John Gilham, group technical director at Green Building Renewables, has compiled a beginner’s guide to solar power and battery storage:
*How do solar batteries work? Solar batteries are designed to capture excess solar power typically exported to the grid, storing it for later use and saving you money buying electricity when the sun isn’t shining. They can be easily added to an existing solar panel system with minimal disruption.
Solar batteries convert DC energy produced by solar panels and store it as AC power for later use. When you install a solar battery as part of a solar panel system, you can store the excess electricity generated by them in your home instead of having to send it back to the grid.
During the day, the solar panel system generates solar electricity. The battery storage system will check if the entire generation is used to power your lights and appliances.
If you do not use all the electricity, the excess energy is used to charge the battery and once the battery is fully charged, if there is still more solar electricity generated, it will be exported to the grid .
In the evening or during periods of low solar production, the solar panels have a reduced production. If your demand exceeds the electricity generated by your solar panels, it can be diverted from your battery. This ensures that you fully utilize the solar energy you have captured.
*What are the benefits of solar battery storage? Solar battery storage has several key benefits. You save more money on your energy bills by using stored solar power in the evening or when the sun is not shining and you won’t need to draw as much power from your supplier, which will make you save even more money on your bills. You are also less dependent on the national grid as the solar battery storage means you can still power your home or business during a power outage. You will also be less affected by price increases than by using your self-generated solar power; you will get less from your supplier. Yes
*What is the lifespan of a solar battery? Solar batteries have an approximate lifespan of 10 to 15 years, depending on the manufacturer. Once they need to be replaced, a new one can easily be replaced with a solar panel system with minimal hassle.
*Can solar batteries be used to power other devices like cars? Yes, the energy stored in a battery can supply electricity to a whole range of devices, including electric vehicles.
What size solar battery system can I install on my home? It depends on the size of the solar PV system and the number of solar panels you install; however, with a battery like the Tesla Powerwall, which is a 13.5kWh AC-coupled system, you can stack up to six. The Fox ESS battery is a 2.6 kWh battery and you can install up to seven batteries on a home property, which means you can have up to 18.2 kWh of storage in your home.
*What is Smart Export Guarantee? On very sunny days, a solar panel system can generate excess power that exceeds your battery storage. When this happens, the system owner can sell the extra energy back to the grid under the Smart Export Guarantee. You must sign up for a company’s SEG rate.
Battery storage systems cost an average of £2,000. Visit York-based www.greenbuildingrenewables.co.uk for details