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On-grid domestic battery storage

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
1.9K replies 202.9K views
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  • joefizzjoefizz Forumite
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    From reading this thread and battery threads on other forums, it almost seems that people need to have a degree in Electrical Engineering when they have a battery installed. I was therefore wondering if it's the case that batteries are as 'fit and forget' as solar panels but that, as the forums are frequented by people who are hobbyists, they like to tinker with the tech. Or is it the case that this is a new technology and a lot of refining and technical knowledge is required to get them to work?

    Thats sort of chicken and egg ;-) I tinker with it because I have  a degree in electrical engineering and know if I duck it up I can probably recover it. Probably!
    Most are install and forget and the vast majority of people will do it that way. The types of battery and your background knowledge will ultimately decide the price you pay for install. If you can do the work yourself and are happy with a modular system that either needs a bit of tinkering/fettling or can be installed piecemeal then you are going to pay less than one of the out of the box install and forget systems. Its probably because this is a moneysaving site that you get a lot of the former ;-)
    I havent tinkered with mine in ages but it was useful (and ultimately more expensive) to build it up and measure my usage and the 'value' I was getting from my system. 2 years on and 2 'upgrades' later Im pretty much at the leave well alone part. I could have just bought the entire thing in one go and saved myself the extra VAT and shipping to NI charge but wanted to see if half my current capacity would have been enough. It would have been but what I have now allows me to do so much more in the summer, but I needed a full years data to make that decision.
    In real terms most of the tinkering doesnt amount to much, although things like upping capacity to allow full battery use to power the immersion led to savings in oil usage which then led to installing an ashp. The higher capacity has also allowed stuff like running a hot tub for the last 2 weeks without making a dent in my imported electricity. The month before I did 4 beer home brews with the same result. My 2 monthly electricity bill has just come in at 3.12 yes three pounds and twelve pence....
    ...which is great if you gloss over the almost 10k everything electrical has cost me... ...but thats about 50-70 quid every 2 months I no longer need to find and all part of the plan to FIRE.

  • joefizzjoefizz Forumite
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    I think its gonna be hard to justify batteries unless you use a lot of electricity 
    And id suggest most members of this forum have already tried to reduce their energy bills in various ways, so I think you will find it difficult to make batteries wash their face right now.


    Is there anything you still want to do? Im pretty much stuck now, got my oil consumption down to around 600l a year from 1200 or so, put an extra tank in and topped up at this months prices, so thats about 4 years of winter heating/hot water locked in at about 700 quid total (including extra 2nd hand tank and all new wiring/connectors). Should bring me up to around the serviceable life of the boiler (although working on that too).
    Ive moved back to corded power/garden tools in the main from petrol driven and moving away from battery powered ones where possible (even spent an hour a day this week sawing wood with a bowsaw, had enough, chainsaw to do the next lot in probably less than an hour total!)
    Is there anything you have done with the batteries that you wouldnt have considered? Ive been looking at more ways to reverse years and years of decreasing electric use now I have this 'free' resource but have run out of ideas for the minute.
  • edited 24 September 2020 at 11:21AM
    SolarchaserSolarchaser Forumite
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    edited 24 September 2020 at 11:21AM
    Good question, I would like to do ashp,  especially as air con in the summer, but I cannot justify it, on any given day there are 3 windows open in the house, im not gonna get the wife to change that, I've tried convincing her on the merits of a PIV, but she is not for it. So ashp will not work.

    I will (maybe... I think) be putting in a hot water cylinder and using the excess solar (which there is not that much of now) to heat it for hot water, to move away from gas, but I can't see what else I can do, that wouldn't involve major upheaval. 

    I did work out through the course of the post last night that I've spent over £10k over the last 2 years between batts and more solar.
    I'm certain the wife would have preferred two weeks in disney instead, which costs about the same for a family of 5

    Edit. Anything I've done, that i wouldn't have considered,  I dont think so.
    Been pretty happy with what the batteries have done in general,  but disappointed in how poor they are with induction hobs, so going back to when I put in the new kitchen, id probably have went with normal hobs.
    West central Scotland
    4kw sse since 2014 and 6.6kw wsw / ene split since 2019
    24kwh leaf and Lux 3600 with 17kwh useable storage
  • mickyduck55mickyduck55 Forumite
    186 posts
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    Air to air ASHP interests me as well and had a couple of quotes for a split system one unit in bedroom and one in lounge mainly for AC in summer.  Considering the cost of the hardware the installation costs seem very high
    3.995kWP SSW facing. Commissioned 7 July 2011. 24 degree pitch + Solar Immersion installed May 2013, after two Solar Immersion lasting just over the guarantee period replaced with Solic 2000... no problems since
    13 Feb 2020 LUX AC 3600 and 3 X Pylon Tech 3.5 kW batteries added...
  • joefizzjoefizz Forumite
    676 posts
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭

    Been pretty happy with what the batteries have done in general,  but disappointed in how poor they are with induction hobs, so going back to when I put in the new kitchen, id probably have went with normal hobs.
    Yeah, at lower power levels the battery response time really isnt up to it. On the other side at those levels they do seem to use less power than normal hobs so maybe swings and roundabouts? Found myself on my hob (up to 9 levels) using level 6 and above gets round the switching problem, but then theres the possibility of burnt food to deal with ;-) I did wonder why some hobs had half and half induction/normal, not a solution I know ;-)
  • joefizzjoefizz Forumite
    676 posts
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭
    Air to air ASHP interests me as well and had a couple of quotes for a split system one unit in bedroom and one in lounge mainly for AC in summer.  Considering the cost of the hardware the installation costs seem very high
    If I had the choice again Id go for the split system, I went for single self install with quick connectors but looked at the dual output system for a long time. In retrospect it was no more difficult to install than ac in a car or replacing the brake lines and then just pay someone to inspect and certify it afterwards.
    One output in a central hallway (bungalow) is ok but at night does involve closing all the other doors to 'direct' the air into the bedroom. The PIV inadvertently does a good job of circulating the air in there but I didnt have much choice in unit placement with planning laws here and house layout.
    On the very few days here that it gets too hot, the AC is a godsend, no more hanging bags of ice over a large fan!
  • SolarchaserSolarchaser Forumite
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    joefizz said:

    Been pretty happy with what the batteries have done in general,  but disappointed in how poor they are with induction hobs, so going back to when I put in the new kitchen, id probably have went with normal hobs.
    Yeah, at lower power levels the battery response time really isnt up to it. On the other side at those levels they do seem to use less power than normal hobs so maybe swings and roundabouts? Found myself on my hob (up to 9 levels) using level 6 and above gets round the switching problem, but then theres the possibility of burnt food to deal with ;-) I did wonder why some hobs had half and half induction/normal, not a solution I know ;-)
    I think you misunsderstand,  its not the power levels, its the way induction hobs work. They dont supply constant power, they ramp up for 2-5 seconds then switch off for 2-5 seconds, on again for 2-5 seconds then off again and so by the time the inverter is starting to respond to the ramp, its already switched off, so the inverter pushes export, drops off and I import, pushes export and then drops off and I import, over and over again.

    You are correct in that under a couple of hundred Watts they don't respond as well, but this is with a 1.8kw hob, so its the ramp rate that's the issue rather than the power drawn in this case. 
    West central Scotland
    4kw sse since 2014 and 6.6kw wsw / ene split since 2019
    24kwh leaf and Lux 3600 with 17kwh useable storage
  • edited 25 September 2020 at 10:02AM
    EVandPVEVandPV Forumite
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    edited 25 September 2020 at 10:02AM
    joefizz said:

    Been pretty happy with what the batteries have done in general,  but disappointed in how poor they are with induction hobs, so going back to when I put in the new kitchen, id probably have went with normal hobs.
    Yeah, at lower power levels the battery response time really isnt up to it. On the other side at those levels they do seem to use less power than normal hobs so maybe swings and roundabouts? Found myself on my hob (up to 9 levels) using level 6 and above gets round the switching problem, but then theres the possibility of burnt food to deal with ;-) I did wonder why some hobs had half and half induction/normal, not a solution I know ;-)
    I think you misunsderstand,  its not the power levels, its the way induction hobs work. They dont supply constant power, they ramp up for 2-5 seconds then switch off for 2-5 seconds, on again for 2-5 seconds then off again and so by the time the inverter is starting to respond to the ramp, its already switched off, so the inverter pushes export, drops off and I import, pushes export and then drops off and I import, over and over again.
    Our electric oven works much like that. Pain in the butt, especially if your on Agile and cooking during the peak period.
    Brings tears to a Scotsman's eyes watching the smart meter ticking over.  :D

    Scott in Fife, 3kwp pv SSW facing, Fronius inverter installed Jan 2012
    7.2kwh Pylontech battery storage with Lux ac inverter
    Raspberry Pi immersion controller
    Raspberry Pi Lux charge controller
    Renault Zoe 40kwh, Zappi EV charger and Octopus Go
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