Storing solar energy


A domestic solar energy storage system in use in Germany, which can store electricity on site, has now been ‘tailored’ for use with the single phase electricity supply used in Britain. A three-phase version is available for commercial installations.

sunbatAt last year’s Solar Power UK event at the NEC in Birmingham and at this month’s Ecobuild exhibition in London, Solar ENLES Ltd (Notts) launched the SunBat storage system, which can be installed as part of a new solar project or retrofitted to an existing system. The company predicts that it may meet up to 75% of the homeowner’s electricity needs.

Robin Whitlock of Solar Guide reports that ‘SunBat’ has a storage capacity range from 9.6kWh (lead-gel) to 15.8kWh (lithium-ion) batteries. A 6kW inverter copes with high demand when running on batteries. The system’s intelligent energy management controller monitors power production and use and diverts the excess, allowing users to control how their stored energy is used and managing the charging cycles to prolong the life of the batteries.

An attractive feature – to this homeowner – is that the system can also act as a standby power system in the event of a power cut. However – as a Green Futures article points out – only the daily fluctuations in solar input are evened out and users will continue to draw on the grid more heavily in winter.

McKinsey analysts predict that lithion ion costs will be halved within a decade, making the return on home storage more attractive.

Alison Courtnell, managing director of Solar ENLES, believes that many people will welcome the ability to consume more of the energy they generate and that demand for green energy storage will build up as feed-in tariffs decline and grid energy costs rise.



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