Pilot project aims to use solar arrays to cut bills of those at risk of fuel poverty
Camden Council has this week announced it has teamed up with Islington Council and Waltham Forest Council to deliver a pilot programme designed to reduce the fuel bills of residents at risk of fuel poverty.
The ’24/7 Solar’ initiative is being part-funded by national fuel poverty charity National Energy Action and will utilise solar panels and energy storage systems to test the potential benefits of storing solar electricity to supplement a householder’s evening power use.
The aim of the trial is to see if there is evidence that integrated solar and storage technologies can effectively reduce the energy bills of fuel poor households.
The panels, ranging from 1.62kWp to 3.78kWp, are being tested using three different battery types from Maslow, Growatt and Sonnen, to compare performance during the lifetime of the project.
Installations have already taken place at 41 low income households across the three boroughs, the local authorities said.
Comparative data will be generated to assess the performance of each brand of battery storage set against key parameters such as installation, reliability and savings generated, the councils said.
The study will also explore whether householders will shift their electricity use to make use of stored solar power during the peak 4pm to 8pm period.
“Solar plus storage is of huge interest to Camden Council,” said Councillor Meric Apak, Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Environment. “Fuel poverty is a very serious issue, blighting people of all ages and circumstances nationwide and storing solar energy can be one of the methods to offer our tenants significant savings to help reduce this burden. This technique also helps meet our Green Action for Change environmental targets by actively reducing the carbon footprint across our housing stock.”
Advocates of solar technologies have long argued that falling energy storage costs could help make the technology increasingly attractive for a wide range of domestic applications. However, experts have acknowledged more real world data is needed to see if solar and storage solutions can deliver an attractive return on investment.