The chances are you are reading this article because you are considering fitting solar panels or a battery storage system to your home or have them already installed and you are researching the best smart tariffs available to make the most out of your system.
Choosing the right electricity tariff for you can be pretty confusing. There are so many different tariffs available on the market, so it can be hard to find the perfect one. Price comparison websites are great, if all you are interested in is price, but less helpful if you are interested in other aspects of your supply such as how green it is, where it comes from, or getting the best value for electric cars and home storage batteries.
In this guide we have selected some of the most innovative electricity tariffs on the market. The provision of electricity tariffs is now tightly regulated, so suppliers can’t offer more than four different tariffs – intended to cut down of the confusion of offers. This has meant that the traditional Big 6 suppliers focus on standard tariffs with the more niche products in this blog being offered by smaller, newer independent electricity suppliers.
Time Of Day Tariffs
Some suppliers are now beginning to offer time-of-day tariffs. These reflect the fact that it costs different amounts to generate electricity at different times of day, dependent on the type and amount of power available to the grid. It costs more to produce electricity at peak times between 4pm and 7pm and less in the middle of the night, and at weekends. You are probably aware of Economy 7 tariffs, which have been around for many years and historically encouraged the use of night-time electricity for electric heating. We are now seeing specific variants on this, especially designed for battery storage and/or electric car charging.
Electricity Tariffs Best For Battery Storage Systems
There are other suppliers offering banded tariffs that are well suited for use with solar batteries. These tariffs typically have low overnight pricing, medium prices in the day and high pricing at peak times between 4 and 7pm. These tariffs are perfect for battery storage systems, if sized correctly, it means that you can cover all of your consumption through the high priced times from cheap power bought in overnight.
Green Energy UK offer the TIDE tariff – 7.9p/kWh off peak, 16.3p/kWh standard times, 32.5p/kWh at peak times (at the time of writing). You will need a smart meter installed in order to be able to access these tariffs.
If you have solar installed, it is worth only using this tariff to buy power in during the winter, otherwise throughout the summer months when solar production is high, you may have bought power unnecessarily when you could have charged the batteries up with free solar energy.
Agile’s prices are often cheaper when the energy in the grid is greener, and more expensive when energy’s dirtier (usually between 4-7pm, when the UK’s fossil fuel generating stations have been turned on to meet high demand).
When Agile Octopus customers shift their energy usage to access the cheapest rates, they reduce the need to burn as many fossil fuels during ‘peak times’, and help us get the most out of green energy when it’s abundant. This way, Agile rewards you for helping drive the green energy revolution — making a 100% renewable energy system possible on a massive scale.
Once signed up, they will send you the next days prices at 4pm, so you can look at these and determine when to use electricity. If national demand is low and there is a lot of renewable generation (e.g. offshore wind) then prices may be very low. Conversely, when demand is high and renewable generation low, prices will be high (winter evenings, when weather is still).
However, the broad pattern of pricing from the Agile tariff is likely to follow a similar profile to the banded time of day tariffs described above. So, once again it means you can avoid high-prices with a home battery and only ever import electricity at the cheapest times.
The advantage of the Agile tariff is that in times of national oversupply of electricity, prices can get very low indeed. If fact they can actually go negative – which means you get paid to fill your battery up!
Tariffs For EV Owners Who Can Benefit With Battery Storage
A number of new electricity tariffs to support electric vehicle charging have reached the market in recent years, offering cheaper night time charging rates. This allows electric vehicle owners to charge and run their cars as cheaply as possible, whilst also incentivising them not to charge at peak times (i.e. when they get home), which at high volumes could be problematic for the grid.
Not only can you charge your car with cheap rate power, you can also charge your battery storage system too, meaning solar isn’t required to make great savings on your energy bills.
EV tariffs tend to be banded time-of-day tariffs with two bands, with the cheap band in the middle of the night. The tariffs with three bands described above are also well suited to E V charging.
At the time of writing, the following tariffs and night time rates are available:
- Scottish Power Smart Green Electric Vehicle, 4.74p/kWh
- Octopus Energy Go, 5p/kWh
- EdF Energy Go Electric, 8.01p/kWh
- Good Energy EV Driver3, 10.6p/kWh
- British Gas Green Drive, 11.84p/kWh
Should I install a solar battery system?
If you’ve done all the research, then if you can afford it, a solar battery system added to your existing panels or purchased as a part of an integrated system makes perfect sense – energy prices are unlikely to fall to previous levels any time soon.
If you’re not entirely convinced yet, then please give us a call so we can talk you through the steps to energy independence and give you a more accurate idea of the likely cost, along with the time it will take for you to see a return on your investment.
And, if after you have all the information, you decide to install solar panels, solar inverters, and battery storage, you will see from our Trustpilot reviews that we are one of the leading system designers and installers, ready to go, please get in touch.