Here, Theodorik Leao, technical sales engineer at GoodWe, explains how the pairing of modern solar PV with effective battery storage can mitigate price hikes and maximise energy security without the lengthy payback periods of previous iterations.
“The UK is facing one of the worst financial crises in recent history and all predictions point to it getting worse before it gets better. Almost everyone is feeling the impact of sharply rising energy prices and traditional cost-cutting measures are simply no match for spiralling electricity bills. October is just around the corner, and it brings another expected jump in the cost of energy.
“As pressure mounts on people to make ends meet, the need to reduce energy costs will only increase further. Homeowners are already looking for alternatives to traditional expensive grid power, and solar, or photovoltaics (PV), has shown itself to be an option well worth exploring. With a complete solar solution, homeowners can harvest, store, and use their self-generated power, freeing themselves from reliance on the grid and the rising energy price cap.
The cost of grid-reliance
“From the winter of 2021-22 to summer 2022, the price cap has been raised by approximately 54%, meaning the average medium household consisting of three bedrooms and two-to-three people is currently estimated to pay £987.42 per year for electricity, according to British Gas. With another 65% rise expected in October (This is Money), this cost jumps to just shy of £1,600 annually.
“As household energy becomes more expensive, the previous notion of a residential solar PV system being prohibitively expensive is no longer the case. In the past, a solar system could be expected to take as much as 20 years to pay for itself. Much has changed, however, and today – with the high cost of electricity and the advances in solar technology – the payback period of a complete residential solar system is approximately six years.
“Along with the shortened return on investment, another advantage of residential solar is its reliability. Earlier this year, Storm Eunice made headlines bringing wind speeds of over 120 miles per hour, ripping trees from the ground, and leaving thousands reliant on the grid without power. Those that have a complete solar solution installed – meaning PV panels, an inverter and a battery – are far better able to weather the literal and financial storms.
“Another significant development in recent years is the introduction of hybrid inverters. These are an ideal halfway house for those looking to begin making the savings solar can offer without the initial investment up front. A hybrid inverter allows a system to run as normal and a battery can be attached to the system at a later date.
“Hybrids allow homeowners to transition more smoothly away from grid reliance at a pace that suits their lifestyle habits and wallets. With a hybrid inverter and a battery, users have the option to immediately consume the energy captured by their PV array or store that energy in a battery for use overnight, on days with fewer sunlight hours or in the event of a power cut.
“Hybrids can go up to 6kW and are game changers for installers. As the popularity of these inverters grows, so must installers’ proficiency in working with them. Installers have an opportunity to become indispensable industry experts in the area of residential solar solutions at a time when the market is rapidly expanding.
Independent energy security
“Installers are well-positioned to consult with their customers on the benefits of a complete solar solution. One of the lesser-known advantages of solar is the ability to nominate which appliances receive backup power when an outage occurs. During an installation, a customer can identify which appliances should be connected as backup loads. This might be the internet router, the lights or the refrigerator, for example. If the connection to the grid is disrupted, the selected appliances will be switched to backup power so that, there is no interruption to internet browsing, the lights will still work, and the fridge will continue to function.
“More power-hungry appliances like washing machines and electric ovens should not be connected as backup loads due to the likelihood of them exceeding the maximum capacity. TVs and computers can be connected which means working from home can continue uninterrupted.
The modern solar payback period
“As the emphasis on eco-friendly energy continues, installers must be ready to play a vital role in homeowners switching to solar energy. By partnering with a company like GoodWe, they can be certain that whatever their customers’ energy needs are, a well-matched solar solution will exist.
“On top of powering appliances in the home, installers now also have to consider electric vehicles (EVs) too. With growing interest amongst consumers, along with the new electric vehicles (smart charge points) regulations 2021, installers must use a quality provider that can avoid compatibility problems by offering a complete solution.
“With the cost of electricity set to hit £1,600 per year for many homes, at around six years, the payback period for a complete solar solution is shorter than ever. As electricity prices rise yet again, and if a solar-powered household uses less than the average amount of electricity, that payback period could yet become even shorter.
“Residential solar solutions are proving themselves to be the best way to avoid the skyrocketing costs of electricity and installers play a crucial role in a homeowner’s decision-making process. With the growing amount of support, training, and product choice now available from GoodWe, world leaders in hybrid inverter technology, installers can position themselves as critical resources for the growing numbers of people looking to make the switch to solar.”
To find out more, visit GoodWe.com.