Batteries are a way for homeowners to store excess electricity produced from their solar system. They enable power produced during the day to be stored and used at another time – for example, in the evening, when demand may be higher. This means that homeowners can make the most of their solar power system: saving money, reducing carbon emissions, and supporting the national grid to deliver a stable supply of electricity around the country.
Why are batteries important?
Solar power is variable: although a solar system does not require direct sunlight, the amount of electricity it produces will depend on the time of day, and the weather. This means that sometimes a home solar system will produce more power than is being used at the time – for example, if no one is at home during the middle of the day.
Without a battery, the potential of this power may not be fully realised. With a battery, any excess power produced during the day can be stored. This electricity can then be used at another time, when demand is higher. Demand typically peaks in the evening, when people switch on appliances, cook, and plug electric vehicles and other devices into their chargers.
Batteries can therefore make financial and environmental sense for homeowners. With a rooftop solar system and a home battery, as much power produced onsite is used as possible. This reduces the amount which needs to be paid in bills, because less electricity is drawn from the grid. Because some of the power on the grid is generated by burning fossil fuels, batteries also help reduce carbon emissions, which cause climate change.
New electricity tariffs also mean that homeowners can sell power they have produced and stored in a battery back to the grid automatically. The price of electricity varies throughout the day, so this means that if they are not using it, homeowners can store power during the day – when electricity tends to be cheap – and sell it during the evening, when electricity is more expensive.
Batteries can also support the wider electricity system. The combined potential of millions of homes with batteries to help balance supply and demand across the country – releasing stored power onto the grid when it is needed – is an exciting hdevelopment in the energy industry. Solar Energy UK estimates that if the UK had 4.4 million smart solar Homes (with solar panels on the roof, a battery, and intellgent controls to manage the system) this could help eliminate the winter evening peak in electricity demand, and help ensure the stability of the electricity network.
Who can install a home battery?
Anyone with a home can potentially install a battery system. Use the Microgeneration Certification Scheme’s Find an installer tool to locate an installer in your area. They will be able to help you identify whether a home battery is suitable for your needs, and the best type of system for your house. Many solar companies now provide solar and battery systems as a package, so this is an option worth considering if you are thinking about installing a solar PV system.