NG’s flex trials reward battery homes with “up to 10 times” cash paid to manual control tweakers; study


Owners of home batteries earned up to ten times more cash from the National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) than participants who manually switched home appliances to run outside times of peak demand, a vendor’s research claims.

Last winter the NG-ESO ran its first two batches of national trials for its DFS, designed to gauge how responsive home power users are – or could made to be – to messages that time-shifting will save them money.

As part of the experiment, the NG-ESO and participating suppliers advertised the cash advantages to homes who switched heavy usage devices such as washing machines to run overnight or outside times of peak power demand.

Results of the trials, as analysed on behalf of one battery vendor, were released this morning.  Kit retailer SolarEdge is heralding their insights as a ‘game changer’ in the promotion of home storage of electricity.

Unlike ‘manual turn-down’ participants, owners of SolarEdge’s Home Battery earned financial rewards for their stored battery power during peak hours, without having to reduce their electricity usage.

Consumption monitoring company Smart Metering Systems (SMS) used SolarEdge’s smart control technology to charge participants’ batteries remotely ahead of each DFS event and then maximize power export to the grid over the hours of the DFS event’s duration.

Autonomous control removed the need for homeowners possessing Solar Edge batteries to tweak the times when they ran high-consuming household devices.

The company’s analysis finds that participating battery owners earned up to ten times more financial rewards than participants paid by the DFS for manually tweaking – “time-shifting” – usage by big household appliances.

The highest financial reward received by a battery owner during a single DFS event was £25.60, against an average reward received of £6.52. In comparison, UK manual turn-down participants in the DFS trails received only £0.90 or so per DFS event on average.

In the six DFS events which SolarEdge batter owners participated in, the highest total reward achieved by a battery participant was £100.61. Projections by Smart Metering Systems suggest that if the DFS service becomes an enduring year-round service, domestic battery owners could earn over £300 per year.

The National Grid benefitted too from the DFS’ cuts in demand, through power flows re-scheduled to times when the grid could accommodate them.

Analysts found that participating battery-equipped homes were up to six times more effective in trimming back grid demand than UK homeowners manually twiddling appliances’ knobs. On average, battery-enabled participants exported 2.7 kWh to the grid per DFS event, compared to a reduction of 0.5 kWh or less posted by the average manual turn-down participant.

Mark Hamilton, managing director for FlexiGrid at analysts SMS, concluded: “Introducing automation into the DFS has game-changing potential to amplify significantly the volume of homeowner participation next winter and in future DFS events, and subsequently boost the impact of grid stabilization using home batteries.

“The ability to remotely schedule participants’ batteries to autonomously charge ahead of each DFS event and maximize power export to the grid”, said Hamilton, “means homeowners can earn passive income while consuming electricity as normal.

“This is in contrast to the DFS participants required to actively change their behaviour to earn energy bill savings. This was a key factor in the drop-off of participation we saw as the national DFS scheme went on.”

From home storage vendor SolarEdge, its Western Europe regional manager Amit Larom oberved: “We’ve seen first-hand the significant value battery-enabled flexibility response delivers to homeowners and grid operators alike.

“Home batteries enable homeowners to lower their energy bills and increase their savings by leveraging excess solar during evenings when electricity tariffs are at their highest.

“Participating in demand response programmes can further help improve the economics of purchasing a home battery”, said the SolarEdge salesperson.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *