BATTERY STORAGE SYSTEMS
Up until recently, grid-connected solar systems have been the only real feasible option for those wanting solar power. Battery systems have been available but they were really only affordable for those who were going to take their houses off the grid entirely (e.g. those living in remote, rural locations who would pay more to have power connected to their property).
However, with recent advances in technology, the ability of homes with solar panels to become even more independent from the commercial electricity grid is more realistic. It is now a very feasible option to have a hybrid system, one which is both grid-connected and has a battery storage system, to maximise your electricity savings.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING BATTERY STORAGE?
While a normal grid-connected solar system provides free energy for direct use during daylight hours, owners are still reliant on the commercial grid at night or on cloudy days. Having battery storage enables them to store unused power generated by their panels for use when they need it.
Often, when your system is generating power for you during the day, you may not be home to use it and it is being exported back in to the grid, earning you a credit on your power bill. However, generally the amount paid for electricity exported to the grid is a lot less than the price you pay to buy electricity. So effectively you sell power to the electricity retailer, only to have to buy it back from them in the evening at a higher rate.
With an on-grid battery storage system, your excess power can be directed to charge your batteries instead. This way, you can draw from these reserves during the evening, and may eliminate the need to purchase energy from the grid altogether!
So while the cost of a hybrid system over a normal grid connect system is significantly higher, you can expect to pay of your system in about the same period of time (roughly five years) with savings on your electricity bill. That means, to make a bigger investment now, you will be increase your saving in roughly five years time, and protecting yourself from rising electricity costs.
WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THIS NEW TESLA BATTERY THAT I HAVE HEARD ABOUT?
Tesla have created a stir in the industry by announcing a new product called the PowerWall, which they promoted as going to revolutionise the market. While a lot of the hype around the PowerWall comes down to clever marketing, it is great to see more focus on this technology, and the widespread interest in it confirms that this is the way of the future, which is very exciting.
One of Tesla's main marketing ploys was to set a very cheap price point, which helped them generate demand and excitement around their product. The interesting thing is, while they appear to be offering a much cheaper alternative, their product is relatively similar in features and price to other products which are already available on the market.
WHAT OTHER OPTIONS ARE THERE FOR HYBRID BATTERY STORAGE?
There are many different options available on the market now, and those wonderful market forces of supply and demand are helping to make battery storage much more affordable for consumers than in the past.
We like the battery storage products which are offered by LG & Selectronic. These reputable companies offer batteries which are ready on the market to go now, at affordable prices. If you are interested in getting a quote to install one of these products, please contact us for more.
CAN I ADD A BATTERY STORAGE SYSTEM TO MY EXISTING SOLAR PANEL ARRANGEMENT?
It is certainly possible! We recommend adding battery storage to those systems which are already over 4kW. Anything under this doesn't really generate enough extra electricity to be able to charge the batteries. It is possible to add more panels to a smaller system, but this may involve having to upgrade your inverter, and this will just be an additional cost.
If you do already have a large solar system, then it is only a matter of checking that your current inverter is compatible with the new battery storage systems, such as the PowerWall, and you will be able to go ahead!
If you want to find out more, or get a quote on battery storage, fill in our contact form here.