Getting your latest electricity bill is rarely a fun experience, yet it seems to become ever more painful. The national grid has undergone a huge transformation in the past decade from coal-heavy to embracing wind and solar, the costs of which have crashed. So there’s a logical disconnect - why are electricity prices rising if renewables are getting cheaper?
In light of the recent news, the idea of being grid independent with your own power cut protection has become a lot more attractive.
We have had a number of customers interested in upgrading their solar PV or battery systems to protect them from power cuts. As we mentioned in a previous blog, a solar PV system alone will not protect you from an outage. With no batteries, if the power goes out, your PV system will switch off. This is a safety mechanism so that you do not discharge any excess PV energy to the grid and seriously injure someone if they are working to repair the grid near your house!
Even if you have a battery, some of them will not be able to island your property from the grid, which is the crucial step needed to have a backup system. Batteries need to follow strict DNO regulations to operate during a power outage as well, and will always need prior grid permission before installing.
Many of our customers are keen to use the greenest energy possible in their home. There are substantial benefits (whether you have solar panels or not), from cutting your carbon footprint to maximising bill savings and energy independence.
What is DNO permission and when do you need it?
The DNO or District Network Operator is the company responsible for distributing electricity from the National Grid to your home or business. In the UK there are 14 different district networks or DNO regions which are owned by six groups. For our installation zone, the distributions network operators which we are concerned by are Scottish & Southern Electricity (SSE), UK Power Networks (UKPN), and Western Power Distribution (WPD).
At the end of January, thousands of homes local to us across Reading, Bracknell and Basingstoke suffered power outages for an average of 3 hours. This past week, Storm Ciara denied over 500,000 of us access to electricity. And last August the country was hit by the worst blackout in a decade, affecting hospitals, trains and over a million people.
Today is a big day at Spirit Energy.
It’s our 10th anniversary.
Most importantly we are celebrating with a big cake, but we have also taken time to review some of the milestones reached within the last 10 years, both at Spirit and within the wider community, focusing on cleaner air, climate change mitigation and sustainable fuel supply.
Now that Christmas is less than a week away and the new year is just around the corner, it only seems right to reflect on what has been quite an eventful year for the solar and renewables industry.
Yesterday I had my own modest version of a Victor Kiam moment.
If you are too young to remember Mr Kiam, spend 30 seconds watching this… Mr Kiam's famous line ‘I loved the shaver so much I bought the company’ was the cornerstone of a hugely successful 1979 advertising campaign.
Mr Kiam was swept away by the joy of a sharp shave. For me it was Tesla and the sheer passion with which they are pursuing their mission ‘to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy’.
Around 30 GigaWatts of the UK’s older fossil fuel and nuclear capacity is due to be decommissioned by 2025. At the same time, more and more of us are taking delivery of our first electric car, pulling away from the lights much faster than the petrol heads while fuelling a significant increase in the national electricity demand.
Furthermore, with the advent of renewables, the problem of balancing supply and demand within the National Grid is become ever more challenging, leading to periods of excess demand and ‘negative electricity prices’.
And with all this comes an increasing expectation of power cuts, grid constraints and increasing electricity costs.
Enter battery storage, and in particular, home battery storage. And smart meters, and smart electricity tariffs.