Is now the time to invest in long-term renewable energy supply?

July 25, 2022

View of a static caravan park on the Causeway Coast using gas bottles

Thanks mainly to the uncertainty around Russian gas supplies into continental Europe, wholesale energy prices have shot up and it has been predicted that the average household energy bill in the UK could rise to well over £3,000 this autumn, Meanwhile, Calor Gas recently reported that they are experiencing availability issues for their gas bottles, which are widely used in the UK at this time of year for leisure pursuits such as camping, caravanning or simply inviting friends round for a barbecue.

From home and business owners to barbecue and caravan enthusiasts, we are all feeling the pinch. This, combined with the very real evidence of an escalation of the climate emergency - with reports of droughts in Italy, flooding in Australia and intense heatwaves in India - would suggest that our transition to renewable energy needs to happen far sooner than some of us perhaps realise.

Looking at this situation in the longer term, there could be a positive outcome. The long talked about transition to clean energy is speeding up, and there have already been reports of a huge increase in consumer enquiries into renewable technology such as solar panels.

Now is unquestionably the time to consider investing in a long term supply of clean energy that will give us independence from geopolitical influences whilst also contributing towards reaching net zero. With prices as high as they are, the initial cost outlay could be recouped in as little as five years which is all the more reason to seriously consider switching to a clean energy source.

Combining solar with energy storage

Using a battery energy storage system (BESS) combined with solar technology is one of the most effective ways to flexibly access clean energy to provide power and heat, regardless of when the sun is shining.

The BESS is easily connected to solar panels, enabling it to store the solar energy as electricity which can then provide space heating, hot water and power for every socket and appliance inside. And, with sales of EV’s rapidly rising, this will also work to offset the electricity needed to charge the car(s) parked outside.

One of the great advantages of using a BESS to store the energy, is that it is often modular. We are increasingly relying on technology to lead our lives and this means that our power requirements are also likely to increase. With a BESS, it is possible to simply add more batteries to meet an increase in demand for power.

It has a similar size footplate to a regular boiler and can be positioned either inside or outside a building. The added bonus is, should the owner move to new premises, the BESS can simply be unbolted and make the move also.

Consider connecting to the grid

The BESS can also be connected to the grid, which enables us not only to store excess clean energy for our own use, but also for selling onto the grid. This has two key benefits; recouping the cost of installation more quickly and contributing towards the decarbonisation of the grid.

The system can be set up to recharge automatically during off-peak hours, capitalising on cheaper tariffs and again, helping to recoup costs. This setup creates a more flexible energy system which not only works well for the individual, but also contributes towards increasing the entire country’s access to renewable energy.

The great news is that we already have the technology and skills to make it happen; we have the battery technology, solar knowledge and expertise, electricians (to connect the system to the grid) and the compliances and standards in place for a smooth, safe integration.  

Battery storage for static caravans

Gas bottles are widely used in caravan and holiday parks to provide heat but, with the widespread shortage continuing to bite, a BESS would work really well as a replacement.

An individual static caravan with solar PV on the roof and a battery based storage system (combined with energy occasionally used and/or stored from the mains) considerably reduces the cost of powering the van, eliminating the need for environmentally unfriendly and potentially scarce gas bottles.

Holiday parks also need a backup power supply and this has traditionally been supplied by diesel generators - harmful to the environment and costly to run, repair and replace.  Battery technology has advanced to the point where they can be used to supply backup power that has been sourced in a more sustainable way.

Making sure the technology will stand the test of time

Energy storage products, like all batteries, have a finite lifespan and battery waste is harmful to the environment, so finding a BESS that is repairable and serviceable is key to boosting eco-friendly credentials and keeping the total lifespan ownership costs down.

There are repairable, upgradeable BESS such as Aceleron’s Offgen which, with the proper care, updates and maintenance, can match the service life of solar PV.  Individual parts, right down to a single cell can be upgraded as technology advances and the components that need replacing over time can be easily recycled or repurposed, meaning that no part needs to go to waste.

Aceleron also sells individual batteries, (called the Essential), which are extremely useful in a caravan and leisure setting. The same principle applies, so this battery is much kinder to the planet than other batteries on the market today, with the potential to last a lifetime with the right care and maintenance.

Harnessing freely available renewable energy, together with efficient use of mains electricity (when it is available at lower cost tariff rates), not only reduces operating costs significantly, it also reduces carbon emissions and our reliance on non renewable sources of energy that are out of our control.