Solar battery storage can be an ideal solution for companies looking to take control of their energy costs and transfer more of their operations to renewable power. It works by storing any electricity generated by a solar installation during daylight hours that’s not used straight away and holding it in reserve for when it’s needed.
Solar panels and battery storage systems allow businesses to minimise their reliance on utility providers for their energy and shelter themselves from price rises; effectively fixing the cost of their energy for 10s of years.
Due to today’s high energy prices, many businesses with existing solar panel installations could now benefit from adding battery storage to their system.
What is solar battery storage?
We’re used to using small batteries as stores of energy to power various devices. Commercial battery storage systems are very much the same, large rechargeable energy stores that you can charge up and then discharge at a later date to power your operations.
Batteries can be installed as standalone units, and charged from the grid at times when tariffs are at their lowest; or installed as part of a solar installation to use any excess energy that is being generated but not used during daylight hours.
Some systems use a hybrid inverter that is used for the battery and the solar PV installation, whereas some batteries have their own inbuilt inverter. Depending on the individual needs of your business and your energy consumption a battery storage system could be an effective tool to manage your energy and reduce your utility bills.
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Understanding Industrial Battery Storage
Commercial battery storage systems store energy so it can be used at a later date. They can be charged from the grid or from an alternative source such as a solar PV installation. You can set a battery to charge at certain times, such as when you are paying a reduced rate for your energy, or to charge using any surplus energy being generated from your solar PV system. For example, if you run operations on a Monday to Friday, using most of the energy your panels produce during daylight hours, weekend production on a Saturday and Sunday could be stored in your battery bank.
Stored energy can be used when it is needed, at times of the day when solar production is low, such as on cloudy days or in the evening, or overnight when your panels won’t be generating at all. By storing excess electricity, and using it later, you are further reducing the amount of energy that you purchase from the grid, and you may even eliminate this cost altogether.
With the cost of electricity remaining high, and battery storage becoming more affordable, it’s an increasingly effective way for businesses to optimise the value of their solar investment by using more of the energy they generate.
There are a number of technologies used for solar energy storage, the most common options are:
- Lithium-ion batteries: These are one of the most popular options for businesses because they offer high performance and a long battery life. However, they can be more expensive than other alternatives.
- Lead-acid batteries: Lead-acid batteries are a well-known technology that’s low cost but requires more maintenance than other types of batteries.
- Sodium-sulphur batteries: This type of battery operates at high temperatures, but they can only discharge for short durations.
The choice of battery type depends on your budget, how long your batteries’ lifespan needs to be to deliver a return, discharge duration needs and operating constraints. Working with one of our renewable energy surveyors and an experienced system designer we will ensure you choose the right storage system for your business.
The Business Case for Commercial Solar Batteries
Installing solar battery storage offers several key benefits that make a strong business case for commercial enterprises:
By storing excess solar energy for later use, businesses can reduce their need to draw from the grid at times when tariffs are high and fully utilise on-site solar generation no matter the time of day or night.
Careful planning of your system will ensure that the balance of solar generation, battery storage capacity and on-site energy consumption delivers a healthy return on your investment.
Pairing your solar PV investment with battery storage provides businesses with greater energy security and can provide a back-up during power outages. These combined systems have long lifespans and very little requirement for ongoing maintenance; and once you switch your system on you start to see a return straight away through reduced energy bills.
Most systems pay for themselves within 5-7 years and after this point you continue to generate a substantial amount of your businesses energy at the fixed price of your installation. Having on-site generation and storage reduces your vulnerability to utility rate hikes and market volatility.
Investing in solar energy helps businesses meet sustainability goals by lowering their reliance on electricity from the grid and switching to clean, green energy. Storing excess electricity generated by your solar panels further displaces energy that’s generated using fossil fuel, reducing a company’s carbon footprint even more.
Investing in commercial battery storage enables businesses to take full advantage of their solar PV systems while future-proofing their energy management as their needs evolve. The combination of reliable technology, favourable financial benefits and environmental stewardship makes solar energy storage an attractive investment.
Applications of Solar Battery Storage in Various Industries
Companies across all industries are realising the benefits of adding battery storage to their commercial solar systems. By strategically storing and dispatching solar energy to meet their unique requirements, businesses can maximise savings and have more control over electricity costs. Combined solar generation and storage solutions are scalable and adaptable, bringing advantages to organisations of all types and sizes.
We work with businesses in a diverse range of sectors. From auto dealerships and warehouses to offices and manufacturers, public sector and educational buildings, solar battery systems are being adopted to cut energy bills, provide backup power and reduce carbon footprints.
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Choosing the Right Solar Battery Storage for Your Business
Investing in a solar energy storage system requires careful consideration to ensure the solution matches your business needs and provides maximum value. Here are some key factors to take into account:
The battery bank capacity and inverter size must be properly specified to your typical solar generation and energy demand patterns. Oversizing can add unnecessary cost to your installation. Limiting factors such as the space available for solar panels will also need to be taken into consideration.
The amount of energy storage required will depend on your individual goals which may include system back-up capacity, reducing your grid energy usage for sustainability reasons, or a full focus on generating a financial return. It’s important to take these factors into consideration when modelling and designing your installation.
The expected cycle life of batteries affects long-term economics. Lithium-ion batteries can have over 5,000 cycles, while lead-acid may be closer to 700-1,000 cycles. The cost of the battery units and your requirements will help you decide on the system that you should install.
Some batteries require specific temperature controls or have fire safety requirements that affect where they can be located. Consider your business premises and how this will affect the viability of the system you’ve chosen. Some battery units do not provide a back-up in the event of a power cut.
Commercial solar battery costs vary widely, so it’s important to understand exactly what you want your installation to deliver and ensure that it’s designed to meet your needs.
Assessing Your Business's Needs
Firstly, evaluate your current energy usage and assess your existing load profile to see how it aligns with your solar generation. It’s also important to understand if different tariff rates apply to your business at different times of the day. This will all help determine the right storage capacity for your needs. Don’t forget to take into account future plans for growth, or electrification such as EV charging stations and build in capacity.
It’s important to analyse the financial aspect of your commercial battery storage and the payback period. By thoroughly evaluating your business’s current and future energy needs, you can develop a solar battery storage solution for maximised long-term value. Remember, you can opt to install additional solar PV and battery units at a later date, so the best option for you might be to plan a series of installations over time.
Real-life Examples of Commercial Solar Battery Storage
LAR Traffic Services might be best known for saving stranded motorists, but they’re now helping to save the planet too!
Thanks to this combined solar PV and battery storage system LAR Traffic Services is producing around 12,500 kWh of clean green electricity every year, and with 32.2kWh of storage it can be used whenever it’s needed.
At 13kW the solar PV system at LAR Traffic Services is relatively small, but the rescue & recovery specialist in Ware will start to see a return on their investment in around 4 years, and they’re already reducing their CO2 emissions by 4 tonnes a year.
Installation and Maintenance of Solar Battery Storage
The installation of a commercial solar battery storage system is a complex process that requires careful planning and coordination. It starts with a site evaluation where the installer will assess your premises to determine the location of your battery units, any necessary electrical upgrades or structural modifications. They will then design your system for its optimal configuration.
Once the system design is finalised, materials including the batteries, inverters and control systems will be ordered and delivered to site and the installation can begin. The battery racks and enclosures will be mounted and secured, often in a separate plant room or outdoor container where proper ventilation and temperature control can be implemented. Once everything has been installed the system will be integrated into your existing electrical set up and commissioned.
Your system is then ready to be handed over, and you will receive a full walk through and overview of the checks that you can perform. After the physical installation is complete, your installer will monitor your installation for a period to ensure that it is operating as intended and you will receive a full Operations and Maintenance Manual.
Importance of Maintenance
To ensure efficient performance and a long system life, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for regular maintenance and servicing. This includes periodically cleaning the battery terminals to prevent corrosion build-up. The batteries themselves will require replacement every 5-10 years depending on their chemistry. Proper disposal protocols must be followed for expired batteries.
Software updates should be implemented when they become available to maintain updated firmware and settings for optimal functionality. This can all be checked during an annual service where the system’s inverters will also be thoroughly checked to ensure stability.
Periodic capacity testing will verify that the storage system is continuing to operate at peak capacity over its lifetime. By proactively maintaining your battery storage system, businesses can optimise the financial return and minimise any risks of failure or degraded performance.
Government Incentives and Policies Supporting Solar Energy Storage
The UK government offers several incentives to support businesses investing in renewable energy:
- Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a government scheme that pays businesses for exporting excess solar power to the grid. The amount earned per kWh exported varies based on the tariff, but typically earns businesses around 5p. If your battery storage system has reached capacity an export agreement such as the SEG can ensure that you receive a payment for any energy you export.
- Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA) allows businesses to deduct the full cost of qualifying energy systems from taxable profits in the year of the investment. This can be a significant tax saving for businesses that invest in solar energy storage.
- Climate Change Agreements (CCAs) are voluntary agreements between businesses and the government to reduce carbon emissions. Businesses that commit to energy efficiency targets can receive discounts on the Climate Change Levy, which is a tax on energy use.
Applying for Incentives
To take advantage of these incentives, businesses should thoroughly review the guidelines for each programme to confirm eligibility and application requirements. Following the application procedures to submit technical documents and financial information is critical, as is maintaining ongoing compliance and reporting over the life of the storage system.
Companies can maximise financial incentives by coordinating various national and local programmes for integrated solar and storage projects.
Our Services: Installation, Servicing and Maintenance
Geo Green Power specialise in customised solar PV systems and battery storage solutions that enable you to take control of your energy. With over a decade of experience, our team of experts excel at design and installation and can tailor a system to meet the unique needs of your business.
We understand that no two solar projects are the same. From your business operations and premises to your energy usage and overall goals, many factors will inform your solar and battery storage system’s sizing and configuration. Our consultative process considers all of these variables to create the best installation for you using high quality materials and components to ensure your system is built to last.
Why Choose Us?
Geo Green Power stands out through our commitment to customer service. Our team of installers and technicians will be on-hand throughout installation and during our warranty period to provide advice and hands on support and our inhouse service & maintenance offer can look after you for many years to come.
With the latest in solar battery storage equipment, we can help your business adapt quickly to renewable energy and optimise your solar PV system with the ideal battery storage system for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much upfront investment is needed for a solar battery storage system?
Upfront costs can range from £1,200 upwards depending on system size. For a more detailed quote, contact Geo Green Power to discuss the options.
What are the ongoing operating costs for a solar storage system?
Ongoing costs include electricity, maintenance, monitoring and battery replacement every 5-10 years. Maintenance is key for reliability but, generally speaking, solar arrays and battery storage systems are low maintenance.
What space requirements are there for commercial solar battery installations?
The space requirements for commercial solar battery installations vary depending on the size of the battery system, the type of battery you choose and the location of the installation. A good rule of thumb is that you need about 1 square foot of space for every kilowatt of battery capacity. So, a 100kWh battery system would require about 100 square feet of space.
What is the typical payback period for commercial solar storage in the UK?
With available incentives, payback periods can be 5-10 years. This depends on energy usage, tariff rates, investment tax breaks and export payments.
Do I need to install solar PV and batteries together in the UK?
Solar batteries can certainly be added later. Detailed modelling of your requirements will help you understand if a combined PV and storage from the outset will deliver a better return.
Speak With Our Team of Experts
For commercial and industrial enterprises in the UK, solar energy storage systems offer a compelling path to taking control of your energy costs and future-proofing your business for resilience and sustainability. By harnessing energy storage, businesses can maximise solar PV investments, reduce grid dependence and manage volatile energy expenses.
Delivering the combined benefits of cost-savings, energy reliability, and environmental responsibility, battery storage provides a strong business case for those looking to optimise energy management.
To arrange a consultation to discuss installing commercial solar battery storage for your business, contact Geo Green Power today.