Rising costs and next generation domestic energy storage
The rising costs of energy in the UK is becoming increasingly concerning and in recent months has captured the attention of the public, journalists and government officials alike. Households are experiencing sharp rises in their energy bills, with the demand increasing exponentially. Many people are being forced to consider their domestic energy storage and usage, as well as adapting their lifestyle to cope with these increases.
The significant increase of wholesale energy prices began in the second half of 2021, yet the energy price cap ensured many consumers were protected from these rising costs. However, in April 2022 the energy price cap increased by 54%, as well as further large increases in wholesale prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Raising the price cap to 54% meant that default tariffs increased by £693 per year, with prepayment customers seeing an increase of £708.
There are no signs that these increases will slow down, as wholesale prices continue to rise and the energy price cap is looking likely to be raised higher and higher. Cornwall Insights have predicted the energy price cap to remain above £3,000 a year until at least 2024. This is devastating news for many families and households throughout the UK, with the average bill forecasted to be over £300 a month in Summer 2023.
Domestic energy storage
Following the startling revelations that these higher prices are here to stay for the foreseeable future, there has been a need for energy consumption and storage solutions. Household owners all over the UK will be looking into ways to reduce energy spending- such as reducing consumption or searching for alternative energy storage that is economically more viable.
Domestic energy storage systems store generated energy so that it can be accessed and used when required. Electricity is the most common form of energy that is stored domestically, often in electrical batteries such as lithium-ion; it can even be converted into heat using specific systems. In terms of storing heat energy, there are multiple options including heat batteries and thermal storage. Even when taking on board the various considerations to be made, these systems can be highly beneficial to households, being able to store their own energy when prices are so high.
Storing electricity at home is predominantly beneficial for homeowners with renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines. The use of renewable energy in the UK is growing, with more people having access to these sources. Off-shore and on-shore wind turbines, solar power, hydroelectric and biofuels are all becoming increasingly prevalent in homeowners’ thoughts.
For UK households, solar panels are still the most common source of renewable energy. Installation costs have now subsided and the benefits of them, both from a financial and environmental perspective, are more frequently outweighing the costs. Off-grid solar panel systems store the electricity generated by the photovoltaic cells throughout the day, so it can be used later on at night.
A change in perspective
Following the greater coverage and exposure to environmental and ecological stresses in media and online, there has been a shift in people’s viewpoints and considerations towards the environment. In a recent government publication, it was stated that by 2030, 95% of British electricity could be low-carbon. Not only are British lifestyles changing, but governments and businesses are recognising the importance of alternative energy.
This environmental shift, on top of the rising energy costs, may further encourage homeowners and housebuilders to search for alternative storage and solutions. These days, there are many domestic energy storage systems on the market. New technologies are constantly being developed to improve the efficiency, performance and lifespan of these systems.
While lithium-ion batteries still dominate the market, alternatives are being researched and developed all over the world, notably a zinc-ion battery technology by Salient Energy. Zinc is over a hundred times more abundant than lithium, with zinc-ion production emitting two-thirds less greenhouse emissions. These advancements and environmentally-conscious solutions are going to be key as we move towards the net zero target.
The third factor to consider for domestic energy storage use is the shift in working practices for many businesses. More people are working from home following the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies have discovered the value it can add to employee wellbeing and performance. With more people working from home, it means these households are requiring more energy throughout the day and it could play an important role in a homeowner’s transition to domestic energy storage.
Mica insulation solutions by Elmelin
While the technology itself is evolving and continuing to improve, a core aspect of the batteries used to store the energy is their insulating capabilities. Elmelin work to provide accessible, reliable and efficient battery insulation solutions that meet the new standards of home building. The next generation of domestic energy storage systems in homes and their accessibility will be a major component of the movement towards clean energy and net zero emissions.
Our mica insulation solutions aim to improve the safety of on-grid and off-grid energy storage, as well as the battery performance and efficiency, which in turn leads to longer-lasting and commercially viable systems. The expertise we have in high temperature and high voltage insulation has helped us provide solutions to homeowners who are searching for safe, efficient and sustainable insulation for their domestic energy storage systems.
Furthermore, our Compression Pads Plus technology can be applied to battery cells to improve their performance and lifespan. The compression pads allow battery packs and cells to ‘breathe’ whilst applying a suitable amount of pressure to ensure ideal electrical and thermal conditions are maintained.
Rising energy costs is an extremely current and volatile situation that is impacting the lives of many UK residents. It is a particularly difficult time due to numerous factors, so it’s more important than ever to offer our solutions and help where we can. Our mica insulation solutions for batteries in domestic energy storage systems, but also a wide range of other applications, are designed to be commercially viable and accessible, whilst providing outstanding insulation to improve battery performance, safety and sustainability. If you’d like to find out more about the work we do and how we can help you, get in touch here.