Solar panels and energy storage: the next big thing?

on December 29, 2017

On a dark and chilly winter day, generating your own electricity from solar panels perhaps isn’t at the top of your thoughts. But there’s a growing trend of linking your solar panels to a home battery to store your electricity for later.

The likes of Tesla and Nissan have both launched home batteries that are slim enough that you might not want to hide them away – but they come with a big price tag. Meanwhile, Ikea’s offer of solar and storage claims to save the average household up to 70% on their annual electricity bill.

Energy companies are also getting in on the act, including Eon and EDF Energy – both now sell solar panels paired with home batteries.

We’ve taken a look at what these brands and more are offering, plus how home batteries work, and what you need to think about if you’re considering buying one.

Tesla, Nissan and top brands’ home energy storage

An energy storage system, or home battery, lets you capture electricity so you can use it at a time that suits you. This could be electricity generated by your solar panels or wind turbine, or it could be electricity from the grid at a time when it’s cheaper, if you have a time-of-use tariff.

Tesla’s Powerwall is one of the best-known examples of this relatively new technology, from a company better known for its electric cars. The Powerwall links with the Tesla app, so you can check how much electricity you have stored, solar panel generation (if you have them), and car charging.

Costing around £5,900, Tesla claims it makes ‘almost no noise’ and is ‘maintenance free’. Fellow car manufacturer Nissan has launched xStorage, which reuses Nissan’s electric vehicle batteries to store energy at home. Nissan claims it’s the ‘most reliable and affordable home energy storage solution on the market’. It costs £4,850 upwards, but has a smaller capacity than the Tesla. Varta has a 130-year tradition of making batteries, so perhaps it’s no surprise that it’s an early entrant into home energy storage. It currently makes home batteries that are around the size of a washing machine, which it says give customers ‘energy autonomy’. Its systems cost from £3,380.

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Which UKSolar panels and energy storage: the next big thing?