Batteries for domestic energy storage are becoming a reality, with SolaX Power leading the way in bringing them to every home
The use of batteries for domestic energy storage is not a new concept. There has been significant growth of this market in recent years – driven in large part by the diminution of government subsidies for solar photovoltaics (PV), and by a desire of early adopters of these technologies to further enhance their financial returns by storing surplus solar energy in batteries for later use – thus reducing their demand for grid supplied energy.
Despite this continued growth, which is likely to accelerate in coming years, there remain significant challenges and obstacles to the deployment of these technologies on a mass scale.
Domestic battery storage is currently offered as an effective add-on to solar PV systems, both as a ‘retro-fit’ option to existing installations or bundled as part of a new system. As a tool for storing surplus solar energy it has many potential benefits, but is also limited in its scalability given the unsuitability of solar for many domestic properties in terms of available roof space, orientation and other practical restrictions.
This has led the inverter industry to focus on the development of battery storage solutions that can be installed independently of solar PV, using grid supplied energy to charge batteries and enabling consumers to exploit the differential between peak and off-peak pricing. SolaX is at the forefront of that development – its current generation of hybrid inverters already capable of charging batteries from grid supplied energy. SolaX will further enhance charge from grid functionality with the launch of their AC coupled inverter/charger early in 2017.
The market shift presents many commercial opportunities, and while the inverter industry has been quick to develop technologies suited to this application, there remain obstacles to the mass deployment of this technology.
Current market conditions are such that the deployment of batteries to domestic properties is largely dependent on the widening price differential between peak and off-peak pricing. While it is widely accepted that this differential will widen notably in coming years, the likelihood in the short term is that these rate changes will not be substantial enough to encourage the kind of rapid uptake needed to achieve the necessary critical mass to tackle the UK’s peak demand issues.
The government are therefore exploring opportunities and regulatory models that allow for the widespread deployment of this technology, allowing aggregators to trade the reduction in demand against spot pricing – and SolaX currently sit on a parliamentary working group looking at how this might be achieved.
Storage, including battery storage on a domestic level, will play a huge part in establishing the UK’s future energy mix – a logical and cost effective way of addressing grid-smoothing issues without investing heavily in more production.
This may take a few years to become a reality, but in the meantime, the domestic battery storage market both with and without solar PV will continue to grow, and SolaX will be at the heart of that growth.
Global Product Manager
Please note: this is a commercial profile