Smart Home Energy Systems

Solar energy comes from the sun so being able to capture that energy for free is only half the story.

A household will usually only directly use about 1/3 of their solar panels’ output so the remaining generation will go out the grid.

While the owner of the panels will get paid for the amount that is sent back to the grid this is usually at a low rate.

Battery benefits

Resilience

After decades of development in the auto industry under the toughest conditions, home battery storage systems are now commercially viable and perform over increasingly long time-frames. Typical brands such as Pylon Tech and Solax guarantee storage output from 7-10 years or more.

Efficiency

Battery storage will usually double the amount of energy a building can utilize from its solar PV system. By storing energy during the day from solar panels which isn’t being used, the battery prevents the energy from going back out to the grid and allows it to be used when there’s excess demand to what is being generated or at night time when the sun isn’t shining.

Cost Effective

A typical household will be able to directly use about 1/3 of the energy their solar panels generate. With a battery storage system that capture rate usually more than doubles to around 70-80% – meaning greater financial benefit to you. In addition, battery storage systems have been coming down in price making them an even better investment alongside your solar panels.

Being able to capture solar energy for free is only half the story when it comes to installing a solar PV system.

A household will usually only be able to directly use about 1/3 of their solar panels’ output so the remaining generation will go out the grid.  And while the household will get paid for the amount that is sent back to the grid, this is usually at a low rate (about 5.5p/kWh compared to 15-17p/kWh at the time of writing).

This means that having a battery storage system can vastly improve the performance of a solar PV system by at least doubling the direct solar energy use within the household. This also means that solar energy will be available when the sun isn’t shining. Prices have been dropping steeply for home battery storage in recent years so these systems are now much more affordable.

A typical household will use roughly 10kWh per day so a typical battery setup will store about half of that amount 4-6kWh. The battery will go through one complete charge and discharge cycle each day.

Batteries can also be used to store energy from the grid at night when rates are cheap and discharge at peak times when rates are expensive. You will need to get a smart meter and go on a 24hr tariff to take this approach but it can add savings in addition to the solar PV system.

Battery Systems

Hybrid

Solar panels produce electricity in direct current (DC) and batteries work in direct current as well. However, we use alternating current (AC) in our homes and AC current is supplied from utility grid.

A hybrid system utilizes a single inverter that manages both the storage of energy in the battery as well as the transformation from DC from the solar panels and battery to AC power for use in the home.

Electrical regulations require DC cabling to have a higher level of protection and shielding when installed in the home which involves metal ducting so may not be best suited for all installations.

Storage batteries

AC Coupled

AC couple battery systems involve a separate inverter for the solar panels and the battery system.

These are typically installed when adding a battery to an existing solar panel system or where running a lot of heavily shielded DC cable through a home or business is not practical.

AC coupled battery systems tend to be more cost effective despite the extra inverter so this makes them an economical choice.

AC Coupled battery systems are the best choice when retrofitting a battery to an existing solar PV system or when heavy DC cabling isn't practical.

Heat Battery

We work with Edinburgh-based Sunamp products to supply heat batteries. A heat battery stores electricity from solar panels or the grid to generate heat for hot water.

Heat Batteries fit comfortably in tight spaces and are designed to provide cascades of hot water on demand. You can use them with solar PV and existing boilers. Plug one in to get hot water where you need it.

For larger homes, multiple Sunamp Heat Batteries can be easily linked, and work with heat pumps and off-peak electricity, to give you maximum comfort and significant savings.

Sunamp Heat Battery

Hot Water Solar Diversion

If your property has a hot water tank than you can easily install a hot water diversion system along with your solar panels.

This communicates with the solar panel inverter and when excess power is being sent to the power grid it diverts it to the immersion coil in your hot water tank. This turns the water tank into a very cost effective “heat battery” and keeps you in free hot water for much of the year.

An alternative for hot water heating if an immersion hot water tank is not available would be a heat battery.

EDDI Mixergy smart hot water diversion tank