What is solar photovoltaic (PV)
Solar PV uses the energy generated by the sun by collecting it using modules (panels) and converting it into electricity. Direct sunlight is not needed to produce electricity, only daylight, it still works in winter.
How does solar PV work?
Solar modules collect daylight and convert it into direct current (DC), this is fed along a cable to a box called an inverter which converts the DC into alternating current (AC). AC is used by the appliances and lights in your premises. The AC flows from the inverter into your electrical installation for use by your appliances. Any surplus flows out of your home onto the national grid
With the ever-increasing cost of electric, if you have solar panels, have you also considered having a solar battery storage?
What is a solar battery storage system?
Solar battery storage is a type of energy storage technology that homeowners can use in conjunction with their solar panels and/or off-peak electricity to store electricity gathered during the daytime. This energy can then be used when needed, for example, at night when the sun isn’t shining.
These batteries are often made of lead-acid or lithium-ion. They have the ability to store the electricity generated by your solar panels while you are away from home during the day.
Lithium-ion batteries are the most efficient batteries available on the market, delivering fast-charging and large capacity.
Why combine solar panels with battery storage?
If you have your own solar panels, your energy bills will be reduced due to your energy self-consumption.
This is because it’s cheaper to use the electricity your solar PV has generated directly at your home, rather than purchasing it through an energy company.
If you have a solar PV system and are not at home during the day to use the energy produced by the panels, then a battery will help you use that energy later on, cutting your electricity bills.
If you install solar panels at the same time as a battery storage system there is no VAT to pay. However, should you wish to add a battery storage system to existing solar PV then VAT is payable.
What is self-consumption?
Self-consumption is intrinsically tied to the concept and functionality of solar panels. One of the main aims of solar panels is to help homeowners become self-sufficient in electricity production.
When the sun is shining during the daytime, you can meet your consumption needs by using your household appliances. Without a battery storage system, when night time comes, and your solar panels have clocked off for the day, you will return to being dependent on energy suppliers for all of your needs.
Batteries help to solve this issue by storing excess energy for use when your panels cannot generate any green energy.
You optimise the usage of your self-generated green electricity
Solar panels are environmentally friendly as they generate 100% renewable energy; however, this energy source is completely reliant on what time of the day it is.
Solar battery storage solves this by holding the additional energy generated – allowing you to use less of the UK national grid’s power supply…reducing your carbon footprint even further.
In fact, a recent study has found that battery storage increases self-consumption above 50% and could be the cornerstone for unsubsidised residential PV systems moving forward thanks to their efficiency.
Whilst a standard solar PV system will help you cut down energy consumption during the day; it is during the evening when solar battery storage can discharge the stored electricity, providing you with renewable-generated electricity at no additional cost.
According to E.ON, in central England, a 9.6 kWh solar battery storage system (with 12 x 315W panels) might allow you to utilise up to 30% more of the energy generated by your solar panels and save up to £560 on your annual energy bills. Prices as of 2022.
This helps you make further cuts to your energy bill.
You can retrofit existing solar PV systems with a battery storage system
It’s not a problem if you already have solar panels at home; you can easily add a solar battery to an existing solar PV system.
The solar battery must be either AC-coupled or DC-coupled when installed, depending on the type of inverter used by your solar panels.
The solar battery must be AC-coupled if your PV system includes a microinverter. This is the less expensive of the two solutions (because you won’t have to replace the inverter), and the installation is simple.
How much does the “average” home battery cost?
In the UK, there are now almost 10,000 homes with solar batteries.
The cost of a solar battery generally ranges between £1,200 and £6,000, depending on the battery’s quality, capacity, and lifespan.
Of course, the larger your solar battery, the more electricity you’ll be able to store, and the more money you’ll be able to save.
Pure Drive are designed and manufactured in the UK and come with a manufacturing guarantee of 10 years, while other competitors only come with five. Useable energy is recorded in “C” number, the high the number the better it is. Your battery will never gain a 100 percent charge, but you won’t drain the battery either. Most are records between C0.4-0.5. Some are C1.
Storage systems can be space demanding
Some high-capacity solar batteries are about the size of a small kitchen fridge, so be ready to give over some room for one of these things – especially if the model can only be located indoors.