cuthbert, program manager for the Energy Saving Trust's Sustainable Energy Supply Chain, stated:“Having a large solar PV system installed around 2010 when the Feed-in Tariff was highest may make storage more financially viable, whereas for others it may mean dipping into savings. Given your specific circumstances, it's always important to weigh the costs and benefits. However, if you're making a lot of money from the Feed-in Tariff, it might make sense to put some of that money toward greater self-sufficiency.”

It is worth noting that the decision to install energy storage is not always purely financial. People who want to contribute to local and global sustainability are drawn to the idea of becoming less reliant on grid electricity suppliers while also lowering their carbon footprint.

Options for energy storage

The most common types of energy storage options for both heat and electricity are as follows.

1. Electricity:

Lead acid - is traditionally used for large storage systems, such as off-grid properties; lithium ions - are more expensive, but smaller, lighter, and with a longer life, making them ideal for modern grid-linked systems.

2. Heat:

Thermal stores, such as hot water cylinders, are found in millions of homes, but the cost of connecting them to renewable sources can range from a few hundred pounds to over a thousand pounds, depending on how many inputs you need and how they will be controlled.

Heat batteries are more expensive than standard hot water cylinders, but they take up less space and can be charged from heat sources, electricity, or the grid.

Important considerations

There is a common misconception that all battery systems will provide backup power in the event of a power outage. Some systems can be installed to provide some basic power for essential items for some time, but not all do, and none will provide you with a full domestic supply for the duration of any power outage. Speak with your installer about the backup power provided by their proposed system, if any. If your primary goal is to reduce the amount of grid electricity used by your home, you may believe that the additional cost of a grid backup system is not worth it.

Although electricity batteries are not overly complex, the circuitry and controls can be quite sophisticated. They can be sensitive, and the timing and degree of charging must be optimized from the start to ensure the battery's longevity. It could quickly deteriorate if this care is not taken. This is not true for heat batteries and thermal stores. As a result, you may end up charging the battery from the mains during a period when there isn't much sun, though if the system is well designed, this should not happen very often. Furthermore, some battery systems have a 'winter mode' that prevents this.

Converging technologies are the future

We're already seeing solar PV and storage sold together. However, in the coming years, there is likely to be even more convergence and connectivity of energy-generating and consuming technologies with batteries.

A common sight in the future is the use of electric vehicle batteries as storage, allowing a householder to balance their household electricity use and transportation needs. In a two-way energy movement, the car you drive around town is also your domestic storage system. Car manufacturers have certainly taken note of the opportunities in this area, with some even entering the solar PV market.

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