Electrical Contracting News (ECN) September 2016 - Page 33

BATTERY STORAGE “ BATTERY STORAGE ENABLES USERS TO MAXIMISE SELFCONSUMPTION GENERATED BY RENEWABLE TECHNOLOGIES. Investment Evolution The rapid evolution of battery technology has changed everything. With the latest generation of storage being much cheaper to buy, streamlined, better looking and easy to operate with many featuring a ‘plug, play, set and forget’ mechanism. No surprise then that according to a report by the Renewable Energy Agency (REA) and consultancy KPMG, the cost of battery storage technology has fallen so rapidly that within two years it will be cheap enough for households with existing rooftop solar systems. A separate report by the Carbon Trust predicts that energy storage could deliver savings of up to £50 a year on an average consumer energy bill, and a system wide saving of up to £2.4bn a year by 2030. Even more, the report also indicates that energy storage adoption offers the ‘least cost pathway’ for the UK to meet CO2 reduction targets. This, in turn, makes the argument for solar even more powerful. After all, there is evidence to prove that solar PV offers the highest potential of stored energy when using on a solar installation; solar PV installed alongside storage battery could increase a systems self-consumption capabilities to 70 per cent, and reduce the amount of energy sent back to the grid by 50 per cent. What’s more, the cost for a new solar PV system has decreased by more than 50 per cent in the last three years, making the payback periods even more inviting for householder to make the ‘green switch’. The consensus then is that battery storage is, indeed, the future which, of course, offers an opportunity for the contractor to diversify into and reap the financial rewards. However, it is important to remember that it isn’t a simple process and investment in understanding the industry and training beforehand is a must. For example, when selecting a battery storage system, it’s important to look at estimated daily energy consumption (kWh), peak load time for the building, how much solar PV can be or is already installed and the anticipated generation of the system. This means contractors can then calculate the correct battery capacity and whether a single or three phase supply set up is more appropriate. Space and location must also considered as this can impact on the way the battery packs are installed, ie. is there easy access for both installation and maintenance, and any safety implications? Another obstacle is that there are currently no regulations for battery storage in the UK. However, the IET (Institution of Engineering & Technology) is in the process of developing Codes of Practice for contractors – a move that Rexel UK strongly advocates, as it is vital for the industry to quickly establish best practice and a common language for the market as early on as possible. While the industry works to establish a standardised framework, we would strongly recommend engineers work closely with responsible manufacturers and suppliers that have taken the time to understand the market, the technology and the safety implications behind the products. For example, at Rexel we are working on the creation of a specification tool to assist selection and correct sizing of an energy battery storage system, ensuring the correct load demand and consumption has been taken into account. With the government’s carbon reduction targets well under way and the cost of energy posing a huge financial strain for most households, more and more consumers are choosing to make the green switch – with battery storage core to this. However, before jumping on the battery storage bandwagon, it is vital for contractors to get trained up and do their research to ensure they are best placed to unleash the full potential this exceptional innovation has to offer. Steve Everard’s career in distribution spans some 20 years, initially with a leading supplier of heating and plumbing materials in the south east, and more latterly in the electrical and energy solutions sector with Rexel UK. In 2004, he joined WF Elec X[\š^HX[X[Y\܈۝Xܜ˜[[[\[[ۈXYBXX[ڙXX[K\[X[YHHX[YY\\XZ܂۝X[Y[H\Hق[XX[X]\X[܈H L[\X\ۜX[ۋ]\[\YX\H[Y^[R&\[\B][ۜX[K[\[[Y[[[][\H[\[\][ۘ[YHوH]\[\›[[ [\X\[^[\BXY[[[HR[]X\œX܋[X\H MKH\\[YXYو^[[\H][ۜB]\[ۈو^[R˰‚̋L]\HܘYH8$^[ [ ‚L  ̌ M M‚