Over the years, we’ve seen many technical advances in solar technology for domestic and commercial applications; including high wattage panels, optimisation for split arrays and online monitoring.
Now its time for battery storage to take centre stage.
With battery storage set to be the next growth market in the renewable energy sector, every manufacturer worth its salt wants to get in on the act. Companies from the automotive and tech sectors are battling it out gain market share.
Who will win remains to be seen, but what it does mean is that there is a lot of competition and lots of choices. Having worked with a number of manufacturers, we have a couple of favourites and like any product range there are a number of options and price brackets.
How Can Battery Storage Help You?
Using battery storage is a fantastic way to keep all the energy than you haven’t used, rather than letting it go to waste. Let us tell you how it works.
For many PV systems (typically 4kW), it’s possible and in all honesty quite likely that between 25%-85% of the generated electricity will be exported to the grid because it’s unused in the property. This means system owners are missing out on a large amount of wonderful, green, free energy because you’re either at work or out enjoying the sunshine yourself!
This kind of export is acknowledged when you first install your solar photovoltaic (PV) system and sign up for your Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) – your provider will also pay you a deemed export rate of 5.03p* per kWh for half of your generation, even if you end up using more than half.
(*Rates applicable between 1st April – 30th June 2017)
Unfortunately, you’ll pay a lot more than this to buy the energy back after daylight hours – the average electricity in the UK per kWh is 15.4p!
By installing a battery storage system (to a new or existing solar array), you can cut out the Big Six energy companies and store the energy you would otherwise lose out on. It can then be used later when your consumption is higher than your generation. As energy prices increase, battery storage will become even more cost effective.
Imagine being able to power your building using solar energy when it’s pouring down with rain. By using battery storage, this is now a possibility.
Which System Should I Install?
There are many different things to consider when choosing the right system for you.
The first thing to consider is whether you need a retrofit battery if you already have a PV system installed, or if you are interested in a new PV system with battery included (often called a hybrid system).
Now let’s take a look at your options.
Hybrid Inverter With Battery Storage
Hybrid inverters combine a standard grid tied solar inverter with a charge controller and battery pack. They are ideally suited to new solar installations and work by charging the DC coupled battery directly from PV array.
If you are considering a new Hybrid Battery installation, take a look at our handy guide that we published a few months ago.
Retrofit Battery Storage
What’s required for Retrofit Battery Storage?
Before we look at manufacturers and product options, let’s consider the options for retrofit storage.
AC DC – (No, Not The Band)
There are two types of retrofit battery storage system, AC coupled or DC coupled. AC coupled systems are installed after the inverter and take charge once the DC current from panels has been converted into AC current. The benefit of AC coupled retrofit installations is that they work with any PV system.
The negative side of AC coupled storage is that some studies have shown that there can be greater losses from the DC / AC conversion. Studies can be found to argue this is not the case too.
DC Coupled Storage is where the battery and other components are installed before the main PV inverters. This type of battery storage requires an additional inverter to be installed or the original inverter replacing.
The PV directly feeds into the battery pack via the inverter and charge controller. It offers excellent efficiency and can be a cost-effective way of storing surplus electricity.
Who We Work With
Rest assured that we can help you from your first enquiry through to installation, and can advise on what size battery will work best for your consumption/export. The Greener Group are Tesla Accredited Installers, so can ease you smoothly into a Powerwall installation if this is your manufacturer of choice.
Similarly, we have a great relationship with SolarEdge and have a vast portfolio of installations using the technology – couple this with their own immersion system and you’re onto a full scale, energy efficient system.
These aren’t the only manufacturers, and we work closely with the likes of GoodWe, BYD and LG, keeping up to date with their latest offerings to provide you with an extensive choice of options.
Get In Touch Today
For more information on adding storage to your new or existing solar array, give us a call today.