Do you know how much energy generated from your solar panels might go to waste? The surplus energy either gets distributed to the National Grid or is never used up. Think about all the solar electricity that cannot become effective or usable!

Indeed, the UK’s excess energy generated from solar power was 62.33 metric tons in the second quarter of 2021. Also, the surplus energy sent to the grid power gets sold by suppliers at an insanely higher price.

How do you counter that and refrain from falling under the clutches of consumerism?

Well, you can start by storing the free solar energy generated from the solar PV system you have. Most UK homeowners have two technological options – Solar power diverter or solar battery!

Now the dilemma is which one to choose. One can efficiently power your immersion heater, while the other can store the excess solar thermal energy and save your energy bills for a long time.

Read on to understand which technology can help save up more electricity bills.

Solar Power Diverter Definition

Solar power diverters are devices attached to solar PV systems that can help redirect the surplus power. You can technically divert more energy to electrical appliances through a solar diverter. This device will only transfer the surplus electricity to your house’s heating system.

Solar PV PanelsUsually, a power diverter can transfer the surplus energy generated to an immersion heater in your heat pump, electric heater, or other hot water generating device.

Ideally, you can “literally” heat your water supply and get solar hot water from such devices. In some cases, solar diverters are also known as solar PV optimisers. So, it allows you to store your green energy without spending excessive amounts on the grid.

It helps save energy generation costs by diverting extra energy into a hot water tank. However, once the desired electricity requirement is reached, the solar PV system will automatically send it to the national electrical supply.

It means that your feed-in tariff will not decrease even if you use a solar power diverter for generating hot water. So, you will get 50% of the energy figure you generate through solar panels.

Note: A solar power diverter will last up to 10 years with constant usage of your solar system.

Solar Battery Definition

In its essence, a solar battery is what the name suggests. It is a cost-effective battery system and stores sufficient power in emergencies. If you are interested in generating energy from solar PV panels, getting a solar battery makes sense. Through the help of this battery, the electricity generated from solar panels will get stored and used during certain conditions.

The generated solar power will remain in the battery till its total capacity. Your home will start using this power when the energy gets used up from the solar panel inverters. Unlike a power diverter, a solar battery can charge all your household appliances, including your fridge and TV.

What Happens on Full Charge?

Once you have reached the total capacity of your solar power battery, the excess energy created will get transferred to the grid. Therefore, you will have the chance to gain some money through the feed-in tariff payments scheme.

Note: Solar batteries would usually last anywhere between 5 to 15 years with constant usage.

Solar Power Diverters Functions for Immersion Heater

Solar power diverters are nothing but an effective way to save energy from solar panels and generate hot water from your heat pump. If you get a high-end machine, it will automatically monitor the energy usage in your home and compare it with the solar panel energy generation. It will then analyse whether more energy is getting produced or not. Then, instead of sending it back to the grid, the vast majority of the power will get diverted to your water heater.

Due to this, it meets your hot water heating requirements by sending the excess electricity to your immersion heater located in the hot water tank. Now, the hot water cylinder in the consumer unit gets charged and heated free of cost.

This free energy will help save energy bills during the winter as you try to use grid electricity for hot water. In some cases, the solar power diverters can power appliances when your home requires the energy, or else it will send it to the heater on priority. Due to technical advancements, you can now use solar thermal energy without worrying about extra costs for water supply.

Note: If you do not own an export meter, you need to send the excess electricity to your immersion because the government will only pay 50%.

Functions of Solar Batteries for Home Appliances

Do you know how much energy your PV panels generate? On average, the UK weather allows people to generate 700 to 900 kWh from a 1KW panel every year. Around most of it become excess power and gets you 50% from the feed-in tariff.

Solar Panels on RoofEven with the promised government payment, most UK households rely on solar batteries to save solar energy and reduce overall costs. Ideally, the surplus solar energy gets a different treatment than a diverter.

The first step in the process involves the charging of the solar battery. In doing so, the battery will store the electricity that your household appliances and utilise when the solar panels fail to produce electricity.

It is just what you will need to get “off” peak rates from the national electrical supply. However, the moment your battery gets ultimately charged, it gets sent to the National Grid. In a way, you can save much more energy when using your heat pumps and other appliances.

One downside about solar batteries? You need to contact a supplier to get energy for your home once it runs out of the charge.

Which Costs More: Solar Batteries or Diverters?

Solar batteries cost more than diverters due to the diverse functions it offers. On average, a solar battery will cost £500 to roughly £5,400, excluding the installation price.

Tesla Powerwall 2.0 is one of the best solar batteries available in the UK market, with a capacity of 13.5kW. On the other hand, diverters have a reasonably low price range. You can get a good quality diverter to generate free hot water within £320.

The lowest price for this device is £199, excluding the installation cost. Indeed, they are the cheaper options but can get complicated to install. It can either be a consumer unit connection or require professional help for installation.

Solar iBoost+ is one of the best immersion diverters in the UK, with an average cost of £300. The Solar iBoost+ is a reasonably new addition to the market but has promised great things in the future. It can intelligently control the heating system in your home.

Benefits of Using Both with Solar Panels

The benefits you can reap from both of these technologies usually overlap and interconnect in various ways:

  • Both can reduce your energy bills drastically
  • You can export less to the National Grid
  • Your buying requirement for energy from suppliers diminishes

The diverter will take the load off your boiler and give you free hot water. The solar battery will provide you with an energy source during a blackout or sudden rains.

Diverters model after a 100% efficiency module like the solar batteries. However, these batteries will need maintenance, unlike the diverters. For example, you should regularly boost your batteries and keep them charged while ensuring an optimum temperature. Also, solar batteries in the UK have a better warranty period.

It might be challenging to choose the right one for your home. But, either one would work great with the UK weather. It all boils down to the efficiency of your panels, your needs, power usages, and affordability.

The Bottom Line – Which Should You Choose?

Do you want a solution to your heating water problem, or maybe you want to take advantage of sending less energy back to the grid? Either way, you need to install a solar power diverter or a solar battery to save on the electricity generated from your PV system.

One thing to note is that you cannot get off the grid with the help of either of these technical options. Instead, it will take you in the right direction towards self-sufficiency and saving the electricity produced.

If you want to optimise your heat options for your water at a lower cost, choose a diverter. On the other hand, solar batteries are more powerful and diverse but have a higher price point in the UK. You can choose between Solar iBoost or Tesla Powerwall to help you make the most of solar energy.

Given the unpredictability of the UK weather, solar batteries would be a wiser decision as solar panels produce half of their capacity during rains. Similarly, it can store more energy but requires extra maintenance. Even then, these technologies have varied usages, but they can provide the same result – maximum savings on your energy bills.

Are you ready to go green and make the most out of solar energy from your solar system?