Bob Mills, LG Solar UK.
There is “still an argument to be had” over the best use of storage solutions in the UK markets, with pure storage or back-up capabilities two possible options according to LG Solar head of UK sales Bob Mills.
Mills said that, despite appearing the same, the two uses differ in the sense that storage as a back-up technology works away from the grid whereas a pure storage solution would still require a grid connection, but he remains undecided as to what would be the best bet.
“The other thing that is often missed is people need to start looking at how they have their houses wired,” Mills said, noting that while certain appliances can be run from a storage unit a whole house cannot.
“At the end of the day you're still going to have to be connected to the grid, unless it's a back-up system in which case you probably will have already re-wired your house to take different products. There's a whole revolution still required there, but certainly we can knock the high peaks off any capacity issues,” he added.
However the UK market may have to wait until the technology becomes a viable option. Mills said it would not be until “2019 or 2020” that he would consider installing it himself, stating that “while we’re there from a technology perspective, we’re probably not price-wise”.
Tesla’s Powerwall Home Battery will initially retail at circa $350 per kWh when it is released to US-based customers later this year, however the effects of Tesla’s Gigafactory and technology maturation are widely expected to bring production – and subsequently retail – prices tumbling in the coming years.
And Mills believes consumer costs could also fall should the UK government look to follow in German footsteps and incentivise storage technology with subsidies allocated within the Levy Control Framework, a system which manages the cost of renewable energy subsidies and the proportion which is passed onto consumers by utilities.
“If the UK looks at it and think we could do with taking some of the peak loading off the grid because it's quaking a little bit and its capacity isn't right, then we could incentivise storage, people would put it in and then use electricity back later.
“That's a very definite solution; something could happen there if the government decided to do that. They've incentivised solar and, at the end of the day, it's an add-on technology and there are good reasons for doing it,” Mills said.