A solar power system produces electricity mainly at midday and in the afternoon. A power or battery storage device stores solar power that you do not use immediately and makes it available at a later time. For example, in the evening or in the morning when you and your family need more electricity.
Electricity storage devices can be worthwhile and pay for themselves if all the general conditions are right. You save money especially if your energy provider charges a lot for its electricity but pays little for your solar power. This calculation could well work out: Experts expect energy prices to rise and feed-in tariffs to fall in the next few years. If this should happen, there is much to be said for consuming more self-produced solar power, i.e. increasing self-consumption. Then an electricity or battery storage device should be worthwhile.
Solar energy protects resources and the environment. A solar system on the roof also pays off financially: you reduce your electricity costs by 30 percent in the long term, make yourself independent of electricity price increases, increase the value of your house, secure government subsidies and optimise your tax burden. How quickly the investment pays off depends on many factors, including your own consumption. With a high proportion of self-consumption, the investment usually pays for itself in 15 to 20 years with an average lifespan of 30 years.
Solar electricity costs less than electricity from the grid. That's why you should use as much cheap solar electricity as possible and as little expensive electricity from your energy supplier as possible. That way you can reduce your energy costs. You can increase your own consumption with an electric boiler, a charging station for electric vehicles, a heat pump or by changing your behaviour. For example, if you wash and dry your laundry in the afternoon because your solar system produces more electricity then than in the evening. But you can also increase your own consumption with a battery or electricity storage device.
In principle, the electricity storage device works like a car battery. The alternator produces more energy than the car needs while driving, for example for the lights or the air conditioning. The battery stores excess energy so that you can start the car next time. The battery stores electricity that you neither need yourself (self-consumption) nor feed into the grid. You can use this electricity in the evening or at night - or if the sun doesn't shine or doesn't shine enough for days.
Most households consume the most energy in the morning and evening. However, solar systems produce the most electricity at midday, when only a few people are at home. That's why many photovoltaic systems only achieve 30 to 35 percent self-consumption without storage. With an intelligent storage solution, you optimise your consumption, store energy and use it when you need it: in the morning, in the evening or at night. You double the self-consumption share to plus/minus 70 percent and use the environmentally friendly electricity you produce yourself around the clock.
If you are interested in a power storage unit, you basically have the choice between lead-acid or lithium batteries:
Lithium-ion batteries are not only longer-lasting and more powerful, but also significantly lighter. That is why they have long been installed in smartphones, tablets and electric vehicles. No wonder the currently most popular power storage device, the Tesla Powerwall 2, is produced by an electric vehicle manufacturer. Other well-known manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries include Fronius, sonnen and Varta. Their storage solutions can be easily mounted inside or outside on a wall, usually in the basement, and connected to the solar system on the roof.
The price depends on many factors. For example, the storage solution (lead-acid or lithium-ion battery), the number of charging cycles, the storage capacity, the depth of discharge and the power loss. For an average single-family home, calculate an initial investment of 6,000 to 12,000 Swiss francs for materials and installation. Our solar calculator assumes 10,000 francs.
When choosing a power storage device, don't just look at the purchase price. First compare the storage capacity, depth of discharge, number of charging cycles, available peak power and power loss. An expensive battery storage unit may well cost less per kilowatt hour (kWh) than a cheaper storage unit because it is more efficient and has a longer service life. Also consider the installation costs for the storage solution (or your time for installation) and the maintenance costs. Good advice is cheaper than a supposed bargain from the Internet. So it's better to ask an expert.
Get more out of your photovoltaic system with an electricity or battery storage system: