Should you sell or store surplus solar panel energy?

November 11, 2022
5 min read

How to make the most of your surplus solar panel energy

As we continue to roll out solar panels to an increasingly wide range of customers, we’re often asked whether selling surplus energy is a good source of income generation.

Whilst we aim to provide neutral, unbiased advice to all our customers, the issue of selling-on surplus solar panel energy is one where we veer quite strongly towards one clear opinion: and that it that you’re far better off storing surplus energy for your own use, rather than offering up the excess to the national grid.

The reason for this is simple. The prices offered by the energy firm lined up to take your surplus energy aren’t particularly favourable.

We believe that the purpose of solar panel energy is primarily to provide your property with a source of renewable energy. The financial aspect of converting to renewable energy should be focused on securing your return on investment or payback on your solar panel and battery storage installation. And with energy prices at the highest they’ve ever been, the maths is simple: it’s quicker to get payback on your solar panel investment than ever before. See the graph below.

So the simple answer to an often-asked question is, use your own surplus solar panel energy. Should you still want to explore selling your surplus energy, you can find out all you need to know through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme. This government-backed initiative helps solar panel users find an energy supplier to buy their unused units.

How do I store my surplus solar power energy?

Quite simply, with a battery. If you look at our solar panel calculator you’ll see that we offer two types of quotes, either with or without a battery. As you’ll see, the battery requires a larger financial outlay, but the energy/cost savings you make are far greater.

What are the advantages of having a solar panel battery?

  • By using stored energy in the evenings, you won’t need to draw on energy from the National Grid, thereby saving you money.
  • By drawing on your own energy sources, you’ll reduce your exposure to energy price hikes from your main energy supplier.
  • In the event of a power cut, battery storage products such as Tesla’s Powerwall mean you can still draw energy from a battery.

Can I add a battery to an existing solar panel installation?

Yes, of course, you can. We would still need to conduct a survey to review your current setup. But, in principle, yes. But if you’re about to embark on a solar panel installation, we strongly recommend opting for a battery at the time of installation.

Do you need a solar panel system in order to benefit from fitting battery storage?

No – you can still benefit from fitting a battery system without even having solar panels. We can programme a battery to draw from the grid during cheaper-rate off peak hours, and then you can use this during peak hours. Although the rate of return is slower, this option is useful if your property isn’t suitable for solar or the outlay is currently beyond your means. This graph shows the predicted 8 year solar panel installation payback time based on October 2022 prices at 34p per kWh based on a 12 panel solar system with battery. Also, note that as part of the government’s support of renewable energy, solar panel installations are zero VAT rated.

How do solar panel batteries work?

During the day, while the solar panels generate electricity, the battery storage system will check to see if all the power generation is being used to power your lights and appliances. If you’re not using all the electricity, surplus energy is used to charge the battery. And if the battery becomes fully charged, the excess solar energy generated gets exported to the National Grid. Solar panel battery storage units can be stored in your loft space, in a garage and sometimes outside. The Tesla Powerwall is also suited to exterior installation.

How long do solar panel batteries last?

Typically, you’re looking at 10-15 years after which we simply replace the old battery with a new one.

I’m interested in a solar panel installation with a battery.  What next?

Simply visit our solar panel calculator to find out the costs associated with your property using the slider to choose just how many panels you need to create enough electricity whilst balancing investment and available roof space. Make sure you opt for the quotation with a battery. This creates a FREE tailor made quote for you, enabling you to calculate a payback period. Should you wish to book a survey, simply fill in your information on the last screen, and a member of our team will be in touch.

Or, if you already have a solar panel system and want to fit a battery, contact your nearest GBR office with details of how many panels you have, and they will contact you. See this document showing all the images required to help with calculating a quote for solar panels and battery storage.

Written By:

Sarah Taylor, Group Project Support Manager
Sarah Taylor
Sarah’s experience predates the formation of Green Building Renewables. She was a critical member of the management team that rebranded to GBR. It was the allure of a new challenge and the chance to make a difference in a family business which propelled her entry into Green Building Renewables during a dynamic phase in the industry. Want to know more about Sarah? Click here to find out more : Read More

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