The power grid is jammed: soon all will have a home battery?

Published: Aug. 26, 2023 at 11:53 a.m.

ULFT - Due to ever-rising energy prices, solar panels are unstoppable. They are now installed in one in five houses, but we generate so much renewable energy that our electricity network sometimes can no longer handle it. That is why we are working hard on solutions to store energy and use it again later, also at home.

Production of the first home battery of Dutch manufacture starts this week in our province, but it does not seem to be the solution to the congested energy grid.

It actually sounds very logical. You generate power with your solar panels and then you use a battery to store the power you don't need at that time for later use. However, those batteries are not exactly cheap, and power you generate in the summer cannot be used months later in the winter because of the limited capacity of the batteries.

In addition, in the Netherlands we now also have the so-called salderingsregeling, which allows you to deliver generated energy that you do not use back to the grid and deduct it from your total consumption at the end of the year.

Time is ripe, thinks Achterhoek developer

Where do you start, you might ask the initiators of the start-up Charged from Ulft. They are going to bring the first Dutch home battery on the market. Director Roeland Nagel thinks the time is right. "We started with the idea of developing it years ago, but at that time we thought it was too early. Now that energy prices are rising and in 2025 the net-metering regulation will be phased out in steps, we thought it was the right time."

Through a crowdfunding campaign, the start-up raised money to begin production. Early next year, the first home batteries, developed in the workshop in Andelst, should be installed in people's homes.

The home battery that Nagel devised with his associate can store 5 kilowatt hours. That amounts to the average power consumption of one person per day. "With that, in a small household, you could largely cover your evening peak. For an average household, you would need as many as two."

Lecturer and researcher in electrical engineering and sustainable energy at the University of Arnhem and Nijmegen (HAN) Joke Westra thinks there is certainly a future in the principle of the home battery, but it is not the solution to the overburdened energy grid. "There is not one solution, the energy transition requires a whole palette of solutions. You cannot see these in isolation," she says.

It starts with awareness

According to Westra, it starts with consumer awareness. "First look at your own consumption. You can, when you get home, immediately turn on that cooker, go charge the car battery and turn everything on full blast, but you can also spread it out to at least not contribute to a huge spike on the electricity grid yourself."

Still, she does understand why the home battery is being marketed just now. "It is a way in which you as a consumer can save extra in the future, especially if, for example, reward systems are going to be linked to it from the business world."

Most people, however, are better off focusing on the so-called low-hanging fruit first, according to Westra. "Start insulating your house properly first if you want to save money quickly, before buying a battery for a few thousand euros," he said.

So the egg of Columbus does not yet seem to have been laid, when it comes to the energy transition. Westra: "Solar panels will still earn you back in no time even now, but they are all links in a big issue in which we all have our share."

Source: Maarten Beeks