Two is better than one, and battery storage is always a great way to compliment any Solar PV system. Batteries are emerging as one of the key solutions to integrate efficient carbon-neutral systems for any home or business, because when there is excess power in the property, the battery will store it ready to be used at a later date. This can really reduce your grid dependency and your electricity bill.
Batteries are paving the way towards an ozone-friendly future
As the world starts transitioning away from fossil fuels, we acknowledge and appreciate the initial stages of its invention. The first real development of batteries date as far back as 250 BC, known as the Baghdad Battery. Fast forward to the 21st century, batteries primarily powered our phones and computers but with advance technology they are now powering our cars, homes and businesses too.
It’s a great leap forward and we have certainly come a long way with the ever-growing development in batteries. With the correct battery and solar combination, you can really make a difference to the environment and enjoy an abundance of free/low-cost solar electricity, especially in the summer going into winter when solar doesn’t particularly perform as well. Now with advance technology, batteries can control the time for when you buy your energy physically from the grid which is a great function to have as lots of energy companies offer cheap night-time tariffs. Note that buying low-cost energy when carbon intensity on the grid is low is a profitable gain, a great way to control your energy cost and to reduce your carbon footprint.
Most batteries are software controlled, meaning that as technology improves, the battery does not become out-dated. This is really important as technology is moving quickly and in some parts of the UK, energy providers are already trialling different ways to use batteries. These trials include load balancing and optimising when you buy and sell energy from the grid.
Overall, these are worthy trials because wholesale energy prices fluctuate throughout the day typically increasing at peak times and reducing at night. In the future, we are likely to see a more renewable-fuelled world with supporting software that further utilises batteries.
Electric vehicles are a key subsequent to transport systems and SolarCentric’s green enthusiast and Sales Director, John Bloomfield, made what he considered an easy decision when finally switching to an EV. Before undertaking an EV, John addressed several areas for consideration: the range, infrastructure and the amount of available support for breakdowns and fast chargers. John’s experience speaks volumes on how much EV has evolved and developed over the years:
What were your initial steps before investing in an EV?
John: In order to progress my decision, I first of all created a spreadsheet to determine running costs and how this matched my available budget. Initially I was surprised at all the costs involved when it came to an EV.
I soon discovered that these expenses were outweighed by cheaper running costs. For example; in my diesel car, fuel will cost roughly £80 and would get me 500 miles, whereas 500 miles in an EV would cost me a predicted £9.38 when charged overnight using Octopus GO 5p a kilowatt. Even at the more expensive day rate of 15p per kilowatt, my total came to around £28.14, it was then effortless to switch to EV.
In regard to cheaper fuel costs, EVs have very few moving parts, therefore, require a lot less servicing, and another advantage for EVs is that they come with multiple tax benefits. At the time of my switch, the government had just expanded Salary Sacrifice for employees considering EVs. This is a great scheme which enables you to lease an EV and pay for it out of your salary before tax, saving you and your employer money. Since then, the government have announced 0% BIK (Benefit in Kind) on EVs.
Now that you have invested in your EV, have you noticed any other qualities along the way?
John: Having convinced myself that an EV was affordable I proceeded to order my new Tesla, taking advantage of the Salary Sacrifice scheme with the knowledge that owning a car this expensive would now be possible within my budget due to the savings on tax, fuel and services. Once I owned and started driving my EV I discovered that the tyres also lasted longer, and the predicted fuel savings were in fact better because there are plenty of places that have free EV charging points; including hotels, pubs, restaurants and public car parks.
I have now been an EV owner for 18 months and I have travelled just short of 50,000 miles, I am very pleased to report, all the financial predictions have proved accurate, and due to the amount of places you can charge for free, I have definitely underspent on charging. I have found that I use fast charging facilities a lot less than I anticipated, and I charge overnight at home when my travel is only to my office. Often, I travel more than 200 miles in a day and occasionally I need to charge while traveling between sites. To make better use of my time while charging, I’ll grab a coffee and catch up on emails.
Once you settle into life as an EV driver, you soon realise that standing at the pump is inconvenient and, in my opinion, a very unsatisfying way to spend your money.
To summarise, I am very happy with my decision to switch to an EV and even though there is a necessary element of planning before starting a journey, the infrastructure and technology surrounding EVs is improving rapidly and it’s great that there are mobile apps that show locations for chargers.