It is a question which many have asked; what actually are the benefits of adding a battery to your solar photovoltaic system? To make it a little bit easier to answer, Alan Cartwright published an in-depth study on the advantages of batteries for his own solar system. His study saw substantial conclusions which may prove beneficial to anybody who hasn’t yet weighed out the strengths and weaknesses for solar batteries on their properties.
I am admittedly guilty of using general claims about solar batteries, such as ‘they are the future’ and as much as I believe this statement it is a very easy claim to make. You, just like Alan, might be feeling very frustrated by the lack of information readily available on the internet. My post about sonnenBatterie may answer some of your questions about how the newer technologies work and how they overcome some of the problems associated with solar, such as “what happens when the sun goes down?” However, Alan Cartwright helped to address the more general questions about solar batteries as a whole, so by condensing his study maybe more questions will be addressed. We never want you to feel like you’re being wrongly coerced into buying anything, perhaps batteries aren’t for you and if that is the case then we want you to know. Cartwright’s study was divided into various points like what determines the amount of charge the battery receives and the cost advantages.
Firstly, what determines how much charge the battery gets? This is important to know as to achieve the maximum benefit from a battery, it must be fully charged every single day. Obviously, with solar the most important determining factor is the amount of sunlight which falls onto the solar panels. This isn’t the only factor nonetheless, on a system which does not have a battery, during the daytime when the energy from the panels is greater than the energy required by the house, this excess would be exported to the grid, and with a battery that excess would be used to charge the battery. This means that the amount of energy consumed during the daytime will affect the charge. Actually, sonnenBatterie released a graph which perfectly highlighted this. It needs to be said that if you spend most of your days in the house, this will affect the charge. Alan Cartwright is retired and therefore needed more energy from his solar panels and consequently his battery became less charged. As a result, although batteries will ultimately do their job and give you extra energy, people who are out of the house for the majority of the day will most likely benefit from it more.
So, the most important question; what are the cost benefits to having a solar battery. Money is understandably a main consideration for many. Cartwright highlighted that for his system, despite being at home for the majority of the day the battery did save him money, and give him more energy. Of course, the solar system and battery system isn’t the answer to all our energy and environmental problems, but it is definitely a start. A battery won’t necessarily take you off ‘the grid’ but it will make you much less dependent, whilst using cheaper and greener energy for much longer durations of the day. Discussing batteries is very important, and sharing your experience with them may influence somebody else who has a similar schedule or solar system to you. Cartwright recognised that during the winter months, the battery served him little use. However, in a house which uses little energy during the day, the results would be different.
Batteries will, no matter the household, help when the demand for power is higher. In Germany, the importance placed on batteries is extremely different, and their use of renewable energy is admirable. This trend seems to be trickling to the UK and we can only imagine the amazing benefits that this will have on individual households and the environment as a whole. If you would like to read Alan Cartwright’s study we can send it to you.