UK start-up develops home batteries for solar power

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A British company has developed an energy storage system to enable homeowners to store the power they generate from solar panels.

Start-up company Powervault claims its complete system – including batteries, charger and control unit – can be installed in an hour and is compatible with all solar electricity systems.

The unit will store surplus electricity generated by solar panels during the day, and release it in the evening.

Powervault is marketing the battery system for between £2,000 and £2,800, with hopes it will have sold 10,000 units in three years and 50,000 within five years – by which time it said would be able to sell them for less than £1,000.

The company raised £700,000 through crowdfunding for its second round of funding, which will enable it to implement a redesign to cut manufacturing costs by a fifth, develop a lithium-ion version of the unit and establish new sales channels.

The move comes after Tesla launched its new wall-mounted lithium-ion rechargeable storage units, based on the batteries used in the company's electric vehicles, in the US last month.

Powervault managing director Joe Warren said: "We're already making sales and we aim to be a household name in five years, making a significant impact with products in 50,000 homes around the country."

He said there was a growing market for solar home storage systems, with battery costs falling and as many as two million UK homes forecast to have solar panels by 2020.