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What is Home Energy Storage from OVO Energy?



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These are useful observations, @Asterix187 and @NoPoke.

We should bear in mind that Massed Storage Network Management is also very new to OVO. They only bought into VCharge last year!

What we discuss here could be providing the Project Manager with exactly the sort of initial feedback he requires. Conjecture/speculation of what us potential customers would like to buy into, is probably every bit as helpful as our comments on what we already know.

Clearly the financial viability of owning/running a static Home Battery is already exercising our minds. Moving forward from the impending Trial to look at what might attract future domestic customers, one possibility is for OVO to offer a 3-year contract during which time the Battery is leased. This spreads the cost and the risk for both parties whilst the tariff structures for buying/selling electricity are gradually developed.

@Asterix187, those who have a Home Battery, even on the Trial, will still have access to use the stored charge in their own home. I can't see anything which would prevent this. Once the energy has passed through your Smart Meter, there is nothing to hinder its use for your kettle, TV or electric shower.

What isn't yet clear is what happens if a home subsequently installs PV Solar-panels. This would make the financial viability better because you could often charge the battery for free whilst still benefiting from income when stored charge is fed to the Grid.

Existing PV installations will already have a grid-inverter, which is quite an expensive item. But OVO might prefer to create a Home Battery upgrade/product to which the DC output of the panels is directly fed. The battery cells can then be charged without converting from AC, and of course, the Home Battery already contains its own (relatively large) inverter, capable of feeding the Grid at up to 10kW peak.

What we currently perceive as the OVO Home Battery may yet turn out to be a range of products, created from the same basic design.

Good news about the 1GW link from Scotland, @NoPoke. That will help bring more hydro power into England.

And have a look at this thread which predates the Home Battery announcements of last week. Right at the end I provided a link to a Planning Website which shows the plans for a 50MW battery village at Torbay, Devon!

That shows you the sort of problems that exist in the South-West where Western Power are trying to balance the Grid in the wake of surges from the high proportion of renewables generation.
Certainly looks like an interesting concept. When I first read the landing page for it, I struck me as charging on ECO7 off peak and discharging later (4pm-7pm peak). However reading this thread and looking into other products such as Octopus Agile, actually I think it will be using the 30 minute wholesale pricing to try and juggle the market to get cheap rates any time during the day, but in readiness for the 4pm-7pm 'rush' of demand. This is very much something I'd be interested in powering my actual house as well as helping the grid (with any surplus).

What I fail to see though is how this is metered and paid for? Electric will be coming in via my meter so I will be charged for that. OVO doesn't make mention of this anywhere that I can see? It doesn't seem to mention what will happen to what goes back out again either. I assume it will be metered and communicated with over the internet. Would be interesting to see if OVO will offer charges of the wholesale rate for charging the batter and payments of the wholesale rate when it "sells it back" later on. Or is the £100 payment meant to cover the energy cost during the trial?

Need more info OVO 😉
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Important!!!

I've just been told by @Darran_OVO that those of us who got accepted onto the initial Home Battery Trial last year will need to re-register our interest to be on the forthcoming Trial here.

There is no automatic transfer of details from the old database to the new.
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Hi @ChrisL,

You have indeed realised the radical changes that are about to occur in our energy supply system in the UK. This is every bit as revolutionary as the gradual switch we did to digital TV.

Nor are these just proposals. This is already enshrined in the necessary legislation. That's why the British Government has been able to set the end of 2020 for all dwellings to have Smart Meters installed.

If you will allow me, I'd like to leave my response to your 2nd paragraph about metering and pricing to a separate message. It's complicated because we have been discussing here three different phases of implementation:

a. What happens during the Home Battery Trial having responded to the announcement which started this Topic on the Forum

b. Houses with SMETS2 meters who buy a storage battery next year onwards

c. What happens once the Energy Suppliers offer Tariffs with variable half-hour rates


Returning to your first paragraph, there is a difference between the way in which energy is traded in 30-min chunks on the wholesale market, and the forthcoming SMETS2 protocols for half-hour (HH) tariffs. The two concepts are not connected.

The SMETS2 system is called Time-of-Use tariff (TOU) and is one of a number of new mechanisms which allow homes to be run in a more energy-efficient manner.

The TOU HH time-slots are not accurately aligned with exact times as displayed by clocks in your home. Instead there is an inbuilt hierarchy of intelligent randomisation within the SMETS2 software.

If this were not so then the National Grid would be subjected to enormous surges and dips as everyone with Smart Washing Machines and EV-Chargers suddenly came on-line simultaneously!

Instead of this, for each HH-slot, the SMETS2 protocols will allow Energy Suppliers to first identify those locations where energy can be sourced, such as homes with PV or Home Batteries.

Next, signals will be sent to other SMETS2 meters allowing them to enter their next HH-slot when their own random-counter allows it (sometime over a period of several minutes). This gradual take-up of power helps to balance the Grid, smoothing out the peaks which presently cause problems.

The Homes that are Nett-exporters can now be gradually switched on, matching demand and allowing a corresponding decrease in power-stations running on coal/gas which take several minutes for their generation output to be changed.

So you may schedule your Smart Washing-machine to come on overnight when electricity drops to a preset pence-per-unit, but you probably don't care if that's midnight, 00:07 or not until 03:38.

Have I described this adequately?
Yep sounds spot on. I can see why OVO want us to have batteries available to them, what I don't think they've made clear to us in their marketing material/landing page, is what benefit the owner/user gets for all of this. It should be a win/win for both OVO and end users in OVO gets a nice big on-demand power source, and owners should also get the benefit of cheaper electricity by participating. However that is not yet clear.

It will certainly be interesting to see where this all goes. You've already identified the potential major pitfall in the system, in assuming everyone has smart meters, when electricity is cheap, they will all try and jump on and get it causing an unnatural spike. Sounds like they have a system to try and combat this with your reference to "intelligent randomisation". Will be interesting to see how they make access to the cheaper rates fair. I assume they will have to set HH time slots and the "random" part just offsets the start of these slots for each meter. Otherwise, if mine starts say 20 mins into a cheap HH slot, it could end up that I pay more than someone who's meter started 1 min into a cheap HH slot. Make sense? Sure they've thought about it all already 🙂
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Well, @ChrisI, I don't think the OVO Home Storage Trial is just about mechanical testing... at least, I hope not!

They should also be monitoring how the test sites change their habits according to varying tariff structures being made available. This will need to form the basis for OVO's maths gurus devising some attractive options. Otherwise no one will want to invest in static batteries, will they?!

Nor do I think the feedback should be limited to those selected for the Trial. This entire Forum Community is a very important test-bed for ideas as to how future tariff-structures might work.

I think the randomisation built into SMETS2 protocols is only a small part of what the country needs in order to:
  • balance the overall electricity grid
  • make better use of renewable sources
  • reduce overall energy demand
  • offer tariffs to assist those in fuel-poverty

The peaks of demand are not evenly spread across the country, and nor are sources of renewable power. So there will also be regional/local monitoring which will mean users in the WestCountry get offered cheaper HH-slots at different times to those in London.

The South-East is also somewhat more wasteful of electrical power. They have a higher consumption per head of population than elsewhere in the UK. So perhaps they will not care so much about using cheaper HH-slots when they're offered.

We might consider that to be fair. If they insist on using power in peak times, then they can pay more, and effectively subsidise lower costs to less wealthy areas of the country.

I expect we'll see a growth in community-owned local generation. If 1000 people own shares in some local PV-installations, then they can not only earn income from selling to the Grid, but also enjoy more cheap-rate HH-slots as a consequence! Thus there are potential benefits to those who couldn't put panels on their own roofs. They might be in a conservation area or in rented accommodation, but this will no longer restrict their ability to access cheaper power.

So there are social issues to taker into consideration as HH-slots start finding their way into tariff structures. It's not just a technical matter.
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I don't think that batteries are viable yet as a private purchase for the majority of customers. They need something more and I hope that OVO have figured out a way to enable their mass deployment ahead of the inevitable reductions in cost of the underlying technology and the likely rises in unit price that can be expected to shift the current position to one where batteries are a no-brainer for most customers.

Wild guesses follow.
5kWh battery cycled once per day.
Battery plus installation cost £2500
10 year life for the product.

Assume charging energy is zero cost then the daily cost for the battery is 70p or 14p per kWh. We are in that awkward period where as desirable as mass purchase of battery storage may seem it is difficult to justify on money alone. Fingers crossed that we are also in a golden period where OVO have figured out how to tip the calculation to accelerate the grid's shift to higher levels of renewables.
What we don't know is the prices OVO are effectively buying and selling the energy at. Assuming the home owner is not able to use the stored energy for a moment, the premise of these batteries will be they charge when the rates are cheap and sell back the energy when there is high demand and OVO get paid a pretty penny for any energy they can put into the grid.

I have no idea what these prices actually are, but if you look at Octopus Agile rate which works on a similar premise, they price energy on the HH time slots. Their cheapest slots are usually around 9p/kWh and most expensive peaks at about 30p/kWh. Assuming you charge on the cheap rate and sell back that energy on the expensive rate, you could make 20p/kWh. I'm guessing OVO get paid perhaps even more than that for fast switching energy back into the grid. Thats where the money is to be made.

What they aren't telling us is what the actual deal is. What they appear to be saying to me is "hey, let us put a battery in your house and its for the benefit of the future of the grid". What they need to be honest with (and this is all part of the trial) is to say "we think we can make some dosh out of this, if you help, we'll make it a win/win for us both".
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I don't think OVO aren't yet telling us what the deal is, @ChrisL. I think they just haven't formulated any Tariff Structures yet. This discussion here might help!

Octopus' methods of applying HH pricing are a pale shadow of the mechanisms for variable pricing which will become available using Smart Meter controls next year.

Octopus' customer base is 78,000 (Annual Accounts to Apr17) with 33 staff and revenues of £33m. They made a loss of £5.8m.

By contrast, OVO's customer base was 750,000 (Accounts to Dec'16) with revenues of £685m and a loss of £16.8m. (Can a moderator tell us roughly how many staff you had in that Financial Year please?).

These are quite different sizes/complexities of business.
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Those are interesting "wild guesses", @NoPoke.

I can help refine them a bit, then we'll be able to have a more informed discussion about what tariffs might be possible.

1. Battery cost is closer to £5,000.

But remember it includes a 10kW main inverter, ZigBee Smart Meter communications, WiFi connection, Charge Regulator and temperature-controlled case.

So the 10kWh unit isn't twice the price of the 5kWh one. If it turns out to be modular, then you'll be able to add on further "slave" battery modules, further reducing the price per kWh.

I'll assume that it will cost about £500 more to add a 4kW solar-PV port (to use the inverter already there). But that's a lot more conjecture. We don't even know if that's an intention.

2. I'd expect the 5kWh capacity to be "cycled" more than once per day. There are three main sources of energy to charge it:
  • Night-time cheap-rate
  • Daytime PV
  • Other long-term renewables (hydro, wind, anaerobic digester)

And there will be demand time-slots which need filling other than the obvious early-evening one for domestic-users.

3. Life could be longer than 10 years.

Not only would the Li-ion cells gradually get lower capacity (there's no sudden cut-off point), but there will be an ongoing supply of cells which can be used for replacement. And those replacements will be available at ever-decreasing cost.
So nearly 4 weeks on an no news. Did OVO jump the gun with this or have others that signed up for the trails been contacted? Find it odd that there's been no more info about this and how it will work. I did get an email suggesting I look at the Home Storage section of the forum but it lead to the other subforum and not this one.

Any more news OVO?
So the main focus for this seems to be for people without green generation methods. Although it will work with solar / wind etc.

The trial seems to be for grid capacity issues and to smooth out generation peaks .
Much like the thoughts of smart fridges / freezers that could turn off when demand is high.

Also the trial is for users without solar / wind generation.

Our battery is capable of working with solar and any other microgeneration but our initial trial will only be for customers without onsite generation - but you’re still very welcome to register your interest in the trial so we can keep in touch as we continue to develop the product.
I was about to sign up for a switch to Ovo energy when I saw the Solar Store trial being publicised. I currently have 9.9kwP of power and can only use about half of it in daytime so it's really interesting to me.

Is the trial going to be available to recently signed up customers? Or is there a waiting period, or a geographic constraint or any other trial availability issue?

If not available to me, is there any idea about when a commercial system will be available?

Many thanks
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I was about to sign up for a switch to Ovo energy when I saw the Solar Store trial being publicised. I currently have 9.9kwP of power and can only use about half of it in daytime so it's really interesting to me.

Is the trial going to be available to recently signed up customers? Or is there a waiting period, or a geographic constraint or any other trial availability issue?

If not available to me, is there any idea about when a commercial system will be available?

Many thanks


Hey @Chunky - I've moved your post over here where there's been lots of discussion about Solar Storage. Hope you find the information helpful!

Nancy
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Hi @Chunky; welcome to this discussion! :)

When you mention that you "currently have 9.9kwP of power" are you talking about renewable generation such as that from a solar-panel?

Although OVO haven't yet publicly announced the criteria for those taking part in the Storage Trial, I conjectured here, earlier in this thread, that it is likely to exclude those properties with an existing grid-connection for micro-generation.

That doesn't mean that OVO won't later release a version of their new Storage solution which handles solar-input. It's simply because the regulations for grid-connections currently prohibit have two sources capable of jointly exceeding 16A per phase.

Once OVO have demonstrated that their VCharge software correctly handles this technical issue, I expect the regulations to be updated with a new G-standard for grid-connected storage, including V2G (vehicle to grid).

Please request clarifications if you want them.
Anyone had any update on Home battery storage .
Anyone received information on installation dates or trial start dates ?
Seems no one has received any information who signed up.

Ovo care to comment on plans ?
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@Kickboxingboy Nothing as of yet but hopefully we do. I am as excited as you are when it comes to being environmentally friendly 🙂
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@Kickboxingboy Nothing as of yet but hopefully we do. I am as excited as you are when it comes to being environmentally friendly :)

Same here, IT Geek 123.

I did a carbon footprint checker today and scored 43% of the UK average, feeling quite chuffed! 🙂
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@Kickboxingboy Nothing as of yet but hopefully we do. I am as excited as you are when it comes to being environmentally friendly :)

Same here, IT Geek 123.

I did a carbon footprint checker today and scored 43% of the UK average, feeling quite chuffed! :)


@Bumblebee Oh no way! How does one simply do a footprint checker? If you have a link, I wouldn't mind trying it out 😛
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@Kickboxingboy Nothing as of yet but hopefully we do. I am as excited as you are when it comes to being environmentally friendly :)

Same here, IT Geek 123.

I did a carbon footprint checker today and scored 43% of the UK average, feeling quite chuffed! :)


@Bumblebee Oh no way! How does one simply do a footprint checker? If you have a link, I wouldn't mind trying it out :P


Here we are my friend! :)

https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/
I've not heard a thing since signalling my interest on the original link.
I hope the silence from OVO on this thread is not ominous.

I've been waiting a long time for an energy supplier to come up with this product and switched from Good Energy to get involved.
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I hope the silence from OVO on this thread is not ominous.

I've been waiting a long time for an energy supplier to come up with this product and switched from Good Energy to get involved.


I think the wait will be worth it 🙂 Plus, I don't see any other energy supplier making this much effort when it comes to providing their customers renewable energy products 🙂 Other than Ecotricity with EV charge points but people spend most of their time at home rather than the road.
I think OVO have probably gone public with it in a rush and now are having to sort out all the issues with making this actually happen before we can actually see it for real. Marketing jumping the gun perhaps?

BTW Octopus Energy are also looking/already doing trials of V2G and home batteries AFAIK but can't find anything concrete. OVO seem to be the most public about doing it, but well, aren't actually doing it from what we can see?
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I think OVO have probably gone public with it in a rush and now are having to sort out all the issues with making this actually happen before we can actually see it for real. Marketing jumping the gun perhaps?

It's not like they have done anything wrong. It's not like EA or any game developers where they give a release date and push it back like three times before it's released haha! At least OVO have said this is coming summer. It's still summer and so they have not broken any promises to their customers. Until summer ends, then I guess people can then prompt OVO and ask what is happening.

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