Can you store energy you generate?
If you have just installed solar panels, a wind turbine or other means of generating your own electricity to charge your electric vehicle, you will have to find a way to store the energy.
This is because solar panels and wind turbines cannot store the energy they create by themselves. If you plug your car in through the night, solar panels won’t be able to charge it. Likewise if it’s a calm day outside.
To get the most out of generating your own energy, it’s best to find a way to store the energy they create by investing in a home battery system.
What is a home battery system?
Much like the lithium-ion batteries in your electric vehicle, a home battery system uses stacks of lithium-ion cells to store energy created.
Energy use varies throughout the day – most commonly there are spikes in the mornings and evenings when appliances like showers, kettles and kitchen stoves are used. This means the energy use of a house isn’t always matched with the energy generated through solar or wind. According to estimates, only 30% of solar energy generated in the UK is actually used by the household – the rest is sent back to the grid.
To help you get the most of the energy generated, a home battery unit will store the electricity generated by solar or wind and allow the home to use it later on. This means it’s possible to charge your electric car at night, using electricity generated during the day.
The benefits of a home battery system are huge, though. Nissan says that those using a home battery and solar panels can save up to 66% on their energy bills.
Our sister site, Auto Express, found one homeowner that uses solar panels and a home battery system to charge his Renault ZOE and power his home. A sunny day means the solar panels on Warren Philips’ roof can generate up to 40kWh of energy – way above the 14kWh battery requirements of his car. With the 13.5kWh battery cell, it means Warren can charge the car fully during the night, with fully renewable energy.
How much is a home battery system?
This depends on the manufacturer and capacity you go for. Nissan’s xStorage and Nissan Energy Solar system, for example, starts out at £3,881 for a six-panel solar energy set-up. Adding the xStorage battery (either 4.2kWh or 6kWh) brings the total to £7,635 for the whole set-up.
Tesla, on the other hand, sells its Powerwall 2 – a home battery system without the solar panels from £5,500.
There are multiple other solutions out there, some like Nissan’s that combine a battery system with solar panels, and others that just sell the battery. It’s best to consult your electricity provider to find out which is the best for you.