In 2019, Warmworks received funding from SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund to deliver the Domestic Battery Storage Project. The £1.25m project was aimed at installing up to 150 batteries in homes in or at risk of fuel poverty in Dumfries and Galloway.
Working alongside Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP), properties were identified that would benefit most from battery technology, which was designed to be delivered in line with optimal energy tariffs for tenants. With the help of Citrus Energy, tenants were supported with their transition to different energy suppliers and associated tariffs, facilitating the optimised use of the battery technology i.e. charging it during cheaper times of the day or night and discharging it when electricity is more expensive. Utilising the Tesla Powerwall battery and its 13.5Kwh capacity, many tenants have benefitted from their entire daily electricity usage being facilitated by the energy charged at cheaper rates from the battery.
The project finished recently and a number of key insights have been observed:
- Batteries alone can save money for certain households: for customers on dual tariffs and smart time-of-use tariffs, it’s possible to make significant energy bill savings solely by installing a battery storage unit and optimising supply arrangements.
- The right tariff and meter arrangements are a key factor: some customers were unable to access smart meters and smart time-of-use tariffs. These changes are needed to see significant savings on energy bills.
- Batteries can have an impact on health as well as reducing energy bills: some tenants used in-home medical apparatus (for example oxygen supply) and they derived immediate benefit from the battery unit’s ability to supply their home in the event of a power outage.
- Extra support, advice and behaviour adaptation are important at the householder level: not all householders on this project were able to adapt seamlessly to a smart time-of-use tariff, many required additional information and support to complete this step.
- The supply chain is there and willing to deliver: Warmworks used three of its existing network of registered sub-contractors to complete the installation of the battery units. All three companies were able to become Tesla-registered installers very quickly.
This project feeds into Warmworks’ aim to evidence the viability of new technologies that can play a key role in alleviating fuel poverty. To that end, Warmworks has subsequently launched a new project with DGHP – the Renewable Heat Project in Dumfries and Galloway. This project will build on our work with battery storage by pairing it with solar PV and an air source heat pump to maximise the potential benefits for customers i.e. bill savings and a significant reduction in the home’s carbon emissions.
As the path to decarbonisation gathers pace, Warmworks remains committed to ensuring that those living in fuel poverty are not left behind. To ensure a truly just transition, we must continue to work alongside our key industry partners, explore new technologies aimed at tackling fuel poverty and most importantly, ensure that vulnerable people get the support they need to make the transition.