What Does ‘Smarter Power’ Mean For Solar?

The Smart Systems and Flexibility plan proposed by the government could save billions of pounds for UK households, the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, has said.

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been working with OFGEM, the energy regulator to allow the National Grid to ‘talk’ to energy using appliances and, in essence, tell them to turn off when there is a power usage surge. Appliances such as fridges, air conditioning and freezers have been identified as things that could be utilised by ‘smarter’ power.

Designed to reduced energy bills by making electricity networks more efficient, it will allow businesses and homes to manage their electricity use more effectively.

Currently, the price of electricity varies throughout the day, depending on levels of supply and demand, but most consumers are on flat rate tariffs that do not reflect the times of day when power is cheaper. They pay or receive the same value for their electricity regardless of demand.

In the UK, there are around 700,000 homes that have solar powers and will benefit as the new plans come into place and open up opportunities for battery stored power.

What this means for solar users is, that the energy they store will no longer go unused or wasted. Smart meters have come into play and at the moment, solar energy users are charged to import electricity into their home or export it back to the grid. The government plans to reduce these charges so that people aren’t deterred from using power in a more flexible way. It is predicted that it will save even more money for people who have solar panels installed.

Some companies already offer consumers a battery package, which means they can store excess power and either use it when they get home from work or sell back to the grid. In new plans, the excess power would be bought back when there is a high demand rather than being stored for the homes.

It is predicted that there will be a surge in battery storage systems installed to take advantage of the new rules set out by the government and that prices will drop around 30% over the next three years as production increases.