Solar PV and Battery Storage in the UK: A Smart Choice for Homes but Not Always for Businesses


normal_6059820035e51-4130600995 In the UK, the shift towards renewable energy sources is gaining momentum, with Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems leading the charge. Homeowners are increasingly adopting Solar PV systems coupled with battery storage solutions to maximize energy efficiency and minimize costs. However, for businesses, particularly factories and large commercial entities, the adoption of battery storage doesn't always make economic sense. This post delves into why battery storage, while beneficial for residential use, may not be the best choice for businesses in the UK.

Solar PV and Residential Energy Patterns

For homeowners, Solar PV systems are a sound investment. The typical energy consumption pattern in a household peaks in the mornings and evenings, times when solar generation is low. This mismatch between solar energy generation and consumption is where battery storage systems shine. They store excess solar energy generated during the day for use at night, reducing dependence on the grid and leading to significant cost savings. Battery Storage: A Mismatch for Business Energy Needs In contrast, businesses, especially factories, have a different energy consumption pattern. Their peak energy usage aligns closely with their operational hours, which often coincide with daylight hours. This means that a significant portion of the solar energy generated is consumed in real-time, reducing the need for storage. Moreover, businesses generally have higher energy requirements than residential users. The capacity of commercially available battery storage systems may not be sufficient to meet these higher demands, especially in energy-intensive industries. The cost of installing a battery system that can handle such high loads might not be justifiable when considering the return on investment.

Economics of Selling Back to the Grid

Another key factor is the financial incentives available for selling excess solar energy back to the grid. In the UK, businesses can benefit from a feed-in tariff or a smart export guarantee, which offers around £0.15 per kWh for exported energy. This rate can provide a significant revenue stream for businesses, especially those with large solar arrays generating more electricity than they need.

By selling excess energy back to the grid, businesses not only earn money but also contribute to the national grid's stability. This is particularly beneficial during peak production times when there is a surplus of solar energy. In comparison, storing this excess energy in batteries for later use might not be as financially rewarding.

Longevity and Environmental Impact

The environmental impact and longevity of battery storage systems are also important considerations. Batteries have a limited lifespan and their production and disposal have environmental implications. For a business, the frequent replacement and maintenance of large battery storage systems might add to operational costs and environmental concerns, negating some of the green benefits of solar energy.

Grid Reliability and Demand Response Programs

For businesses, reliability is key. The UK's grid is relatively stable and can provide backup power when solar generation is insufficient. Additionally, businesses can participate in demand response programs, where they are compensated for reducing their energy load during peak times or shifting their usage to off-peak periods. These programs offer a financially viable alternative to battery storage, allowing businesses to monetize their flexibility in energy consumption.


In conclusion, while battery storage systems are a wise choice for residential users in the UK to maximize their solar PV investments, the same cannot be said for businesses. The alignment of business operational hours with peak solar generation, the economic benefits of selling excess energy back to the grid, the high capacity requirements, environmental concerns, and the reliability of the UK grid make battery storage less appealing for businesses. Each business must carefully evaluate its energy consumption patterns, operational needs, and financial objectives before deciding on integrating battery storage with their Solar PV systems.