UK firm to increase lead and lithium home storage devices 50-fold by 2020

UK firm to increase lead and lithium home storage devices 50-fold by 2020

Powervault, a UK energy storage company which makes home energy storage devices that are suitable for both lead and lithium batteries, announced this week that it was preparing to increase its production of units 50-fold by 2020.

Managing director Joe Warren told BESB that the device was compatible with all kinds of battery chemistry and would be rolled out according to demand.

“Although our first product in 2014 was a lead acid device, we are battery agnostic,” he said. “Different customers have different demands and when we are specifying a system we explain the pros and cons of each.

“Historically lead has had much lower upfront costs, but its energy density and lifetime is lower. We believe there’s a lot of research suggesting that lithium ion batteries are going to come down by 75% in price, but the reduction hasn’t happened yet.”

Because the Powervault’s basic unit is the same, it will always be compatible for whichever battery chemistry a customer selects, said Warren.

“Different batteries have different voltages and control systems to allow the energy storage device to interact,” he said.

Warren said there were currently a million homes in the UK with solar panels on their roofs, and while that was a key market, it was not going to be the future focus: that would lie in smart meters.

Ofgem, the UK government regulatory body for gas and electricity, says millions of homes and small businesses will have smart meters installed by the end of 2020. It means that it will be much easier to store energy from the grid at cheaper times and use it at peak times instead.

“The smart meter roll-out will make people much more aware of their energy consumption,” said Warren. “We’re expecting people to take a much more active stance, and this is where our Powervault comes in.”

Powervault’s lead battery unit, which stores 3 kilowatt hours of power, sells for £2,500 ($3,100) which, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, is 12% less than the average industry price.