Battery storage for our energy is taking off around the world
Posted in: Energy news
Posted on: 10.10.2016
You may remember a previous Good Energy blog on storage. Well, what’s happening now? In businesses and transport, there is a growing need for storing electricity, and in the UK, the use of large batteries to store electricity is set to more than double every year to 2020.
The recent launch of Tesla’s Gigafactory, a $5 billion factory situated on 3,000 acres of Nevada desert to produce batteries for Tesla cars, is just another step in the storage market and is projected to double the world's total lithium-ion battery production capacity. The new Good Energy tariff supports consumers with electric vehicles. But domestic vehicles are not the only exciting area for electrical storage going forward.
The Tesla facility is already producing batteries for their Powerwall home battery storage product. Combined with your solar panels, even under the Government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme, a battery storage system in the home from Tesla enables more of the electricity you use to come from that solar power you generated, reducing how much you spend on energy.
Installing domestic solar reduces a typical annual bill from £580 to £450. Introducing a home battery system can reduce that bill further to only £200!
Although the cost of batteries is coming down all the time and they can be installed quickly and easily, the current savings from such a system do not meet the upfront costs. Savings on home energy can reach between £2,000 and £2,500 over 10 years, whereas the total cost of a home battery system is roughly £3,500 to £4,500. Over the lifetime of the battery, storing and using solar electricity alone is not enough to recoup the cost. Therefore other benefits are required to plug this gap. Thankfully, various options are available!
A battery does more than just store excess solar electricity. Domestic storage can have multiple wider benefits to the electricity grid, local network and country that aren’t currently recognised. These include reducing peak electricity demand on the network, lowering wholesale prices and network costs, and cutting energy imports and carbon emissions. All these benefits have a value and could provide cost savings to consumers, increasing the accessibility and deployment of batteries in homes.
It will take changes in policy and regulation to enable these values to be realised. And Government is heading in the right direction. The previous Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd MP, announced that storage would form a part of the £500m energy and climate research and development fund.
Until these benefits can be realised, the Government should be looking at ways to support storage in the short term. As part of the potential revolution in the UK energy sector, to be flexible and responsive, a smarter electricity system based on distributed generation needs storage at its core.
Good Energy’s vision is to see the UK powered by homegrown renewables, and affordable, reliable energy storage is vital to achieving this.
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