Storing energy instead of feeding it back: how beneficial is a home battery?

Published: July 8, 2023 at 13:42

Good news for anyone with rooftop solar panels and surplus energy. The home battery - which can be used to store excess energy - is becoming increasingly accessible. There is now a company bringing one to the market in the Netherlands as well. Will everyone soon have such a device at home?

Owners of solar panels who generate more power than they use supply that energy back to the grid. They receive compensation for this now, but in the future they will be compensated for an increasingly smaller portion of the power they feed back. In fact, starting in 2031, net-metering will disappear altogether. The battery allows households to store excess energy generated on sunny days for later use.

During periods when a household has too little power left over from the solar panels, that is normally taken from the grid. But the home battery can shed the previously stored power at such times.

"You can set the battery software to charge or discharge. This keeps everyone's power bill as low as possible," says Roeland Nagel, who is bringing the first Dutch battery to market with his company Charged. 

Custom

His battery you can purchase if you already have solar panels at home, depending on what kind. "Certain manufacturers want home batteries to work only with their own inverters. We, on the other hand, want inverter A to also work with battery B and vice versa, so it can work anywhere."

Why

Moreover, according to Nagel, it also benefits the power grid in neighborhoods with power problems. "If enough people in such a neighborhood switch to such a battery, it reduces the risk of outages. They lower the overall grid voltage a little bit."

Long breath

Professor of energy storage Mark Huijben of the University of Twente is positive, but thinks the home battery will only actually provide a financial solution in the long run. "Only when net-metering stops is this a solution. As long as you can still feed in, it is by far the easiest option."

Only when people stop getting money for the power you send back will it become attractive to invest in a battery, according to Huijben. "You have to adjust your meter box for that, too. In Belgium, the return of generated energy has not been allowed since last year, and there you see a lot more home batteries being installed. There is also a subsidy there, but it is still a big investment. For people in the Netherlands, it is currently more interesting to balance the bill for a few years longer."

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