Commercial solar panels and in home battery systems

I'm just thinking aloud: we know that the cost of solar panels has gone down by about 98% over the past twenty to thirty years, and with current electricity prices, you are looking at a payback time of less than five years for a home solar system. You can buy new solar panels at 38p per watt (this doesn't include the cost of batteries and inverters, and installation, etc.) but it's still incredibly cheap. And that's the cost to the public - an electricity company would be buying tens of thousands of panels at a time, direct from the manufacturer, and would doubtless get them at 20p per watt or something like that.
We are told by naysayers that renewable energy isn't going to be able to replace coal and gas fired power stations, because a) the wind doesn't blow all the time, and b) the sun doesn't shine at night, and solar panels have a much lower output when it is cloudy, and it's not possible for energy companies to store gigawatts of energy for the times when these interruptions to renewable energy arise.
But what if all houses were leased or sold on interest free credit, by power companies, 30-50kw/h or LiFePo4 batteries, to store solar power and wind power when they weren't using large amounts in their houses? The battery systems would be spread all over the country, in people's houses, where they are needed, with no transmission losses, and thus solar farms and wind farms could fill these batteries when they were generating more electricity than the public could use (presuming that point is ever reached.)

Replies

  • Moss5Moss5 Forumite
    359 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts
    Forumite
    Your idea has been a reality for some time. On the right tarif, you can charge your battery overnight at a cheap rate.


    A little-known fact about ‘smart’ home chargers and ‘smart meters’ is that the government intend to use all these electric cars as a store of energy to smooth the demand made upon the power generating industry.
    Vehicle to grid (V2G) Vehicle to grid technology is an advanced form of power management, and it's a potentially crucial part of the electric car future.
    In 2020, Energy supplier Ovo Energy was running a vehicle to grid trial. If you're registered to the trial, you get to choose a charging schedule via an app on your phone. This sets the minimum state of charge you need your car to be and for what time.
    For example, you’ve come home at 6pm in the evening, plugged your car in and specified that you want your car to be at least 80% full by 7am the following morning.
    Overnight, your car will be charged when demand on the network is low, and when it’s more likely that energy from renewable sources is feeding the grid.
    But when demand on the grid is high, the charger can take power from your car, power your home and sell any excess energy back to the grid, helping to manage the UK power network and earning you money. Your app will tell you how much money you’ve made by doing this.
    From <https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/new-and ... arthreepin>
  • ComicGeekComicGeek Forumite
    1.2K Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Supply of panels and batteries can't meet the current demand levels, let alone all houses in the UK.

    Smart grids have been discussed for decades, I remember being told that it would revolutionise everything when I start working in the industry over 20 years ago. But it requires government to implement, as the investment and infrastructure costs are too large for utility companies to bear themselves. It also requires intrusion into private households to force/bribe people to join, which most people would be suspicious of - think of the public reaction to smart meters, let alone a whole smart electricity system!

    I already run my house off solar and batteries, using low off peak tariffs. But my EV isn't automatically set up as V2G, and my charging point definitely isn't, so there's a big disconnect that can never be managed by the market alone - it needs government intervention/control to succeed. If you leave it to markets to decide then you will get numerous and incompatible competing technologies that help no one.
  • EctophileEctophile Forumite
    6.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Lithium Ion batteries are expensive.  Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries are slightly cheaper and hold slightly less energy.  The cost of fitting batteries throughout the country would be huge.

    There are lots of other storage solutions being prototyped, but the government doesn't seem interested in funding them seriously.  If you plonk a big evergy storage unit next to each major substation, then it doesn't matter if it's big and heavy, so long as it's cheap.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • theoldmisertheoldmiser Forumite
    52 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    ComicGeek said:
    Supply of panels and batteries can't meet the current demand levels, let alone all houses in the UK.

    Smart grids have been discussed for decades, I remember being told that it would revolutionise everything when I start working in the industry over 20 years ago. But it requires government to implement, as the investment and infrastructure costs are too large for utility companies to bear themselves. It also requires intrusion into private households to force/bribe people to join, which most people would be suspicious of - think of the public reaction to smart meters, let alone a whole smart electricity system!

    I already run my house off solar and batteries, using low off peak tariffs. But my EV isn't automatically set up as V2G, and my charging point definitely isn't, so there's a big disconnect that can never be managed by the market alone - it needs government intervention/control to succeed. If you leave it to markets to decide then you will get numerous and incompatible competing technologies that help no one.
    If the supply of batteries (I guess the average house would need 30 - 50Kw/hr of batteries) can't meet the current demand for houses, how are we all supposed to buy electric cars that use a lot more batteries per car, than I am suggesting per house?

    Things are different now, due to the low cost of batteries - it has been almost impossible to afford batteries for residential solar power systems until the past two or three years.  So anything from 20 years ago doesn't apply now. I don't know what your "intrusion into private households" means - why would people be "suspicious" of their electricity company offering to put batteries into their house, to give them reliable electricity? Are people suspicious of having electricity meters in their houses?

    As far as "numerous and incompatible competing technologies that help no one.", that's just more nonsense. Why would a battery and inverter that gives out 240V be incompatible with anything, and why would what happens in house A have any bearing whatsoever on house B down the road, or 200 miles away? Did you even understand what I wrote in my original post?

    I run my house off solar and batteries too. I don't use low peak tariffs, I charge my batteries solely through my 12Kw of solar panels, and I don't have (and will never have) an electric car.


  • knightstyleknightstyle Forumite
    6.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    Forumite
    In France many farmers took advantage of a scheme where they got a free large barn covered with solar panels and the company building them got the money from the electricity generated for 20 years.
    I wonder why we don't have a similar scheme?
Sign In or Register to comment.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Boost your Nectar points

Get up to £25 this Saturday

MSE News

Preparing for summer

What MoneySaving things can you do now to get ready?

MSE Forum

Hot Diamonds 40% off code

Including already-reduced outlet stock

MSE Deals