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!

Electrical safety for holiday lets

Electrical safety in any home is vital, and electrical safety for holiday lets is even more important. You have a duty of care to ensure that all electrical appliances, circuits and fixed installations within your property are safe and compliant with current regulations. By making sure that your holiday let property complies with electrical safety regulations, you’re protecting yourself from potential liability.

Your guide to electrical safety for holiday lets starts here!

This blog outlines electrical safety for holiday lets requirements, including what they are and how to know if your holiday let is compliant with safety standards. We hope it will give you clear guidance and peace of mind.

Electrical safety for holiday lets. 
Ensure that guests are given operating instructions for all equipment in your holiday home.
Ensure that guests are given operating instructions for all equipment in your holiday home

So, what are the electrical safety regulations for holiday lets?

Holiday let landlords have a duty to regularly carry out safety checks to ensure that the electrical appliances and fittings within the property are safe and in good working order. In addition to regular visual checks, appliances and electrics should checked and serviced regularly by a registered electrician.

You should also ensure that guests are given operating instructions for all equipment in the holiday home.

An Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) proves electrical safety for holiday lets

New regulations for all private rental landlords on electrical safety for property letting came into force on 1st June 2020. All privately rented properties must now have a valid EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) in place by 1st April 2021. Whilst this new legislation does not currently include holiday homes, this serves as an important reminder that as a holiday let owner you are required by law to ensure that all electrical appliances, circuits and fixed installations within your holiday let are safe and are not hazardous to your guests.

All holiday let owners are expected to have a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) in place. Whilst the EICR report itself is not yet a legal requirement for holiday homes, you are legally obliged to ensure the safety and upkeep of the equipment provided, so having a qualified electrician carry out an EICR report is the best way to ensure that you are protected from liability and that your guests are safe.

Holiday lets should be inspected at least every 5 years

What is an Electrical Installation Condition Report?

An EICR is a documented account produced by a qualified and competent electrician, as part of a detailed inspection of the quality of the fixed and permanently connected electrical installations in a property. This will identify if there are any hazardous faults, defects and electrical safety problems in a home.

An EICR will assess the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, like the wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and consumer unit. This will include permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors, and fixed appliances.

During the inspection, your chosen electrician will check the condition of your electrical installations against the BS 7671 IET Wiring Regulations (the UK standard for the safety of electrical installations) – think of it like an MOT for your home’s electrics.

Following the inspection, your chosen electrician will report on any electrical works that need to be carried out in order to maintain guest safety and prevent property damage. These will be categorised into priority actions, which can help property owners decide what problem areas need rectifying first, should any issues arise.

The benefit of having an EICR is that holiday home owners will have an official certificate from a qualified professional, which they can show to tenants or their local authorities if any electrical issues arise.

Although there are currently no government regulations published for holiday let owners, the government’s guide on electrical safety standards for landlords in the private sector is relevant, and further details the content of the EICR inspection.

Electrical safety for holiday lets. EICR - think of it like an MOT for your home’s electrics
EICR – think of it like an MOT for your home’s electrics

What is the cost of an EICR certificate?

The cost of an EICR certificate will vary. Things like the size and age of a property are the main determining factors of the price of a report. Generally, a two-to-three-bedroom house will cost around £250. Although the charging may be done per circuit. The price may rise for larger homes, or older properties that may have outdated wiring which will require longer checks.

Property owners will also need to factor in the cost of any remedial work required for areas that may fail the test.

How often do I need to have an electrical safety test?

As with any home, holiday properties will be subject to wear and tear, and electrical installations are bound to deteriorate with age and regular use.

It is recommended that electrical safety tests are conducted at least every five years, but the frequency of inspection and testing depends upon the type of equipment and the environment it is used in. When an electrician carries our your EICR, they may advise that your property needs to be inspected more frequently, depending on its installations, age and use.

PAT testing for holiday lets

Holiday let owners have a duty of care and are required by law to ensure that all electrical appliances within the property are safe for use. As your duty of care applies to both installed and portable electrical appliances, you should also undertake regular Portable Appliance Testing (PAT).

PAT testing is the examination of electrical appliances, checking them for safety from potential defects and hazards, through a series of visual inspections and electronic tests. This applies to electrical equipment in your holiday home such as toasters, kettles, televisions or hair driers.

While there is no specification as to how often, it’s best practice to have a qualified and competent person conduct and record PAT testing on an annual basis. To show you have taken the relevant precautions to keep your home safe, ensure that there is a clear record of when the test was carried out.

Electrical safety for holiday lets – additional advice

Here are some pointers for improving electrical safety in your holiday home:

  • Conduct visual inspections of your appliances, checking for obvious warning signs like damaged cables, scorch marks, flickering lights and hot plugs. Always consult an electrician if you are unsure.
  • Provide easy to understand operating details for all electrical appliance and facilities in your guest information. It is also worth providing guests with emergency contact details in the event of unforeseen issues or emergencies.

Electrical safety for holiday lets. Let us give you peace of mind
Let us give you peace of mind

Leaping Hare Electrical & Renewables can provide you with all the support you need to ensure that your holiday let or rental is fully compliant and that you have peace of mind. We can undertake an EICR and PAT test whilst on site, providing you with a report that puts your mind at rest. Should any remedial works be required, we will quote and you are free to use us or get alternative quotations from other registered electrical contractors.

The future of solar

The switch to solar has never made more sense. We need to continue changing how we produce energy but we also need to change how we consume it.

Growth of solar

Solar deployment is growing rapidly and becoming an increasingly important source of clean energy worldwide. The future of solar is bright and solar panel installations continue to be a viable route to net zero. By 2030, the UK will need to treble the capacity of electricity coming from solar to keep on track with delivering net zero by 2050. Every viable roof is an untapped resource that can help lead us to greater energy security in our homes and businesses.

Solar benefits

The benefit of solar was previously in the returns from the Feed in Tariffs (FIT) and the shift to Smart Export Guarantee does not yield the same benefits. However, with the cost of energy sharply rising and the move to electric vehicles in full swing, the switch to solar has actually never made more sense. Rather than exporting to the grid, we now need to think about how we can use the energy that is generated by a solar PV installation and the obvious direction is of course battery storage. Batteries are now much better, much smaller and much cheaper and help to store the green energy created during the day for household or business use in the evenings and at night. Modular systems also allow storage to grow overtime with continued investment.

A new approach to energy

white and orange gasoline nozzle

Our working practices have also changed and this means far more of us are at home during the day, benefitting from the solar energy generated. What is more an electric vehicle can be treated as the solar battery if one is at home during daylight hours. Imagine charging your car for free from the sun’s energy!

Similarly, power diverters, such as the eddi by my energi, send power to heat hot water, heat pumps, underfloor heating and heat batteries. Power diverters can cleverly load balance the house and the grid. We don’t just need to change how we produce energy but also how we consume it with the shift to being prosumers, not just consumers of energy.

By design with Leaping Hare Electrical & Renewables

A well designed and carefully considered system will maximise the power potential of your home, helping you to make the most of renewable energy to support your specific lifestyle and growing requirements to live more sustainably and securely. Let us help you get there…

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

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, battery storage and EV charging points for electric vehicles.

Future proof solutions

Want to future proof your home and lower your bills? Energy efficient solutions are here to make your home or business greener, cheaper and more energy secure.

Innovation in energy efficient solutions

Great new energy efficient solutions are now on the market. myenergi, as a company, started with the idea of diverting energy from domestic solar panels or wind turbines to hot water tanks to reduce energy consumption. Then with the idea that they could do the same with electric vehicle charging, and the realisation that the technology did not yet exist, the eddi and the zappi were born. The key to their success is the thoughtful and holistic approach that they have taken to ensure that the technology is future proof and really does reduce the money people spend on energy. Energy efficient solutions that really are future proof!

Understanding the eddi by myenergi – Fully Charged+

The company has seen extraordinary growth and this is undoubtedly linked to the amazing functionality of their products and their sustainable approach. my energi products look to load balance both the home and the grid, ensuring that their truly smart charger considers the overall functionality of your home. You don’t have to have a renewable source for a zappi to work but, if you do, you will benefit from the green energy it produces – which can be diverted into your car charging, your hot water or your household battery. The thought and development that has gone into the zappi, along with the eddi, future proofs your home and protects your main fuse by carefully and instinctively balancing the power requirements of your home.

zappi – my energi’s solar compatible car charger

Solutions from Leaping Hare Electrical & Renewables

Leaping Hare Electrical & Renewables take an holistic approach when looking to install electric vehicle chargers, household solar PV panel systems and battery storage. We want to know how you use energy in your home, what your requirements are and what you hope to achieve by installing renewable technologies so that we can design a system that meets your needs. We will help you to reduce your energy bills, reduce your energy consumption and increase your energy security. Providing energy efficient solutions that are future proof.

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.

We provide every element of the service from advice, quotations, ordering and installation – offering a complete and local service to our customers. As electrical contractors, we take an holistic view of your energy needs and offer sensible solutions tailored to your specific requirements.

We offer advice on EV Charging, Solar PV Installation, Battery Storage & Power Management