10 Benefits of Solar Battery Storage

10 Benefits of Solar Battery Storage

Are you tempted by the thought of installing solar battery storage? Wondering what the benefits are to having your own energy storage system?

As society continues transitioning to more and more renewable energy sources, solar battery storage starts to come into its own. 

We’ll talk you through the ten main advantages of residential solar battery storage. We’ll also touch on a few potential drawbacks you need to be aware of to give you the full picture. 

What is solar battery storage?

Solar battery storage is a home energy system that captures extra electricity generated by solar panels and stores it in a battery for later use. In simple terms, the system consists of solar panels, a storage battery and some form of inverter to make the electricity accessible for your home.

Roof and ground mounted solar panels produce variable amounts of renewable energy depending on when the sun is shining. Although some of this energy can be used straight away, sometimes your household demand isn’t there and more electricity is generated than required. 

Without solar battery storage, this excess electricity is either lost or flows into the national grid. When your solar panels are connected to a battery storage system, any surplus electricity generated in the day can be preserved for later use when the sun isn’t shining. In effect, battery storage can level out the unpredictability of solar. 

Benefits of solar battery storage

Storing excess energy brings a whole host of benefits for your household and the wider environment. Let’s take a look. 

Maximum efficiency from solar panels

Solar panels can only produce renewable energy when sunlight is available. On sunny days, PV panels can often generate more energy than is immediately required in a home. Without batteries, this excess energy can go to waste for your home. 

Battery storage enables full use of your solar investment by capturing the extra electricity produced. This allows for more energy efficient living and allows you to maximise your renewable energy potential. 

This stored solar electricity can then be discharged during the evening, at nights or any time when the sun isn’t shining. With a big enough battery, you’ll be able to charge household appliances, electric heating sources such as infrared panels and even your electric vehicle without having to use the national grid. 

More sustainable energy

For eco-conscious homeowners, solar energy storage delivers a true sustainability upgrade. 

Solar batteries help you to maximise consumption of your own green power generation. This means you’re sending less demand to the national grid, which is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels and carbon-intensive power plants. 

Over the year, your own stored solar energy can prevent significant amounts of carbon from entering the atmosphere. Investing in solar battery storage also signals market support for continued adoption of renewable technologies, which are essential for broader decarbonisation goals.

Energy independence

Solar battery storage offers homeowners increased energy security and resilience. By accessing your own stored solar electricity, you can power a significant portion of your home without relying on traditional, non-renewable grid sources tied to fossil fuels or nuclear plants.

Although you may still access the grid when your power needs can’t be met by solar or your battery, you’re certainly on your way to energy independence. It also means you’re less at the mercy of large energy price rises as we’ve seen in recent years. 

A storage battery can provide back-up electricity to keep home systems running in the event of a power cut. Reduced vulnerability to wider grid interruptions gives households greater control, independence and peace of mind regarding their electricity reliability.

Reduce energy bills

One motivation for installing a home solar energy storage system is saving money on electricity bills. When charged, batteries become a personal power source that displaces more expensive, higher carbon grid energy. 

For every kilowatt hour of stored solar electricity used instead of mains supply, you’ll see a reduction in your household energy bill.

Though batteries have upfront costs of between £2,500-£8,000, you’ll recoup this spending each year through electricity bill savings. It’s thought the average payback time for solar storage can sit anywhere between 5-15 years. With Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) payments, this payback time is shorter. 

Earn money by sending electricity to the grid

That gives us a nice segway into SEG itself. The Smart Export Guarantee scheme is a UK-government backed programme that requires power companies to pay small-scale renewable producers – like those with solar panels and batteries – for excess electricity sent back to the grid. 

By dispatching stored energy from your battery to the grid during periods of high demand, you can get rewarded for supporting the strained energy infrastructure – you’re effectively acting as a mini power plant!

To get paid, you’ll need to have the right energy tariff, so double check this. Depending on your supplier and tariff, you can get paid anywhere from 35p per kWh with Octopus’ Intelligent Flux tariff to just 2p per kWh with Utility Warehouse’s standard tariff. 

Store cheap energy

As well as exporting excess electricity to the grid to get paid for it at peak times, you can do the opposite and charge up your battery during low demand.  

This involves making the most of energy price variability. A form of energy arbitrage if you will. 

Overnight when overall grid demand is lower, electricity prices fall to cheap off-peak rates. Battery storage systems allow smart homeowners to charge up using the most inexpensive grid power. Then when late afternoon or early evening hits – typically the peak daily period of highest electricity prices – the charged solar batteries can discharge the stored electricity. 

Increase the value of your home

Installing an integrated solar panel and battery storage system can increase the value of your home.

It’s hard to say exactly what percentage solar battery storage will add to a property, but as Adam Horton, CEO of property agency Hortons, said, “it absolutely improves saleability.” 

This is because more and more buyers are interested in sustainable homes. As Horton continued, “huge amounts of buyers are interested in the eco credentials of homes now, so there will be more people than ever that see solar panels and batteries as a huge selling point.” 

Buying a home already kitted out with panels and batteries not only appeals to their values but saves them a big upfront cost, which gets rolled into the purchase price. Overall, a very appealing prospect.

As the homeowner though, you won’t be out of pocket. As Horton says, “it’s pretty safe to assume that your investment will more than pay for itself when you come to sell. This is just an added benefit to the gains made from the panels themselves.” 

Can be retrofitted into existing solar array

One key advantage of solar energy storage systems is their ability to be retrofitted into existing solar panel setups. 

Homes with already-installed PV arrays can still enjoy the benefits of batteries without replacing or altering panels – a good way to keep your panels generating a return. This is often achieved most affordably through AC-coupled battery installations. By leveraging the solar array’s existing inverter, a separate new inverter connects the battery system to your home, the panels and the grid. 

The standalone nature of AC-coupled batteries minimises disruption and allows homeowners to test the waters with smaller battery capacities. These can then be easily upgraded to meet potential growing storage needs. It also means your hands aren’t tied if you haven’t got the budget straight away to install solar panels and batteries together, although this would be the ideal scenario.

No maintenance 

Unlike older storage battery technologies, modern battery energy storage systems require very little on-going servicing once they’ve been professionally installed.

Lithium-ion batteries in particular, which have become the residential go-to, are largely maintenance-free over their 5-15 year lifespans. The sealed batteries simply run automatic charge and discharge cycles. No fluid top-ups or capacity testing is required.

Future proof

Investing in a solar storage system gives you a degree of futureproofing. 

Battery storage capacities will only continue to advance over their 5-15 year lifespans. However, early adoption gives you room to incrementally improve your systems by adding to existing infrastructure.

Getting started with the available storage technology today makes sure you can easily integrate future innovations. And with smarter charging functionalities in the pipeline between EVs, homes and grids, you’ll be in a great position to take advantage.

What are the downsides of solar battery storage?

While battery storage delivers significant benefits in maximising energy produced from solar panels, there are a few potential downsides you should be aware of.

Firstly, like most renewable energy technology, battery storage involves a good chunk of upfront investment. Depending on the battery capacity and specifications, an average price comes in around £5,000. 

In recent years however, those initial costs have already started to decline as demand increases and the technology is rolled out. The same has happened with solar panels, which have dropped in price by around 87% since 2010. 

Secondly, batteries have limited energy capacities that household consumption can exceed. Unless you have a large-scale system, battery-solar combinations usually don’t fully eliminate the need to import energy from the grid. This means you’ll still have to pay an electricity bill, albeit a much smaller one hopefully. 

Lastly, while overwhelmingly safe, improper battery storage installations do pose a risk of overheating. Make sure any installation is performed by a certified professional with a good track record. 

About the author 

Ben Hardman

Ben is a professional writer and the creator of sustainable living website TinyEco.com.
It's here where he helps people to reduce their environmental impact through simple, everyday choices. Away from the laptop, Ben loves spending time in the natural environment with his young family and Murphy the cocker spaniel.

First Class BSc Biology degree (environmental and climate change focus)
Six years of working and writing in the environmental sector, including two years working at an international sustainability consultancy
Written for Ethical Consumer magazine, My Mother Tree, Unsustainable Magazine, Happy Eco News, Emission Index, PeakDistrict.org
Commented in The Independent, The Guardian, GreenMatch. Also featured on Radio 1's environmental special 'Minute of Me'

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