ePrivacy and GPDR Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent Solar Panel Battery Storage: A Buyer’s Guide

The Buyer’s Guide to Solar Panel Battery Storage

The costs and advantages of solar panel batteries will be broken down in this article.

In recent years, solar panels with battery storage have become more widespread for domestic use in the UK. Since batteries for solar panels are still recent, many prospective consumers still have a lot of questions when it comes to making a purchase.

This article will explain what solar batteries are, and how they can be beneficial in saving money for each household. For those worried about the upfront costs of these batteries, the article also explains how some of these costs can be reduced thanks to grants.

What is solar panel battery storage?

When installing solar panels for domestic use, households are given the option to also install solar panel batteries that enable the storage of solar energy.

Solar panel batteries are a relatively recent option for households, but have become much more common thanks to the clear advantages they bring.

Advantages and disadvantages of solar panel batteries

Let’s begin with the advantages brought by solar batteries:

  • Storing excess electricity: whenever the solar panel produces an excess of electricity - during a bright, sunny morning, for example - your battery can store this excess to be used at night.
  • Control over consumption: since you own the means of production and storage of your own electricity, you are able to consume energy when you need it. You will be much less at risk of power cuts.
  • Source of income: by selling some of your battery’s stored energy to the national power grid, you have an extra stream of income. Bear in mind, however, that this amount is rather small.

There are, on the other hand, some disadvantages that come with solar batteries:

  • Extra expenses: when it comes to the installation of your solar panel, adding a solar panel battery represents a non-negligeable up-front cost.
  • Shorter durability: whereas solar panels require little maintenance (with a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years), batteries are less durable and need to be replaced every 5 to 15 years.
  • Energy suppliers: although you are able to export surplus energy to the grid, this depends on your energy supplier. You will have to check with your personal energy supplier
  • Environmental impact of battery storage: battery shelf life and use life are limited. A large quantity and a broad range of raw materials (including metals and non-metals) are used to produce batteries. Besides, the battery industry can produce large quantities of environmental pollutants.

Is solar battery storage right for my home?

Solar batteries are right for you if you have excess energy produced by your solar panel. If you consume most of the energy produced by your solar panel, a battery might be superfluous.

How much does a solar battery cost on average?

Price

Prices vary based on the battery’s storage capacity, its chemical composition, and its durability.

Batteries most suitable for solar panels are lithium-ion batteries. In general, these batteries are readily available and cost-effective.

For a battery with smaller storage capacity, 3-4 kWh, the upfront cost starts at £3,400. A battery with bigger capacity, 9-13.5 kWh, costs at least £5,900.

A bigger battery will cost more at first, yet will incur more savings in energy bills thanks to the higher energy storage capacity.

Installation

Installation costs for solar batteries won’t be a great expense. They can often be paid by the battery brands. To best ensure that your installation will be free, install your battery at the same time as the solar panel.

Maintenance

Batteries, like solar panels, require very little maintenance. The only thing to note is that they will have to be replaced more frequently than the panel itself, as the lifespan is shorter.

How to finance energy storage in the UK?

Solar batteries remain expensive purchases, even if there are ways to reduce costs:

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG): With the energy stored in your battery, you can sell surplus back to the national power grid, with good average prices being between 4-6p/kWh. Learn more about SEG here.
VAT reduction: VAT can be reduced from 20% to 5% on the purchase of your solar battery. This is only available, however, to those over 60.
Home Energy Scotland Loan: You can receive a loan free of interest aimed at paying for home improvements that are energy efficient. This loan can be up to £5,000 for solar batteries. Read here to see if you are eligible for this loan.

Can I save money with a solar battery?

Solar panels help households save money on energy bills every year, so solar panels with batteries will only increase savings. You will be much under much less financial stress with rising bill costs.

Much like solar panels, solar batteries eventually pay for themselves thanks to your savings on energy bills. Keep in mind, however, that this takes some years to happen.

Where can I buy a battery storage system?

Solar batteries are easily found online. Let’s take a look at some of the main brands.

  • Tesla Powerwall: For a Lithium-ion battery of 13.5 kWh, you can expect to pay £5,500. This battery will last around 10 years. Learn more here.
  • SolaX 3.3: For a Lithium-ion battery of 3.5 kWh, you can expect to pay £4,000. This battery will last around 10 years. Learn more here.
  • Powervault 3: This brand offers batteries of different capacities. For the 4 kWh Lithium-polymer, you will pay around £4,500. The battery has a life span of 10 years. Their larger Lithium-polymer battery of 8 kWh costs around £7,000 and also lasts around 10 years. Read more about Powervault 3 here.

Things to consider before you install a home-energy storage system

The first thing to think about is whether you produce enough surplus electricity to make a solar battery a necessity.

Contact battery installers before purchase.

To ensure your purchase is up to standard, make sure that your installer subscribes to the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC). The RECC pride themselves on offering a high level of conduct and cutting-edge renewable technologies. Learn more about the RECC here.

To sum it up

Solar panel batteries can be a great addition to your household’s own energy production. Despite the daunting upfront costs, the savings made on energy bills make solar batteries an enticing investment. They will also provide households with a greater energy independence, as they are less reliant on the national power grid.

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FAQs

Are solar batteries expensive?

Although upfront costs remain expensive, savings made on energy bills make up for the initial purchase.

How can I store my solar energy?

Solar batteries enable you to store excess energy produced by your panel, to be consumed at a later time.

Can I reduce costs on my solar battery?

There are multiple grants available that will reduce solar battery costs, such as the Smart Export Guarantee.

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