How can the energy sector respond to the emergence of off-grid systems?

In forthcoming years the energy sector is likely to undergo a major overhaul, if the predicted move from grid energy distribution to local generation comes into play. This movement will have a significant impact for energy providers, who will need to widen and restructure key services to be able to secure their ongoing place in the market.

With the mass rollout of smart meters being set for completion in 2020, along with an increase in the installation of domestic solar panels, consumers are becoming more informed about their energy consumption and the energy services provided by retailers are adapting to include technologies such as off-grid power storage, and energy monitoring systems.

Off-grid systems and ‘smart’ technology

Battery storage will form a key facet of the ways that providers and MAPs alike can respond to the increase in domestic energy production. These batteries comprise "off-grid” storage systems that divert energy not immediately used into batteries (typically lithium-ion batteries). Currently homes that have a solar PV system can reduce energy demand from the grid. However with the installation of a solar PV system and battery storage combined, householders can become prosumers, offering up flexibility to the energy system. The financing of domestic batteries will then be a natural market for MAPs to enter into.  

Diversifying services

The UK’s binding climate targets have generated significant opportunities for smart energy technologies to be deployed at scale. The National Infrastructure Commission’s Report "Smart Power” published in Spring 2016 highlighted the opportunity for the UK to become a world leader in electricity storage systems. To accommodate the new investment markets that will emerge, the energy system in the UK is increasingly going to need to be more flexible.