June 1, 2023, 8:03 am
House batteries are not new, but house batteries that look like a piece of furniture, are relatively easy to install and easily integrated with smart power management, there are still not many of them.
The new Homevolt from Tibber and the company Polarium is an attempt to do something about it.
The solution, in short, is a huge battery to hang on the wall, and if you are familiar with Tesla’s “Powerwall” concept, which is not currently on sale in Norway, the Homevolt appears somewhat similar – at least physically.
Use electricity when it is cheapest
In a more practical sense, Tibber will use the battery and its own software to control when the electricity is stored and consumed from the battery, so that customers can take advantage of the lowest spot prices for consumption and charging, while the battery supplies electricity so that the price peaks can be shaved.
In terms of design, it is a nicely designed, rounded battery pack, which looks a bit like an unusual ski box – and is hung straight up and down on the wall in the home. Homevolt also comes in different colors.
Mega battery with mega price
Batteries cost money, and we are told that Homevolt will cost from just under NOK 90,000 for the variant with 6.65 kilowatt hours. A twice as large version with 13.3 kilowatt hours will cost almost NOK 130,000.
Initially, Tibber will offer Klarna as a payment solution, but they tell Tek that they hope to bring up more payment solutions as soon as the product is on sale.
Exactly when the batteries will be ready is not known, but it will be sometime in the autumn. However, they can be ordered from now.
Relatively simple installation
Shipping and assembly are included in the price. The company claims that installation will be about as easy as setting up an electric car charger. In other words, you should not need to completely refurnish your fuse box to install the battery.
For electricity customers who have solar cells on their house, the self-produced electricity can be stored in Homevolt. Just as spot price customers can use electricity from the grid when it is cheapest, people with solar cells will be able to use the battery to sell electricity when it is most expensive.
Can function as a load balancer
Potentially, these batteries can also have a load-balancing effect in the power grid and even out the peaks by some households sending electricity back out when access is at its worst.
The battery will use today’s Tibber solutions, which many already know for, among other things, electric car charging.
New but recyclable batteries
A common twist with house batteries is that they are often slightly worn battery cells from electric cars, which get a new and slightly less demanding life in households. However, Homevolt has completely fresh batteries, and does not recycle used electric car batteries.
According to Tibber, they should be designed to be recycled when the time comes – but that is only after 6,000 charging cycles, which the manufacturer estimates to be around 20 years of use.
– Previous products not smart enough
Tibber points out that no one should have made a smart enough battery product that also integrates with society by being able to remedy the power grid in demanding periods.
– No battery had the whole package with good software, good user interface and are easy to understand/use. Nor had anyone taken up the aspect of varying electricity prices and how spot prices can be utilised, explains Tibber in an e-mail.
Some competitors, after all
Despite the alleged absence of smart batteries that take price variations into account, it is possible to find some solutions out there that claim to do just that.
For example, xStorage Home from Eaton, whose logo you may already have in your fuse box – they make, among other things, electrical equipment such as fuses and earth fault protection.
Standard or tailor-made?
Made from freshly recycled batteries from Nissan cars, xStorage promises to take advantage of night and day price variations to use electricity when it’s cheapest. They also have a smart ecosystem of apps around the battery.
The package itself is designed according to a similar philosophy as Homevolt and Tesla Powerwall – i.e. a nicely designed solution that should look good on a wall.
Otherwise, there are also a number of battery systems in use today, but many of them are variants where larger quantities of parts are put together for a tailor-made solution – preferably with double the price. More and more electric cars also support two-way charging from their battery, which in practice can be used for more or less the same purpose.
June 1, 2023, 8:03 am