Solarcentury and IKEA launch residential home battery in UK


British solar developer Solarcentury has augmented its energy partnership with Swedish furniture giant IKEA with the launch today of a new home battery storage solution.

Available to British online customers, the battery can be purchased as a standalone product or as part of a solar+storage bundle that includes PV panels and the battery system.

Solarcentury says that the standalone battery can be bought for as little as £3,000, while prices for the solar+storage bundle begin at £6,925 depending upon the desired size of the solar array and accompanying battery.

IKEA calculates that the battery could help the typical British homeowner save as much as £560 on electricity bills per year. The average U.K. solar home uses just 40% of the PV capacity it generates, says IKEA, meaning that the remaining 60% is sent to the grid – often at unfavorable rates, or at values below the actual electricity’s worth.

By storing that unused solar electricity in the battery, IKEA says that solar consumption rates can rise to as much as 80%, thereby cutting down on the home’s reliance on grid electricity.

Based on these calculations, IKEA says that an outlay of £6,925 can be paid off in around 12 years at an annual rate of return of 6%. The solar panels and battery offered in the bundle each have performance warranties of 25 years.

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“We know that our customers want to live more sustainably and together with Solarcentury we will help them to get more value from their solar panels and do just that,” said IKEA UK & Ireland country sustainability manager Hege Saebjornsen.

Solarcentury’s head of residential solar Susannah Wood added: “Battery storage is set to completely revolutionize the home energy market, with solar homeowners now able to maximize the amount of solar generated electricity that they can store and use in their homes. We believe IKEA and Solarcentury are offering the most competitive package on the market yet.”

Costs for retrofit batteries, ie, those to be installed at existing solar homes, start from just under £5,000, Solarcentury said. The final cost will be dependent upon the location, the ease of installation, and the type of dwelling.

These quoted prices are based on the 15% discount available for IKEA Family members, Solarcentury's Seb Berry told pv magazine, and the lithium-ion battery (made using cells from established battery manufacturer LG Chem) is set to be available in stores by the end of the year. The sizes available are 3 kWh or 6 kWh.

The U.K.’s home storage market is beginning to heat up, with this latest offering likely to prove a compelling alternative to the Tesla PowerWall, the 2 kWh Moixa Smart Battery and Solar bundle (which retails at £4,995 per kit) and the Powervault, which costs between £2,499 and £4,999 for its 2 kWh to 6 kWh batteries.

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