The Future of Solar Panels and Energy Storage

Maybe generating your own electricity from solar panels to heat your home on a cold winter night isn’t part of your current plans. However, more and more homeowners choose to link their solar panels to a home battery to store electricity for later use. Home batteries manufactured by Tesla and Nissan are sleek enough to look good, but they are still very expensive. “At the same time, the solar panels and energy storage solutions from Ikea promise on average 70% savings on the electricity bill of an average household,” says a residential construction company, Woodhams Group.

Eon, EDF Energy, as well as other energy companies sell solar panels bundled with home batteries. We’ve researched the offer of these brands, as well as the way home batteries work, and what you should take into consideration before buying one.

What You Should Know About Electricity Storage Batteries

A home battery is an energy storage system that allows you to capture the energy and save it for later. This could be the energy generated by solar panels or wind turbines, but also energy from the grid captured when prices are lower if this applies to your contract. Powerwall from Tesla is one of the best examples of this innovative technology. The company offers an app that links to their home battery, enabling you to see how much energy you’ve stored and other useful information. The price of this system is £5,900. According to Tesla, the unit is maintenance free and it makes almost no noise. Car manufacturer Nissan offers xStorage, a home energy storage system that’s based on the batteries of electric cars. Nissan claims this system is the least expensive and the most reliable available today. Its price starts from £4,850, but it has a smaller capacity than Tesla’s unit. Boasting a 130-year battery making tradition, Varta is also one of the pioneers of the home energy storage industry. Their home batteries are about the size of a washing machine. Varta claims this gives homeowners ‘energy autonomy‘.

Should I buy solar panels and energy storage for my home?

If you already use alternative solutions to generate your own energy, or you plan to do so, you should definitely consider this modern technology. A battery linked to your solar panels system can help you maximise your energy usage. This is a great way to lower your energy bills by using less power from the grid. If you’re already off-grid, this solution will help you reduce fossil-fuel usage. Nonetheless, you need to be aware that you’d have to pay at least £2,000 for your home energy storage. With some of these solutions costing over £5,000, you need to make sure your investment is going to pay off within a reasonable amount of time. Before considering it, make sure your home is properly insulated. Here are a few factors that will influence your ability to save money by installing a home energy storage solution:

  • The total installation cost
  • The type of system (AC or DC, battery type, connection method)
  • Your usage pattern
  • The electricity price and its evolution over the lifespan of your battery
  • The lifespan of the battery

Batteries are expensive, so you can expect your investment to take a very long time until it pays off. However, if battery prices drop, just as it happened to the price of solar panels, you’ll experience much shorter payback times. This will make home batteries more attractive to a wide range of homeowners seeking to cut their monthly bills and to depend less on the grid for supplying their households with electricity. If your intention is to install a home battery alongside renewable energy generation, you’ll have to calculate how much of the energy produces in excess you could actually store. If, for instance, you use almost all energy you produce, there’s no point in investing in a storage solution, as you’d have very little electricity to store.