• Sam Tilley

Intelligent Energy Control

Electec has been installing solar since 2010, and up until early 2019 most customers were almost exclusively interested in the Feed-in Tariff income. In that time the cost of installing solar has dropped by over 60% as the price of panels, inverters and mounting system has fallen, and quality has improved as sub-standard manufacturers have left the market after the boom.

However with the growth in battery storage, led by the market leading Tesla Powerwall, the end of the UK Feed-in Tariff in early 2019 and the growth in demand for electric cars, the residential market is now being driven by customers looking to take control of their energy consumption for their home and their travel.

In the previous 9-years one of the major issues with solar power consumption has been that systems generate most power during the middle of the day, typically between 10am and 4pm, when consumption tends to be at its lowest, which has meant that most customers ended up exporting 50% - 75% of their generated power and so seeing little real impact on their energy bills.

Battery storage now however lets customers store this excess power and use it during the evening, increasing consumption of the generated solar, improving the ROI and preventing that power from going back to the grid.

Another major benefit that we have seen from installing battery storage is the improved level of monitoring that enables customers to see what they are consuming and look at how they can reduce that consumption. The Tesla app is a great way to see what is being consumed, imported, produced, stored and exported and helps identify what is pushing bills up. We have used this to work with consumers to reduce their consumption, for example one customer had all of his bathroom electric underfloor heating all day, rather than timed to when they needed it and it has identified energy hogs such as halogen spotlights and air source heat pumps not working properly.

The rise of Electric Cars has also put more of a focus on energy consumption, resulting in a huge drop in driving costs. For example the new Tesla Model 3 can drive 190 miles (real range) on a 46kWh (usable battery). At 15p a kWh this means that it now only costs £6.90 to drive almost 200 miles, just 3.6p a mile. Dramatically lower than the 12p - 40p most normal cars cost to drive, meaning huge cost savings, not to mention the zero car tax and lower servicing costs. And by taking advantage of new lower off-peak charging rates as low as 5p a kWh (more on that below) or taking advantage of free charging the cost of driving can be even lower.

The new Off-peak rates offered by some suppliers are another key ingredient in realising the available energy savings. Electricity and gas suppliers such as Octopus are bringing out innovative new rates such as the Octopus Go tariff which offers a rate of just 5p per kWh between 12.30am and 4.30am and 15p during the rest of the day. Originally meant for electric car owners to pick up cheap power to charge their car, its a great tariff for owners of Powerwalls who can now charge up their battery overnight at 5p and use the power during the day, which can then be topped up by their solar systems. Another key development has been the introduction of export tariffs from companies such as Octopus which pays customers 5.5p per kWh for every unit exported. This is key for battery storage owners because it means that any excess power can generate an income, which ensures that the majority if power consumed is at either 5p or free and they can worry less about a full battery and excess exporting power back to the grid (Interested in signing up to Octopus? Contact us and get a £50 credit against your bill)

These developments have meant that there have never been so many tools available to take complete control of your energy, enabling customers to make huge savings in household and driving costs. And with the launch of the new Tesla Model 3 expected to stimulate even more demand for electric cars, hopefully falling battery prices and the launch of the Tesla Solar Roof in the UK hopefully sometime in 2020, the future is looking positive.

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