The Black Box
A research project that has the potential to change the way we use electricity.
“We are working closely with Northern Powergrid and this project will deliver insights to develop incentives which we hope will allow us to roll out solar plus storage to tens of thousands of homes in their region, by creating a business case for homeowners to invest and also by increasing the number of solar connections allowed on each substation.”
If successful, the project would enable panels to be installed on more homes using existing substations and cable networks.
Northern Powergrid, which is funding the £250,000 project, believes UK network operators could save millions for customers by reducing the need to upgrade infrastructure, which will help ensure network-related charges on customers’ electricity bills remain good value.
Andrew Spencer, system planning manager for Northern Powergrid, said: “Batteries will play a key role in the smart energy system of the future, keeping costs down for customers whilst allowing the power network to support greater concentrations of solar power. This innovative project will provide valuable data on how the inclusion of batteries in solar schemes can enable our designers to connect more PV panels before further network reinforcement is required.”
I know how you love data, so here goes, this is my January 2017 experience:
Imported 268kWh (my Jan import has ranged from 485kWh in Jan 2012, to 238kWh in Jan 2015).
Generated 70.87 kWh (Jan gen has ranged from 78 in 2015 to 45kWh in 2013)
Battery discharge 30.67kWh (so about the same as December, albeit with 6 extra days)
ImmerSUN diversion 1kWh!! (I only started logging it manually in 2015, but in Jan 2015 and 2016 it had been 15kWh, so the battery has definitely stolen the lion's share).
So I'm pretty sure that I managed to self-consume 100% of my Jan generation; over half of it during the day from normal domestic usage, then the battery grabbed pretty much all the rest. Remember the PowerVault "only" charges up at a maximum of 700W so there was a small amount of time when there was still a bit sneaking out, which the ImmerSUN took, but 1kWh isn't going to keep the water tank hot!
That's what, £4 of savings in Jan from the electricity import avoided though, £8 so far what with December as well?
I've also now had all the grid trial monitoring gear installed - 3x black boxes, all with current clamps, all internet connected so sending live generation, import/export and battery charge/discharge data to Imperial College London for the next year!
They told me as well as measuring current flows, they're also looking at what that does to the local grid's electricity quality - so they're apparently also measuring grid frequency, voltage and sine wave quality (for noise/harmonics etc). They said that they might want to come back and install a monitor for my ImmerSUN as well...
Interestingly, the UKPN Trial is in 60 sites; 30 of which are using PowerVaults . They're also using 15x sites with SonnenBatterie installs, and are attempting to recruit a further 15x sites with Tesla PowerWalls - they want to see what differences the different battery technologies and capacities have as well. Apparently they've only managed to get 1x PowerWall so far though...
Today was a good sunny day in the morning but only 3.67kWh of generation overall as it tailed off in the afternoon. However I was out most of the day so little daytime consumption and the battery got a decent few hours of charge.
As a result it looks like we imported pretty much nothing at all from 9am until basically 9pm when my wife used the kettle! Battery still outputting 300w at 9.30pm!
A good day, and this is only February 😎
Martyn1981 wrote: »
Interesting news, and at the very least, a good thing to get sorted before storage 'explodes' in the UK:Lithium-ion battery storage may be banned inside Australian homes
Worth a read, but hard to tell if this is an issue or not. Regardless, some of the battery offerings are external units, which help save space anyway.
Quick count, and I think I've got 14 Li-ion devices in the house, plus about 30 small rechargeable batteries.
EricMears wrote: »
It is of course quite true that in the - very rare - circumstances where a Li-ion battery does catch fire the result is extremely nasty. But let's not take it out of proportion : are there similar proposals to ban highly volatile liquid fuels (e.g. petrol of course) or vehicles containing them from being stored within a garage ?
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