Greenologic MD Zuber Vindhani explains why cost-effective energy storage is the missing link to ensure the long term viability of solar PV.
Businesses and consumers alike are quickly beginning to realise that the true value of solar PV lies in the long-term energy cost savings that systems can deliver, rather than just the benefits from the government incentives. This will become increasingly more evident as, over time, financial incentives will become smaller and energy costs will rise.
Together with the introduction of state-of-the art energy management systems and storage options now more widely available, installers can offer an enhanced solar PV installation that will generate tangible energy savings and future-proofing energy supply – in addition to the financial rewards from micro-generation.
Cost effective energy storage has been considered the missing link to ensure the viability of solar PV for the long term. Development of this market has been hindered by high cost, intrusive installation, and limits in the overall lifespan of existing solutions.
As the Department of Energy and Climate Change deems mass export metering to be too complex and costly, owners of solar PV can benefit from an additional export tariff deemed at 50 percent of electricity generated – in combination with their feed-in tariff (FiT). However, market feedback suggests, attention is gradually shifting away from the financial incentives in a move towards energy efficient measures which will effectively reduce reliance on \”The Big Six\” energy suppliers. Indeed, research firm Nanotech suggests that the solar storage market will be driven by a decline in costs of PV modules and a reduction in Government support for solar power.
Government interventionist policies and measures to stimulate renewable uptake have undoubtedly played a pivotal role in the development of the renewable industry in the UK. By taking heed of our European counterparts, more precise measures can be taken to successfully advocate and promote the uptake of effective renewable energy storage. Germany has recently announced its strategy to subsidise consumers’ purchases of battery systems with which to store solar energy. Considered by many to be a pioneering development, other industry specialists believe this move to be short-term in nature, forecasting budgeted funding to run dry before any large scale impact can be effected.
A recent study by IMS Research reports 2.5 GW of solar PV storage is expected to be installed in the UK by 2015. Its survey of over 400 manufacturers, suppliers and integrators suggests a clear appetite for energy storage primarily amongst residential PV customers who, having made the investment into renewable energy, are striving to maximise their own consumption of the energy they are generating.
Whilst research and innovation in this growing sector continues to progress, the market has to date leaned towards alternative, lower cost solutions to self-generated energy. Hot water storage has been viewed as the next best alternative to battery based systems – storing surplus energy as hot water for use throughout the day, placing less strain on the more common heating methods such as gas; considered as a back-up to our normal DHW procurement.
Cost effective energy storage has been recognised as the key to ensuring the viability of solar PV for the long-term. Whilst this is now seen as the way forward, the ideal installation must also address the technical aspects of power modulation to typical appliances such as an immersion heater.
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