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Preparing for batteries

February 28, 2022

It’s been the Holy Grail of energy security for many years now, but is battery storage about to make that all-important breakthrough, revolutionising the use of solar power? 

BeBa Energy UK are convinced that battery technology is close to reaching the crucial point at which the life of the hardware is longer than the pay-back period of the installation.

When that happens – something we predict will be in the next 18 months or so – storing the energy solar PV systems generate during the day so that it can be used at night will be a compelling and attractive proposition.

This will come as music to the ears of many businesses who currently export surplus energy to the National Grid when they would much rather be using it to run their own facilities. 

And with energy prices only going in one direction, businesses would clearly rather use their own ‘free’ electricity than export it in the day and buy it back at a much higher rate overnight.

“The pendulum is starting to shift significantly as the technology improves and the cost of power from the grid continues to rise at an alarming rate,”

said Stephen Palmer, Managing Director | BeBa

“Up until recently, the cost of installing batteries meant investors could still be paying for them after they had reached the end of their useful life.

“But things are changing, and with energy prices out of control, it’s only a matter of time before batteries are a viable proposition.”

But it’s not quite that simple.

 “The benefits of investing in battery technology, the payback period involved, and the optimum set up needed to support that investment will depend entirely on the individual circumstances of the business.”

said Darren Oliver, Technical Director | BeBa

“Any reputable developer will want to see a wide range of data in order to make a sensible judgment and provide accurate and reliable advice to the potential customer – and now is the time to start gathering that data. You need to be thinking ahead unless you want to be taking an important decision based on lots of assumptions.”

“In my view, the business case for batteries will move from interesting to compelling in the next 18 months to two years, but without data any proposal will clearly be based on a lot of guesswork. With the right data, businesses can get an accurate picture of when battery storage will become not just viable but critical to the success of their business.”

While many solar PV installations now have some monitoring technology in place, this varies from site to site, with some farms recording daily solar generation and some offering half-hourly detail. In order to make an informed judgment about battery technology, though, businesses need more.

“BeBa Energy UK – and other reliable developers – would want to know how much renewable energy was being generated across the site, how much was being exported to the grid and when, and how much is being bought off the grid to meet demand – ideally across a whole year.” 

“This will be even more important as ‘time of use’ charging plays a bigger part in future energy policy. At that stage, having a battery source will be critical to avoiding the highest grid charges at whatever time of day they may be imposed.”

“Businesses that want to be in a strong position to make an intelligent decision about investing in battery technology in the timescale I predict will be the right one should really be putting monitoring in place now. Otherwise they could miss out – or be forced to make a decision based on guesswork.”

“BeBa Energy UK has always believed that it’s the business or investor who needs to make the decision on solar PV based on our accurate, high-level interpretation of the data they provide, and that’s equally true for battery technology – perhaps more so.”

Batteries also provide a reliable, low-carbon backup for power cuts, which we believe will be more frequent as the country relies more on renewables ahead of the next generation of nuclear power stations coming on stream.

“Replacing diesel generators with stored solar power has to be a good thing, In time, even sites without solar PV will have batteries. It’s not if, but when – and by fitting monitoring equipment now, that ‘when’ will be driven by data, not guesswork.”

Shaun Beattie, Director | BeBa

In my view, the business case for batteries will move from interesting to compelling in the next 18 months to two years

Be Smarter.
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