What Is Battery Storage? What Are The Benefits Of An Energy Storage System?

home energy storage

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What Is A Battery Storage System (BESS)?

In the UK, small-scale on-site residential and commercial renewable energy systems have become quite common, allowing green electricity generation and consumption on-site. Though any renewable energy system can be used for on-site generation, small-scale solar PV systems and small-scale wind turbines, are the predominant technologies deployed. For solar PV generation, we have witnessed significant growth in the use of available rooftops (residential and business) to install solar panels.

The UK energy generation and distribution framework continues to evolve rapidly, in ways, that the centralised large-scale energy generation plants are becoming less important to the overall energy generation (mix) and energy consumption architecture. Put simply, many consumers (business and families) have become generators and consumers of green electricity on-site.

We can expect this small-scale distributed and on-site generation and consumption model to continue to gain popularity, as households and businesses reduce their reliance on grid supplied power (mostly fossil fuels). Though there are many reasons for this shift in generation and consumption, three key factors have led the way: improved technology, cleaner energy (lower environmental impact) and financial savings.

So far, despite the increase in the deployment of on-site renewable energy installations, a significant limitation has been the ability to store electricity generated by renewable energy systems for use at a later time. However, this is now set to change, with the rapid emergence and popularity of energy storage systems, for both, small-scale and large-scale applications. The availability of battery storage solutions continues to widen, with lower acquisition costs and improved performance.

With battery storage systems, the electricity generated can be stored and used when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing! This has resulted in increasing the benefits of owning and generating renewable energy on-site! Battery storage systems are also referred to as energy storage systems. We can expect home energy storage systems to become an integral part of most residential dwellings, just as, on-site renewable energy systems are fast becoming an integral part of the UK generation mix. The same also applies to battery storage systems for commercial buildings.

Bottom-line, energy storage systems offer a compelling environmental and financial proposition for both, residential and business consumers.

energy storage
Energy Storage System (credit: SUNSYNK)

Battery Storage : The Basics
What is battery storage?Also known as an energy storage system, it allows electricity to be stored for use at a later time, usually at a time when electricity tariff prices are higher (usually, peak times/ periods).
Can a battery storage system be used for both residential and commercial buildings?Yes, a battery storage can be used for most buildings that consume power, whether a home, office or even a factory. The only difference would be the size (capacity kWh) of the battery storage unit. For most homes, it is usually between 5 kW to 10 kWh. For homes with electric cars, the required battery storage capacity will generally be higher, than for homes without electric cars. Commercial premises will need larger battery storage systems.
Is it mandatory for a renewable energy system to be installed on-site to leverage energy storage technology?No. However, those with an on-site PV system or wind generation, can gain significantly more from a combined solar PV system + energy storage or wind turbine + energy storage system. The energy storage system can store the surplus renewable energy. For those premises without on-site renewable energy generation, the energy storage can be leveraged to store grid generated electricity at times of lower prices.
Can a renewable energy system be added to an energy storage system at a later date?Yes. It is a relatively straightforward process and also gives the consumer an opportunity to increase the size of the energy storage system, if required.
How much does a battery storage system cost?It depends on the capacity (kWh) of the energy storage system. The larger the capacity, the higher the initial investment. Prices for home energy storage systems commence from £2,000. Commercial battery storage systems are more expensive.
Does an energy storage system require a lot of maintenance?No. In general energy-storage systems are relatively maintenance free, and such systems usually have a 10 year warranty.
Can I combine energy storage with EV charging?Absolutely. In fact, the combination of on-site renewable energy generation, energy storage and EV charging offers significant financial and environmental benefits.
Do battery storage systems also use Lithium-ion?Yes. As is the case for an onboard EV battery, most energy storage systems also tend to use Lithium-ion batteries. In fact, some energy storage manufacturers are using the onboard EV battery from a used electric car. As an example, the onboard EV battery from used Nissan Leaf electric cars are currently being used by energy storage manufacturers.
Which companies offer energy storage products?Tesla, LG Energy, SUNSYNK and Moixa are examples of companies offering battery storage products for residential and business customers.

Battery Storage : Top Benefits
Financial savings:Battery storage allows residential and business customers to save on energy bills, by storing energy (electricity), using renewable energy or lower-cost grid sourced power, to consume at times of higher electricity tariff rates (peak rates).
Clean and renewable energy:Homes or businesses generating on-site renewable energy, combined with a battery storage system, further leverage the benefits of clean energy, by allowing higher consumption of emission-free electricity i.e. a more sustainable and lower carbon footprint for the dwelling or business premises. It also helps us achieve ‘Net Zero‘.
Energy independence: Both families and businesses can enhance energy independence by using battery storage, coupled with on-site renewable energy generation. In particular, for regions with less stable grid supply and those homes or buildings off-grid (i.e. not connected to grid supply).
Earn money:In some countries, during times of peak demand, electricity can be sold to the grid or energy supplier, earning the generator an additional income stream. In the UK, the government offers the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). If you generate renewable electricity in your home or business, you can feed back into the grid any electricity that you don’t use. Under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) you will be paid for every unit of electricity that you feed back. You won’t be paid for any that you use yourself.

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Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include, the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising large-scale industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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