Battery Storage FAQs:

A battery storage device attached to an internal wall

What do the batteries do?

The batteries in our battery storage projects absorb excess power generation, preventing it from being transported back onto the grid. These charged batteries can then supply the evening load. By 2030, it’s likely that 70-80% of rooftop PV systems will be installed with a battery. 

Why are we testing the potential of Battery Energy Storage Systems?

Batteries can absorb excess power generation, preventing it from being transported back onto the grid. These charged batteries can then supply the evening load. By 2030, 70-80% of rooftop PV systems will likely be installed with a battery, so it is imperative that we understand how we can best use the technology. Northern Powergrid have produced a helpful animation on distribution storage.

How do batties help maintain our power networks?

An ancient system with modern problems

England’s power network was designed over 90 years ago, for a different type of energy production and distribution. 

Originally, power was generated at power stations, such as these power generating stations in Yorkshire. High-voltage networks (such as large pylons) transported electricity produced at these stations to local energy substations. Low-voltage electricity networks (underground cables and smaller pylons) then distributed power to buildings for customers (end users).

Since the introduction of domestic PV systems in 1995, the network now needs to cope with energy generated by the end user as well as by the power stations, and for this energy to be sent back through low-voltage electricity networks.

The additional pressure on the power networks can overburden electricity transmission systems. This significantly reduces the lifespan of system equipment, such as transformers and cables, and affects their efficiency. It also can lead to blackouts.

What are the issues for the Low-Voltage Electricity Network?

Low-voltage electricity networks distribute electricity (up to 132kV) between a substation and a customer’s meter via small pylons and underground cables. The increasing adoption of solar panels is causing the network to encounter more thermal and voltage issues by adding additional energy into the system, as PV systems send unused energy back into the network. Therefore, the number of PVs that can be added to a system is limited.

What are the Issues With Evening Peak Demand?

During the evening peak demand, the following activities are putting additional pressure onto the electicity networks: 

  • Cooking
  • Heating
  • Washing / Drying
  • Car charging
  • Electrical appliances
  • Transportation.

Because of the increased demand on the network, electricity transmission systems can be overburdened. This creates a significant reduction in the lifespan of system equipment, such as transformers and cables, which affects their efficiency. It also can lead to blackouts, 

How can batteries help solve these issues?

As PV systems produce most of their energy during the day, but energy use is highest at night, this energy is being transferred backwards and forwards between homes and the system. Reducing this transfer could:

  • Increase the life of network equipment
  • Maintain equipment efficiency, leading to less loss of energy
  • Avoid or delay some of the large investment costs required for the National Grid—it’s currently estimated that £60bn of upgrades are required to accommodate the government’s 2030 Net Zero goals.

Current estimates are that 50% of electricity generated by PV gets sent back to the grid. Battery storage devices, in particular, could enable a better-managed expansion of decarbonised energy generation technology, helping to reach Net Zero targets.

Our Battery Storage projects aim to increase understanding of whether Battery Storage:

  • Benefit the network;
  • Can maximise the benefits of PV; and,
  • Can be optimised by battery placement, mode and use;

At Energise Barnsley, we’re also particularly interested in Battery Storage as part of the solution towards fuel poverty.