Can I add batteries to existing solar?

Do you have an existing solar array and are you wondering if you can add a battery to make the most of the sun’s power but when you need it most? Keep reading for help and advice on whether it’s worth adding battery power to your solar system. So, can I add batteries to existing solar?

If you have had a solar system fitted in the last three years then you are definitely going to be thinking about battery storage, if you haven’t already. That’s because the Feed in Tariff (FIT) that existed until March 31st 2019 has since been replaced with the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) and this new form of payment seems to only be smart for the power companies themselves! They have to offer customers who feed into the grid above 0.00 pence per kWh – so generous! So compared to the old system of relatively generous financial reward, that would help pay off your solar installation, or make it worth while for companies to ‘rent a roof’, the benefit now is in using your energy and storing it for evening and weekend use.

What about the Feed-In Tariff?

If you still have access to the FIT you may be happy with the service and kick back but you are still likely to be paying way more for the additional energy that you use than the energy that you export. Did you know that you can continue to export an to the grid and store excess energy for your own use? So why not just keep it? Store it. Use it. You can store it in batteries, heat batteries and in hot water as a thermal store. You can languish in a long hot bath with the abundance of hot water that you produce with some careful power management.

thinking hot water supply solar leaping hare electrical & renewables
Turn solar into hot water

You can also add more solar panels and battery storage even if you are already receiving the benefits off the FIT.

Smart Export Guarantee

Octopus Energy led the way with their own version of the SEG called outgoingOctopus very quickly after the FIT tariffs came to and end and before the SEG came in in 2020. In the 9 months in-between there was no obligation for the energy companies to pay customers anything for their exports.

Their outgoingOctopus deal features dynamic pricing, paying you at different rates every half an hour based on the wholesale price of energy at that time of day. If you have a regular consumption tariff with them, they’ll credit you for your ‘exported’ energy on your energy statements, right alongside the energy you are ‘importing’ – not on a separate statement.

They offer two Outgoing tariffs – Fixed or Agile. Outgoing Fixed guarantees 7.5p per kWh for every unit you export. Outgoing Agile matches your half-hourly prices with day-ahead wholesale rates, helping you make the most of the energy you generate. You’ll need a smart meter installed and the switch over should take about 14 days.

Octopus are doing what all good energy companies should, by alerting their customers when the prices are low they can enable their customers to make the most of cheap energy. This means that, when their ids more energy being generated (from wind for example) you could make sure the car is charged, fill up the batteries, heat the water and get the washing machine on!

It’s worth noting that you can’t receive both the FIT and the SEG but you can switch to the SEG if the supplier is offering a better deal.

The best of both worlds

As with the FIT, you can still benefit from solar battery storage and use the the SEG. You really can have the best of both worlds!

Harness as much of the sun’s power as you can and use it – it’s free!

Charging an electric car

my energi leaping hare electrical & renewables
myenergi make it smart

If you have or are thinking about getting an electric car then you have a battery! Making the most of the sun’s energy to fill up the car battery is a no brainer. But has your solar been set up to make the most of the solar array? myenergi developed the eddi and then the zappi specifically to harness and divert the sun’s energi. Since then other manufacturers have followed suit offering ‘smart’ car chargers. If you are thinking of adding a car charger then carefully considering how it uses the energy and balances the energy use of the home.

The average electric car battery is 40kWh, with some batteries having up to 100kWh. Your Electric Vehicle can soak up all of that solar power if you are able to charge it during the day. But if you are our during the day and you need to charge it at night then installing solar batteries is the obvious solution. The batteries charge up during the day and then that power is transferred into the car over night. You are going to need a decent amount of battery back up to pair the battery power of your car. The Alpha ESS Smile B3 offers a 2.9kWh – 17.4kWh as a modular system.

alpha ess battery solar rental cottage leaping hare electrical & renewables
Alpha ESS SMILE B3 is modular

So, can I add batteries to existing solar?

Whatever set up you have it now needs to be smart and the various elements need to work together holistically, and with the grid to provide you with the best value from the investment in renewable technologies. What we all need to do is to think our energy use differently, to be aware of the companies that are acting cleverly, the tariffs that benefit us the most and design systems in our homes and businesses that intelligently make us as energy secure as possible.

We need to store our energy during the day and to make it available for use later in the day. We need to use the power of the sun to charge our vehicles, to heat our water, to wash our clothes. And when the sun goes down we need to maximise the power potential through battery storage. So, if you have solar you can and should benefit from battery storage in fact you’d be crazy not to!

Heat batteries rock!

One of the key challenges that the transition to low carbon heat poses is how we store heat. We will have more electricity available at times of high renewable generation and less on a calm, cloudy day for example. Smoothing out these peaks and troughs in supply and demand is important – reducing the need for more power stations and infrastructure – and making sure we have heat when we need it. And that’s where heat batteries rock!

thinking hot water supply solar leaping hare electrical & renewables
Hot water that doesn’t cost the earth

Thermal batteries store heat for hot water

Thermal batteries can help store heat for hot water or heating systems much more efficiently and using renewable sources. Scottish company Sunamp has developed a compact thermal battery, which is smaller than a hot water tank. Sunamp’s compact thermal stores are designed to have a lifespan of up to 50 years. The product range includes the world’s most compact and most energy efficient alternative to hot water cylinders and storage water heaters.

Connected to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind turbines or heat pumps, Sunamp heat batteries support net zero heating and hot water, using less energy than other forms of thermal storage, and taking up a fraction of the space.

The space saving benefits make the heat battery a welcome addition to a low carbon plan. They are just one of the technologies that we install for our customers as part of a holistic approach to energy use in homes and businesses.

Benefits of Sunamp’s heat battery

  • Space-saving: up to 4 times smaller than hot water cylinder it replaces
  • Enables heat pump systems to be installed where otherwise they wouldn’t fit
  • Lower heat losses: up to 4 times higher energy efficiency
  • High flow rate hot water
  • Instantaneously heated for hygiene and freshness
  • Fast and easy to install: no tundish, no discharge pipework, no T&P safety valve to maintain
  • No mandatory annual maintenance
  • Market-leading 10-year warranty on the heating element

And that’s why heat batteries rock!

Home Owners – Whether you’re planning to improve your existing property or embarking on a new self-build home project, Sunamp’s eco-friendly, safe, efficient and compact heat batteries will integrate perfectly with your preferred heating controls to deliver cascades of hot water to your dream home.

Developers – Incorporate a renewable energy system into your housing projects with Sunamp heat batteries, to deliver environmental benefits, save space and improve cost efficiencies. Sunamp’s bespoke design can be tailored to meet your exact size requirements, and additional storage can easily be added further down the line.

Social Housing Projects Replace gas boilers and hot water cylinders, cut carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty by introducing Sunamp thermal batteries into new and existing housing stock. Tried and tested, and already providing hot water in thousands of homes around the UK, Sunamp heat batteries require little or no maintenance, are easy to install, carry no risk of legionella and work with a wide choice of energy sources.

developer- landlord leaping hare electrical & renewables
New build developments can benefit from heat battery technologies

We know that our customers want to save money, reduce their carbon footprint and have greater control of their power use. With energy prices expected to continue rising, and selling power back to the grid no longer being of great benefit, it makes sense that families & businesses are increasingly looking to generate and store their own green energy through solar PV, storage and EV charging points.

We provide every element of the service from advice, quotations, ordering and installation – offering a complete and local service to our customers.

OR