With battery storage set to grow in the next few years there are many people that are interested in looking at this technology but there are also a wide variety of reasons that people are doing so.
Up until now most people that have used batteries to store their energy have been those that have been in situations where it was not possible, either for economical or proximity reasons to connect to the electricity grid. However, there are now many more reasons that people are considering battery storage and many more questions people are asking about the batteries they are looking at.
Over the last 5 – 10 years there has been a big push to install rooftop solar panels to capture electricity to use on the building the panels are installed on. This was encouraged by governments as they introduced feed-in tariffs to encourage people to install solar. This was so successful, as the general public took up these offers that governments soon decreased the feed-in tariffs and now they are extremely low or non-existent, depending on your state.
Stick it up the power companies
One of the most common reasons we hear for wanting to purchase batteries is to “stick it up the power companies”. Many people feel that being paid 5-7 cents per kWh for any electricity they generate that’s put back into the electricity grid, then paying 25-40 cents, and sometimes even more, for any power they use to be an uneven equation and want to become energy independent to avoid this inequity. Added to this, electricity prices are rising at an increasing rate and people are thinking of battery storage to avoid ever increasing prices.
Solar panels convert the sun’s rays into electricity during the day with maximum generation being between the hours of 11 to 3pm, unfortunately, for most people unless you are home during the day 80% of this power gets fed back into the grid for very little return. Then when you need to use the power you are buying it from the grid at a much higher cost.
Until now, one of the biggest problems with the efforts to use renewable energy to produce large amounts of the energy consumed on a daily basis has been its inability to reliably supply power at the times it is most needed. This can and will be addressed with the installation of battery systems that allow households and businesses to store renewable energy for use in peak periods and minimise expensive evening electricity rates.
Guarantee of supply – stability
The next most common reason we hear for wanting to utilise energy storage batteries is for power security. Many people purchase solar arrays and /or add energy storage batteries to an existing system in the belief that this will protect themselves against power outages.
However, solar arrays on their own won’t do this as they are disconnected when the power goes out to make sure no power inadvertently gets transferred back into the grid to cause problems with anyone working on the lines. The same applies to some batteries. To continue to have power when the grid goes down you need to have a battery that is capable of and configured to be able to work independently from the grid.
Violent storms are becoming more common and are being made worse by climate change as the world heats up and weather patterns change. Windy winter weather tends to bring trees down on power lines, cutting off your power supply. For many people the need to protect themselves from power outages is becoming a more and more common occurrence and it is not unusual for it to take days for the power to be reconnected, particularly if you are not on a main line and other lines take priority.
Sometimes people lose power due to storm damage to power lines but often it is power being cut off by power companies so that they can do maintenance on the lines.
Up until now most people that have used batteries to store their energy have been those that have been in situations where it was not possible, either for economical or proximity reasons to connect to the electricity grid. These people have mostly used lead acid batteries which are definitely a tested technology but it does have a number of limitations, mainly in terms of maintenance, temperature control and limited depth of discharge.
These people , who are often classified as early adopters, are now looking at new battery technologies that are more reliable and require less maintenance than traditional lead acid batteries.
There are a number of situations, both domestic but also for business where people must have an uninterrupted power supply. This may be for medical reasons where people have to have machinery running at all times. This may be a CPAP machine to help people breathe while they sleep or it may be a dialysis machine or ventilator..
There are a number of business situations where continual power supply is critical and is often supplied by generators. Reliable batteries are a perfect solution for these situations. These may be where electronic equipment is required like banks or telecommunication industries or it may be hospitals or supermarkets.
Protection of the environment
For many people the main reason for installing batteries is to reduce reliance on coal powered energy generation to protect the environment for future generations. It’s about making the world a more equitable place for all, humans, plants and animals alike.