Solar Battery Storage

Solar Power at Any Hour

Atlantic Renewables team member reviewing the newly installed solar battery storage system

What is a solar battery?

A solar battery allows you to store excess energy generated by your solar panels, helping you save money on energy bills, become more energy independent, and live sustainably towards a Net Zero future. With the ability to retrofit existing solar PV systems and take advantage of the Smart Export Guarantee, solar batteries are crucial in making solar energy systems more reliable and versatile.

Typically only 20% to 50% of the solar electricity generated by the is used up by the homeowner, leaving the rest to be put back into the Grid.

Until recently battery prices were too expensive and relied on less efficient technologies. With the breakthrough of lithium-ion battery technology solar battery storage is now a reality.

Here at Atlantic Renewables, we offer a variety of solar battery options to fit your specific needs and energy usage. Our expert team can help you design a customized solar and battery storage system that maximizes your solar power and helps you achieve greater energy independence.

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How does solar panel battery storage work?

Solar panel battery storage works by allowing homeowners to store excess electricity generated by their solar panels during the day for use at night or during cloudy days. This helps reduce reliance on the grid and can lead to significant savings on electricity bills.

When the sun is shining, solar panels generate electricity, which is either used in the home or stored in the battery. The battery stores this excess energy, which can then be used when the sun goes down or during times when energy demand is high.

The average lifespan of a solar battery typically ranges from 5 to 15 years, depending on the type of battery and how it is used. Lithium-ion batteries tend to have a longer lifespan compared to lead-acid batteries. It's important to avoid over-discharging the battery or exposing it to extreme weather conditions, as this can shorten its lifespan.

Solar panel battery storage not only helps homeowners save money on their energy bills but also contributes to a more sustainable future by reducing reliance on fossil fuels. By generating and using renewable energy from solar panels, homeowners can play their part in working towards a Net Zero future.

Overall, solar battery storage is a smart and eco-friendly solution for maximizing the benefits of solar panels and increasing energy independence for homeowners.

Pros and cons of solar battery storage

Solar battery storage systems have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their many benefits. These systems allow homeowners to store excess energy generated by their solar panels for later use, providing increased efficiency and energy independence. However, like any technology, solar batteries also have their drawbacks. Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of solar battery storage.

A pair of neatly installed GivEnergy 9.5kWh batteries.

Advantages of solar battery storage

  • Increased system efficiency: By combining your solar panel system with a solar battery storage system, you can optimize the solar energy generated by your panels. This allows you to store energy for later use on days when the sun isn't shining, increasing overall efficiency.

  • Independence from the grid: Solar batteries provide a reliable backup during power cuts and fluctuating energy prices. By storing surplus energy produced by your solar panels, you can reduce your reliance on the national grid and ensure a stable power source.

  • Eco-friendliness: Solar batteries help reduce dependence on polluting sources of energy like fossil fuels. By storing electricity for later use, you can decrease your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable energy future.

  • Reduced energy bills: When paired with efficient solar panels, solar batteries can significantly cut your energy bills. By storing and utilizing solar energy, you can save up to 70% on your energy costs.

Drawbacks of solar battery storage

  • Initial cost: Solar storage battery systems can be expensive, with prices ranging from £3,000 to well over £10,000 before installation. This initial investment may deter some homeowners from adopting this technology, but in many cases, it is duly paid back.

  • Installation complexity: Installing a solar battery storage system can be complex, especially if retrofitting to an existing solar PV system. Additional installation cost may be incurred, adding to the overall expense.

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Do I need a solar battery for my solar panels?

Thinking about adding a solar battery to your existing solar panel system? You're not alone! Solar battery storage is becoming increasingly popular as a way to maximize the benefits of solar energy. But is it the right choice for you?

Figuring out whether your system would benefit from a battery is not a simple task, but some factors that are considered in this decision can include:

  • Matching Solar Production: A battery bridges the gap between your solar production and consumption times. If you use more power at night, a battery stores excess daytime energy for later use.

  • Overall Energy Usage: Solar battery storage is especially valuable for high energy users. Larger batteries store excess daytime solar power for use at night or on cloudy days, maximizing self-consumption and potentially reducing reliance on the grid.

  • Energy Independence: For those seeking greater self-reliance on solar energy, solar battery storage is a key tool. Batteries maximize the use of your self-generated solar power, reducing dependence on the grid and potentially achieving a higher degree of energy independence.

  • Energy Rates: Net metering buyback rates might not require a battery initially. However, batteries offer long-term control and work well with time-of-use billing, storing cheap off-peak power for expensive peak hours.

  • Future System Expansion: Planning to expand your solar array? Choose a scalable battery system with modular or expandable options. This allows you to add battery capacity as your solar energy production grows, avoiding the need to replace the battery prematurely.

To battery, or not to battery?

Unsure if solar battery storage is right for you? At Atlantic Renewables, we're here to guide you through your options and help you determine if adding a battery to your solar panel system aligns with your needs. Contact us today via our webform, email, or phone for a free quote.

A pair of neatly installed 9.5kWh GivEnergy solar batteries.

Make the most of your unused energy

Battery storage helps maximize your solar power usage, but what happens to any excess energy that isn't stored?

Your panels will be generating energy during the day and power the appliances that your house is using. The extra energy will be transferred to your battery and be stored as backup power. Once this is fully charged, the remainder will be fed back into the Grid.

Energy fed back into the grid is subject to export tariffs, simply put, this means you will be paid for any energy that you send to the grid. Not only are you contributing to a cleaner and and more sustainable energy source for your community, but you're earning credits or income that can further offset your electricity costs.

Let's look into the types of export tariffs!

Smart Export Guarantee

The SEG is a government-backed program in the UK specifically designed to incentivize homeowners with solar panels. Here's how it works:

  • Eligibility: Most solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the UK qualify for the SEG program. However, it's always best to double-check specific program requirements.

  • Getting Paid: You won't automatically receive SEG payments. You'll need to sign up for a special SEG tariff offered by your energy supplier. The good news is that most licensed suppliers with over 150,000 customers are required to offer at least one SEG tariff.

  • Benefits: SEG tariffs offer guaranteed export payments for your exported electricity, helping you offset your electricity costs and potentially generate some income.

Feed-in Tariff (Ended 2019)

The UK's Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, closed for new applications in April 2019, used to incentivize solar panel installations. Here's how it worked:

  • FiT for Solar: Homeowners with solar panels installed before the deadline received export payments for the electricity their system generated.

  • Double Benefit: You earned money for all electricity produced, even what you used yourself. Plus, there was a bonus for exporting excess power back to the grid.

  • Export Payment Tiers: The amount you earned depended on when you joined the scheme and the energy efficiency of your building. Higher efficiency meant higher FIT rates.

  • Program Ended, But Existing Continue: While no new applications are accepted, those who joined before April 2019 can keep receiving FIT payments according to their original terms, typically lasting 20 years.

So, if you were an early adopter of solar panels in the UK, you might still be benefiting from the FIT scheme.

What are the types of battery installation?

DC Coupled Batteries

Basic layout diagram of a hybrid solar inverter with DC battery system

This is the simpler of the two coupling options, where the panels and the battery share the same inverter.

The inverter is the ‘brain' of the system that converts DC current from the panels into the AC used by your home or business. It also provides constant real-time information about the way the system is operating.

Pros of DC couplings

  • Power transfer is generally more efficient with less energy loss than the AC option

  • It's usually cheaper to install because the one inverter serves the panels and the battery

Cons of DC couplings

  • Not all solar inverters and battery systems are compatible with DC coupling.

  • Some utility programs that offer incentives for battery storage may not be compatible with DC-coupled systems.

AC Coupled Batteries

Basic layout diagram of a hybrid solar inverter with AC battery system

If you have an existing solar panel system that still benefits from the old government Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) scheme, then it will currently be using an AC coupling.

To protect these profitable payments while also taking advantage of battery storage, it's normally best to leave the AC panel coupling and existing inverter in place.

A second inverter is then put in to manage the charging and discharging of the battery. In this way, maximum energy continues to pass directly to the FIT-registered meter, giving you the highest possible income from the scheme.

This also makes retro-fitting AC couplings is easier and less costly than the DC alternative.

Pros of AC couplings

  • The two inverters – one for panels, one for battery – work in tandem to increase the overall energy in the system

  • No need for batteries and inverters to be installed close to each other. By placing batteries at room temperature and inverters in a cooler environment, both can work at their maximum efficiency

  • Because battery and panels use separate inverters, any fault in one won't affect the other's operation

Cons of AC couplings

  • Generally the power transfer in the system is slightly less efficient than a DC system

  • The need for a second inverter increases the hardware cost

DC or AC battery coupling?

It normally depends on whether your system is existing or new.

Put simply, if we're installing a completely new solar panel system, then DC coupling may well be the way to go.

On the other hand, if you have an existing the benefits from the old government Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) scheme, then AC could be a better choice.

Wondering if an AC or DC coupled system with a battery is best for your home? Atlantic Renewables offers free solar quotes to help you understand your best options. Contact us today to schedule your free quote and solar survey!

Relevant technologies

Hybrid Inverters

Hybrid inverters are the brains of a solar system with battery storage. They act like a conductor, managing the flow of energy between your solar panels, batteries, and the utility grid. During the day, the inverter converts the direct current (DC) electricity from your solar panels into usable alternating current (AC) to power your home. Any excess solar energy is then directed to the batteries for energy storage.

Atlantic Renewables installed Solid hybrid inverter

When sunlight is low or your home needs more power than the panels produce, the inverter pulls energy from the batteries. It can also draw from the grid if necessary. This intelligent control system maximizes self-consumption of solar power and ensures a reliable source of electricity, even during outages if your batteries have enough storage capacity.

All-in-one system

All-in-one solar battery inverters simplify your solar setup. They handle everything: converting solar power, storing excess in batteries, and drawing from the grid when needed. This one-box solution offers a user-friendly approach to solar power with battery backup. Although more expensive, all-in-one systems tend to be the most efficient, as they are manufactured to be the complete package.

Atlantic Renewables installed GivEnergy All-in-one battery-inverter unit

Are you interested in installing a solar energy battery storage system in your home or business?

If you're looking to further reduce your reliance on the Grid while making better use of your solar energy and cheap off-peak electricity tariff charges, then a solar battery storage system is for you.

Atlantic Renewables can provide a detailed quote and free, friendly advice on how to take the next step in reducing your carbon footprint.

Atlantic Renewables are your local Solar Energy Battery Storage Design & Professional Installer

We pride ourselves on our friendly approach to all installs and quotes and never use high pressure sales tactics. We can provide you with a completely free quote and explain the best options for you and your budget.

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Atlantic Renewables

Atlantic Renewables are a solar PV design and installation company, providing affordable solutions in Manchester, Cheshire and throughout the North West.