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What’s The Position on Battery Storage Solutions?

The longest day is here and hopefully we have had a good start to the summer. The weather is certainly in our favour for once however, over the past few months we have all had various impacts on our homes and businesses. BREXIT, General elections, rises in costs of living and energy price hikes all have contributed to our wallets being hit harder and harder. It is at this time that many people have turned their attention to how they can cut back on overheads and control their own costs. So, is this why battery storage is such an important topic at present and is it a viable solution and technology to be adopted at present?
 

Its an interesting question and one which many adopters of Solar PV technology are investigating further. In fact, many NEW adopters are looking to install PV Systems utilising this technology as a means to secure their energy usage and costs. I experienced this directly from a question from a dairy farmer whilst at a recent show, if I thought battery storage was worthwhile?
 

The short answer to this is yes. However, the reasons to do so are different for each individual and to generalise this as something all systems should adopt is unreasonable. Firstly, the costs in this area can be quite high at present although systems and battery costs are falling they will reach a plateau and the technology will improve in size of storage packs and their versatility. Tesla are one of if not the world’s most advanced developers of this battery technology and are a good indicator as to the current position of advancement. Their development of sub 10kW systems is well documented and they have made significant steps in the decrease in physical size of the battery required and the durability and lifespan.
 

Even so, the over-riding opinion has been that the technology is not quite there as far as commercial viability is concerned and the losses that are created in transfer vary greatly between manufacturers. In fact, approximately 8-20% is lost in transfer at present on most batteries so it’s equally important to understand exactly when this harvested energy will be used in order to become as efficient as possible.
 

Of late however there have been some significant moves in this area to create more viable solutions driven by the industrial sectors. Siemens, LG, Mercedes, Schneider, ABB and Eaton are all major investors and manufacturers of industrial technology and control systems. In the past few months each has made significant in-roads into the storage market in order to satisfy the growing demand from the industrial market to harvest and store their energy generation. Many European based industrial giants are under increasing demand to lower their costs and to become more self-sufficient in their processes and manufacturing. In the USA as well, in certain states, there have been fines imposed for over usage and a push to increase power factor. Many organisations have fallen foul of this and had huge pay-outs to make for breaches. Whilst we do not see this as yet here in the UK the drive to become more efficient from the major and blue chip organisations will benefit us all. 
 

Industrial organisations will not pay the rates which can be achieved in the commercial markets and as such will drive down the cost of these solutions by becoming more innovative in their own markets and sectors. As such the large storage market will continue to grow and costs will fall. These advances in technology and reduction in costs for these solutions will be passed through into the smaller markets and we will see the benefits of this in the not too distant future. 
 

Any potential adopter of battery technology though should first have a clear understanding of where their energy usage is consumed and at what times. Monitoring is an equally important aspect therefore in order to make a completely educated decision based on your own personal usage and should be conducted for a period of months to get accurate data.
 

I cannot stress how important an aspect this is within the process. Monitoring systems are a relatively inexpensive addition to a business and can throw up interesting data relating into a business’s processes and where efficiencies can be enhanced and usage reduced. Once completed and run in-line with Solar PV generation the user will have accurate data on how much additional energy is available to be stored for use when the sun is down. This is especially important for dairy where the light starts to fall and milking etc is being conducted outside of daylight hours. Harvesting and storing is especially important for this time.
 

To add to the opportunity for storage there are now hybrid inverters available immediately with built in storage to enable the user to access their generation. Many inverters from early adoption are now either out of warranty or are starting to experience issues and tripping faults. This is a common occurrence as they reach the end of their life span. As such they will need to be replaced which gives the domestic and smaller user the opportunity to upgrade to a battery ready solution.
 

Given the above points of course it is worthwhile for any adopter to investigate therefore the opportunity for battery storage initially through monitoring of your system to identify your needs.
 

Once completed and conducted over a period of months the user will have a clear picture of what surplus energy is available and the benefits of this into the business. Equally, as the industrial sectors develop the technology still further and an increase in competition we will see these solutions start to fall in price making the return on investment quicker. 
 

Given that we are all therefore under pressure to make every penny count battery storage is going to become the way forward and in order to benefit from this and the developments in the technology my advice is measure, adapt and implement. The market is moving quickly and advances mean that we will all be in a position to adopt and benefit.
 

To that end I will leave you with one final thought. Over a third of the world’s most innovative renewables companies are focused on solar PV and storage solutions.
 

It’s coming...


Pop over to Moleenergy for more information.

 

 

 

 

 



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Sven Royle from Moleenergy discusses whether battery storage is worthwhile.



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