Blue Lab is EDF Energy’s innovation accelerator – the department who make ideas and innovations come to life to make energy better for the UK. Blue Lab work with start-ups, businesses and innovators to develop great ideas for the energy sector.
Recently, we held the EDF Energy Pulse Awards to give businesses the chance to be celebrated for their work towards building a better, more sustainable energy future. One of the winners in the Pulse Awards was Powervault – manufacturer of an amazing new energy storage system for the home, specifically designed for the UK.
We caught up with Noeleen Keane, a senior manager of innovation at Blue Lab to find out all about how EDF Energy can help us be more sustainable in the UK.
Hey Noeleen, what actually is Powervault?
Powervault is a company that makes fully-integrated and easy-to-install home energy storage systems. The Powervault 3 is their latest model that stores free energy generated from rooftop solar panels during the day for use in the evening.
How does it work?
The Powervault 3 is compatible with all solar PV systems and lets you use more of your solar generation when you need it. It's not limited to just daylight hours, saving you more on your energy bills.
It comes with a hybrid solar inverter, ready for action when your old one fails, saving you the replacement cost of that too.
If you're on a time-of-use tariff, such as Economy 7, you could save even more on your bills by charging on cheaper overnight electricity. And the easy-to-use customer portal gives you full visibility of how much you’re saving on a day-by-day basis.
Why did Powervault win the Blue Lab Innovation category in the EDF Energy Pulse awards?
Powervault won due to the great potential both for the consumer and the industry that we saw in the product.
Run annually, the Pulse awards look for the best new innovations for customers while Blue Lab is here to bring innovations to life!
90 companies originally applied to the Blue Lab competition and Powervault was shortlisted along with eight other brands. Powervault was selected as the winner after a competitive pitch day in London. They've had access to Blue Lab’s facilities and energy experts over the past six months. As well as mentoring they’ve been given access to industry knowledge and consumer insight, and have been supported to accelerate their ideas to the next stage of development.
What's Powervault's mission for the future?
Powervault is focused on changing consumers’ energy consumption behaviours by encouraging energy efficiency and the adoption of renewable energy technologies. They're currently working with companies such as EDF Energy and National Grid to reduce dependency on coal-fired plants by shifting energy demand away from peak times. This flexibility helps enabling the roll-out of electric vehicles and accelerates the U.K.’s transition to a low-carbon, decentralised energy network.
Can you tell us about the discount on Powervault 3 from EDF Energy?
Yes! EDF Energy is aiming to make the purchase of a battery clear and simple – the special price we're running is all-inclusive with:
- Standard installation
- 10 year warranty
- Customer portal to view your savings wherever you are
- Grid services option
Battery technology can be expensive for homeowners so if you join our grid services programme we are offering a substantial upfront discount off the retail price of the battery, unlike other offers in market which give a nominal amount per year.
If you choose the EDF Energy grid services package you get over £1,500 off the retail price of a 4kWh package, or over £2,000 off an 8kWh one. It's a really good deal.
Why would someone want a Powervault 3 for their home?
Powervault 3 is ideal for anyone who already has a solar PV system. Adding a battery to your solar PV system allows you use more of the power you generate at the times you need to use it because you can store your solar generation for use when it's dark or charge up your battery on cheap overnight electricity for use in the expensive hours (if you’re on a time-of-use tariff such as Economy 7).
The Powervault Portal shows you what you’re using when, from anywhere. Plus if you sign up to the grid services, you get the battery at a significant discount, in exchange for allowing EDF Energy to occasionally access it and join into a network of other batteries helping balance the grid.
The system also contains a replacement solar inverter so if your PV system is a few years old, the Powervault inverter can replace your old one, saving you the cost of a new one which is usually about £1,000!
What are grid services? And how does Powervault help the grid?
Grid services just means how we make sure there's enough energy for the country to use. Right now, when the electricity grid runs short of capacity during peak periods, extra power can be generated but usually not in the cleanest or greenest way. Conversely, when there's excess renewable generation, demand can't be increased, so we end up with wasted green energy, which is not good at all.
EDF Energy is building a network of small-scale batteries to help balance the peaks and troughs of energy production and customer demand for energy. This is why we want to offer the discount up front – because owners of small-scale batteries are helping balance the grid. The grid services all happen in the background, without Powervault owners needing to do anything.
Can you tell us a bit about the Powervault portal?
Customers can log in to the online portal to view the performance of their Powervault 3. The online portal monitors charging, discharging, solar generation and energy usage in their home over time, showing the information in easy-to-understand graphs.
Can you tell us about any other exciting projects?
We are at a time of big, big changes in the way in which we power our homes. Using solar generated power after dark is just the start. EDF Energy Blue Lab works with numerous start-ups and entrepreneurs to foster their ideas and bring new innovations to market. Watch this space!
Want to generate your own energy and help balance the grid?