According to research by Energy Live News, £9.5 billion is lost each year merely through the wasted energy of the UK population; this accumulates to a vast 54% of the total energy produced. With this in mind, along with the detrimental effect that global warming is having on the environment, it has now become more important than ever to begin considering the use of renewable energy. Renewable energy, by definition, is an energy that has been collected via natural sources and can be organically replenished on a human timescale. Examples of sources can be anything from sunlight and geothermal heat to rain and waves.
To maximise your efficiency when using renewable energy and to reduce your fuel bills, along with carbon emissions, as much as possible, we strongly recommend implementing an energy storage system. To give an insight into precisely what battery energy storage systems are and their benefits, take a look at our full guide!
What Are Battery Energy Storage Systems?
Battery energy storage systems, also known as BESS, are systems that store energy via battery technology; all of which are rechargeable using a combination of solar energy and energy from the electric grid. They are known as an “all in one” system that boasts ease of installation and use, thanks to the built-in computerised system and converter. Battery storage systems are incredibly eco-friendly as all excess unused energy will be stored for a later date as opposed to being wasted. The sustainable source of energy can also be used as part of both electricity plans for the home and business electricity.
The process of creating and storing battery energy is somewhat straightforward. Due to the advanced technology used in systems that cannot be found in regular batteries, the steps will always remain both streamlined and seamless. During step one, the battery storage system is fully charged using entirely clean energy from solar sources; more simply, the natural light and heat from the sun. Once charged, the system can move onto step two. Here the battery software coordinates the solar production with factors such as estimated usage, weather patterns and rate structures to decide how storage would then be used. During step 3, the last stage, the energy can be used during times of high usage to reduce the demand charges. It is thought that in the future, battery energy storage will have the capabilities to eliminate all forms of demand charges.
Battery Technology Used For Systems
Energy storage is a particularly broad topic meaning that there are many different ways to store and manage power. The option that you choose is based on whether you are a domestic or commercial user, along with whether you need to system to work as a standalone device or alongside a photovoltaic system, more commonly known as solar panels. Below are the four main types of technology to choose from:
- Solid-State Batteries – As solid-state batteries are paired with advanced software, it enables the system to charge and discharge energy based on the requirements of the building. The overall usage, weather patterns and past usage are all taken into consideration before creating a plan.
- Flywheels – Flywheels systems are somewhat unique as they store electricity as kinetic energy. Kinetic energy, by definition, is the energy that an object possesses due to its motion, which can be tracked by the object’s movement. Regardless of whether the power of a flywheels system increases or decreases, the rotor will continue to spin. Due to the constant movement of the rotor, the kinetic energy is used to create electricity.
- Flow Batteries – For those seeking a longer lifecycle, a flow battery system would be ideal. Flow batteries are rechargeable and store energy in an electrolyte solution. An electrolyte solution is made using ions, atoms or molecules that have lost or gained electrons. Solutions are always electrically conductive, allowing the energy to be passed through the system through an electric current.
- Thermal Storage – As the most self-explanatory technology types, thermal storage allows energy to be temporarily reserved in the form of heat or cold. Systems convert the excess energy into either heat or ice when rates are low during off-peak hours to avoid wastage. Ice storage is one of the most common types of thermal technology. During off-peak hours, the system creates ice and then as demand increases, the air conditioning will be turned off, and the ice will begin to melt.
Benefits of Battery Energy Storage Systems
The transition to battery energy storage systems can most definitely benefit anyone aiming to utilise a more clean form of energy; including both commercial and domestic property owners. According to research by The Energy Saving Trust, opting to fit a battery energy storage system can lower electricity bills by approximately £137 for domestic users alone. The investment will be repaid entirely in just 20 years. With this in mind, we have put together the most valuable benefits of fitting systems to delve deeper into how you can dramatically improve your carbon footprint.
Peak shaving is more advantageous to commercial settings as solar panels alone will not provide enough power to the building. It involves the process of reducing the amount of energy used during peak hours. Businesses are required to pay a demand charge, which is thought to make up to 70% of their overall energy bills. Demand charges are an additional fee that is charged to non-residential energy users to maintain their continuous supply of electricity. The more energy used during peak hours, the higher the demand charge. Peak shaving enables individuals to set a threshold of the amount of power taken from the grid during peak hours; therefore reducing their demand charge and saving money.
Again, another feature of battery energy storage systems that is more beneficial to commercial users. Load shifting is the process of moving electricity from one time period to another. Batteries can be charged using free solar energy or power from the grid outside of peak hours when it is cheapest then saved for high-demand times of the day.
Meet Sustainability Goals
As mentioned previously, the use of a battery energy storage system can significantly contribute towards reaching your sustainability goals, thanks to its many environmental benefits. The systems enable users to have a broader range of renewable energy to choose from. They can decide based on their requirements the ratio of renewable energy to power from the grid they will use. All systems come alongside no forms of emissions, meaning that they can be placed anywhere and will have no impact on the air quality.
Particularly when operating as a large-scale commercial or industrial organisation, back-up energy remains vitally important in ensuring that operations can continue in the event of a power outage. A power outage relates to a short or long-term loss of electric power, more commonly known as a power cut. Systems can be used not only to save money but also to store back-up power, which will eliminate the need to invest in additional resilience plan resources.
Potential For Microgrids
Opting to invest in battery energy storage systems opens individuals up to the potential to build microgrids through the use of purely renewable energy. Microgrids are simply a smaller version of the national electrical grids used to power the country. They are used to supply energy to a small group of users who would like to use only locally produced, renewable power. When building a microgrid, it will need to be connected to the national grid from a single point. However, it can be disconnected in the event of a power cut. During a power cut, those who use a microgrid can continue to carry on, as usual, using their own power.
For more information on the use of microgrids, take a look at energuide.be.
Smart Operation Options
Almost all storage systems for the home allow the option to utilise smart operations. Smart options enable individuals to keep track of their energy usage online and tailor the system based on their requirements. For instance, if they notice that the electricity rate is low at particular times of the day, they can programme for their batteries to be changes when tariffs are cheaper. Ultimately, saving money and creating a more eco-friendly home.
Use Battery Energy Storage Systems To Your Advantage!
As stated in an insightful article by Carbon Brief, the CO2 emissions of the UK have, in fact, dropped by 38%. This figure is significantly more than any other major developed country in the world, which means that the populations growing efforts to create a more eco-friendly nation are proving successful. Use this fantastic statistic as motivation to play a role in helping to improve Britain’s emissions even further. You can never make too many lifestyle changes, as small as they may seem, to lower your carbon footprint.
If you are noticing that your gas bills are continuing to rise and hoping to switch to a more sustainable provider, then please feel free to contact Ampower. There are a number of affordable residential gas plans available, all of which are constructed bespoke to your properties fuel consumption and can be used alongside an energy storage system.