Case Study: Scarborough Solar System and Smart Usage set to reduce Geoff’s energy costs by 25% 

March 11, 2024
7 min read

In a village just outside sunny Scarborough, Green Building Renewables’ customer Geoff is discovering the benefits that a solar panel and battery system installation can bring when it is used smartly. 

Smart usage of solar panel and battery systems, like the Tesla Powerwall that Geoff installed in his home in Scarborough, involves optimising the system’s operation to maximise energy efficiency, minimise costs, and enhance reliability. When customers, like Geoff, make smart decisions on when and how to use their battery storage systems they can save money even when not generating electricity from the solar panels themselves. 

In this case study, Geoff describes his reasons for choosing a solar panel and battery storage system and how using it smartly will save him money. We will also take a look at the examples of smart usage of battery storage systems.  

Why did you choose a solar and battery system for your home in Scarborough? 

I chose a solar installation for two reasons. Firstly, I feel it important that we all do our bit to try and address the climate emergency that we are facing. And, secondly, installing a battery along with solar panels would allow us to make full use of the energy we generate – and thus save money.  

What benefits have you experienced since having the technology installed?  

It’s still early days to tell the true benefits of our solar panel installation in Scarborough because of the time of the year we had it installed and the gloomy winter we have had. However, I am confident that this will improve as we move into Spring and Summer.  

On the other hand, I have been using my battery system as smartly as possible.  I have set the battery to charge on a Time-based control from the grid. This has allowed us to take full benefit of the electricity tariff we are on, and to reduce electricity costs hugely. I anticipate that I will be able to reduce our energy costs by at least 25%, even without the maximum benefit from the solar system. 

How did you find the installation process?  

The installation process went very smoothly. Work started on schedule and was completed within the allotted time scale. The Green Building Renewables solar panel installers were efficient and conscientious and explained the process effectively to us. 

What advice would you offer to others considering a solar panel and battery installation for their home? 

This depends on the suitability of solar panels for their home, but with the range of electricity tariffs on offer I would strongly recommend the battery technology we have installed. Given the latitude of the UK, the increased electricity demands in the winter, and the increasing need for flexibility in the utility market, I would argue that a principle benefit of technology is being able to store electricity when it is at its cheapest and use this stored capacity when it is at its most expensive. Making more use of the electricity storage of EVs – as a supplementary battery for household use – is also a sensible thing to consider.  

What is your opinion of Green Building Renewables? 

GBR were true to their word and delivered on schedule. Only a slight delay with receiving the final electricity grid notification paperwork, but this was an issue outside of the control of GBR.  

What solar system did we install, and what did we do?  

For Geoff’s solar and battery system in Scarborough, we installed a 3.24 kW solar PV system including; 

  • 8 x 405 W black mono panels 
  • 1 x 3 kW FOX ESS inverter  
  • On roof fixings for a slate roof  
  • AC & DC isolators 
  • Generation meter  
  • AC & DC cabling 

We also installed a 13.5 KWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery storage system including: 

  • 1 x 13.5 KWh Tesla battery 
  • 1 x Tesla backup gateway 
Geoff's Tesla Powerwall installed in Scarborough
Geoff’s Tesla Powerwall 2 was installed in Scarborough

The way in which Geoff is using his battery when his solar panels aren’t generating as much through winter is a smart thing to do. Using your batteries to store electricity when it is cheaper and then using this stored electricity when pulling from the grid is more expensive and is one of the features that make battery storage so appealing, even if you don’t have solar panels this can be an option for your home.  

Since February 1st, 2024, there has been no 20% VAT on battery storage systems either, which makes it a great time to consider installing them in your home. But what are the other features of battery storage systems that make them a smart option to use? 

Geoff and his solar installation in Scarborough

What are examples of smart usage for battery storage systems? 

Time-of-Use (TOU) Management: You can program the battery system to store excess solar energy during times when electricity rates are low and discharge it during peak demand periods when rates are higher. This can help reduce electricity bills by avoiding expensive peak-hour charges. 

Load Shifting: Using your battery system to shift energy consumption from high-demand periods to low-demand periods. For example, charging the battery during the day when solar generation is abundant and discharging it during the evening when energy demand typically peaks. 

Backup Power: You can configure the battery system to provide backup power during grid outages ensuring critical appliances or systems are connected to the battery backup circuit to maintain essential services during emergencies. 

Optimised Charging: Utilising features such as adaptive charging algorithms to optimise the charging process based on factors like weather forecasts, energy demand patterns, and battery health. Tesla Powerwall for example have a Storm Watch feature. You should also avoid overcharging or deep discharging, as these practices can degrade battery life. 

Stormwatch Powerwall feature

Remote Monitoring and Control: Remote monitoring and control capabilities allow you to track energy production, battery status, and system performance in real time. This allows for proactive maintenance, troubleshooting, and adjustments to optimise system efficiency. This can be done via apps on your mobile phones for example. 

Integration with Home Automation: Solar battery systems can be integrated with home automation systems to automate energy management tasks and make your home even smarter. For example, automatically adjusting thermostat settings or turning off non-essential devices during peak demand periods can further enhance energy savings. 

Energy Management Software: If you want to get techy, you can use energy management software to analyse historical energy usage data and optimise system settings accordingly. These tools can provide insights into energy consumption patterns and help identify opportunities for further optimisation. 

Grid Interaction: Explore grid interaction features such as grid services participation, where the battery system can provide services to your grid operator, contributing to grid stability and earning additional revenue or incentives. In the UK the Smart Export Guarantee is an example of this where the excess energy you generate above storage capacity goes back to the grid and you are paid for it. 

Educating Users: Making sure everyone in your household knows about the benefits and operation of the solar battery system will also lead to benefits, including energy-saving practices and how to make the most of available energy resources. 

Regular Maintenance: Conducting regular maintenance checks and battery health assessments to ensure the system operates efficiently and prolong battery lifespan is critical and one of the smartest things you can do. This includes cleaning solar panels, inspecting wiring connections, and monitoring battery performance indicators. 

If you have a solar panel and battery system installed then implementing all these strategies, will maximise the benefits of your solar battery system, reduce energy costs, and contribute to a more sustainable energy future. 

If you want to be like Geoff and get a smart solar panel and battery system installed in your home, then get in touch today.  

Written By:

john gilham technical manager
John Gilham
When it comes to renewables, our Group Technical Manager, John Gilham is a big deal! Both metaphorically and literally speaking; his massive knowledge about all things renewable and low energy is matched by his physical presence. In 2016, John co-founded GoEco Renewables with our MD Chris Delaney, which marked a pivotal moment in his career. The move reflected his commitment to sustainable energy and positioned him as a leader in the industry. Want to know more about John then click here: Read More

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