Get the most from your solar panels with battery storage

An Introduction To Solar Battery Storage

Solar panels have become a common site in the UK over the last decade or more. Government schemes and decreasing solar panel costs have led to increasing adoption by homeowners and businesses looking to investment income or to save energy and costs.

Solar panels have better potential to generate energy in the UK than most people would probably think and returns and savings from solar PV are also supplemented by the government’s Feed in Tariff scheme. Even so, we are still not the sunniest climate in the world and battery storage is one obvious place to look to increase the benefits from your solar panel system.

What Is Solar Battery Storage?

Solar batteries are units that silently charge up during sunny spells, and when the solar panels stop generating electricity, the batteries can discharge energy. Solar battery storage allows you to continue to use the energy that was generated and saved during the sunny period to power your appliances.

Solar battery storage can help to take up the excess power created by panels so that this energy doesn’t go to waste; the battery can then supply your home with power at night or during cloudy days. For an average building using solar energy, it is unlikely that it will use all of the energy created by solar panels throughout the day. For this instance, battery storage is a way to harness the excess power and use it later to reduce the reliance on retail electricity.

Solar battery storage units are roughly the size of a dishwasher and can be fitted retrospectively of installing solar panels. The battery storage units need their own rechargeable batteries in order to work, and when functioning monitors the power levels, this helps to discharge electricity to power appliances.

What Are The Benefits Of Solar Battery Storage?

There are many benefits of solar battery storage, and as the market is growing rapidly, many believe that solar batteries are the answer to increasing the number of solar powered homes. Some of the advantages of solar battery storage include;

1. Reliance on fossil fuels

Using green energy solutions, such as solar power, helps to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are considered very damaging to the environment and lessening the need for these methods contributes to lowering your carbon footprint. By using solar battery storage, you are reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases being released into the atmosphere.

2. Use power when you want it

Solar battery storage allows you to keep excess solar powered energy created so that you can use it at your convenience. As buildings are unlikely to use all of the solar energy generated during the day, having storage allows people to harness the excess energy and help to power devices at night or when the sun isn’t prominent.

3. Reduce your bills

Traditional energy methods are becoming increasingly expensive, and prices seem to soar every year. To combat this, solar panels and solar battery storage give you clean energy without the need for using power from the main energy grid and your energy supplier. Batteries are estimated to reduce your energy bill by 35%, while some manufacturers believe it could be up to 60% (coupled with efficient solar panels). While you may need an element of traditional energy methods, depending on your home and power usage, you will notice a significant drop in your energy bills.

4. Increased resiliency

Having solar battery storage helps you to have a reserve of energy. If power cuts are a regular occurrence in your area, with solar power, you will still be able to power your building. With solar battery storage, you will be more resilient to the effects of unforeseeable events, such as a power cut.

How Much Does Solar Battery Storage Cost?

When fitting solar panels, installers will often take you through the battery storage options, which may mean it is included altogether in the price. Units can cost between £2000 and £4000. The initial outlay is quite costly, and it’s important to take into consideration the return on investment of these products.

Batteries are expected to cut your energy bills by 35%, while some manufacturers, such as Powervault believe you can save 50% on energy bills by using solar power and 60% if using a battery system. However, the cost of the units could cancel out the savings as units are expected to last 15 years, and the internal rechargeable batteries need to be replaced every five years at a current cost of around £500.

It is worth bearing in mind that the cost of batteries has fallen around 40% in the last year and that it is likely that the rechargeable batteries inside the storage units are likely to drop in price too. As the market for solar battery storage is growing, manufacturers are continuing to innovate their solutions and address some of the current issues, predominantly cost being a major factor.

Currently, there are three main solar battery storage units on the market: Powerwall, Powervault and SonnenBatterie. Over the next few years, we are likely to see their innovation progress as well as new, cheaper contenders being introduced to the market.

What Are The Considerations For Solar Battery Storage?

While this technology is a huge benefit for owners of solar panels, the cost can seem an inhibiting factor and should be an investment that is considered carefully. It is important to understand that while the industry is growing, the challenges of purchasing solar battery storage will be addressed to make it easier to use and a worthwhile investment.

If you are looking to include solar battery storage to your building, it is wise to seek professional help for the installation. Another consideration is that solar battery storage come in two forms; AC coupled and DC coupled. For retrospective fitting, AC coupled is generally easier, but a professional opinion may be worthwhile before investing.

The most dangerous aspect of choosing solar battery storage is to ensure it has the correct voltage capabilities, the wrong sized battery can cause a potentially harmful situation and must be thoroughly researched.

However, for reducing your reliance on fossil fuels, solar battery storage can truly help your home or office to harness the full potential of solar energy and get the maximum use out of the energy your building has created.