Does Octopus Energy Install solar panels and battery storage?
Octopus Energy will be installing solar panels and battery storage in my home this summer. You can get a quote for Octopus home solar on their website.
At the moment you can get an Octopus solar installation if you live in the Midlands or the South of England. Octopus Energy aims to expand to the rest of the UK by the end of 2023 and their vision is to complete 5,000 Octopus solar installations in their first year. You can still request a quote if you live in other areas of the country and they will contact you when the service is available.
We’ll handle your installation every step of the way, from your initial quote right the way through to paying for your exported energy, so your experience is smooth as sunlight. – Octopus Energy
Octopus Energy Solar and battery storage quote.
The quote process with Octopus Energy is very easy. There is no need to talk to anyone and it can all be done online. I requested a quote from a local installer as well as Octopus Energy. The local installer wasn’t able to quote online so I had to arrange a time for them to visit. I was able to get a quote for solar from Octopus without the need for a visit, I just sent them all the relevant information including photographs of my roof.
Here are the questions on the Octopus solar panels installation enquiry form; (You can link to it here – Octopus Energy solar enquiry form.)
- Do you own or rent your property? (Where the solar panels would be installed.)
- What type of property do you live in?
- Does the roof(s) you want panels on face north? (You can say unsure)
- Does your roof have any of the special features below? (Click on any photos that apply eg velux window.)
- How many storeys (floors) does your home have?
- When are you looking to get your system installed?
- Name, address, phone number and email.
- Nearest city.
- Then photographs of your roof where you want the solar panels to go.
If your area isn’t covered Octopus will tell you and keep your details from when they launch in your area.
Octopus will email you the solar / battery storage quote.
Tom from Octopus emailed me when I started the installation process. I sent him lots of photos and we had a quick chat the next day. I had very specific requirements as I wanted a new battery, GivEnergy All In One, that hadn’t even been approved for installation yet. (It is now)
The whole quotation process for solar / battery storage is very easy with Octopus Energy. The quote will come through via email. There’s a hyperlink you click on and you’ll see all the information you could ever need to know, it’s a big document!
If you want to go ahead and you’re happy with the Octopus solar quotation you pay a £500 fee and Octopus will book you in for a home survey. The £500 then comes off the balance of the Octopus solar installation at the end.
Octopus home visit – Solar installation survey.
The home visit was very thorough. Octopus Energy came out to my home and checked everything. Even though we aren’t installing the battery in the loft they went up to take more accurate measurements of the roof. The home visit was very helpful as it also gave me the opportunity to ask lots of questions.
After we had agreed on equipment for the solar and battery installation Octopus Energy then applied to the Distribution Network Operators (DNO) for permission to go ahead with the work. You will always need permission unless your system is completely off grid, it is a legal requirement as adding any capacity to the grid can be a safety issue for those working on it.
How long does it take to get DNO approval?
DNO approval is when Octopus submits all the paperwork to the National Grid and they grant your application for your solar and battery installation. This is either a G98 or G99 application. You need this approval as you are creating a mini power station in your home by adding equipment and so you have to let your DNO know what you intend to do. For safety reasons, they have to review all the plans you have submitted through Octopus before any work can take place,
I have just had G99 approval. The application was submitted a few days ago by Octopus and although it can take up to 8 weeks to be approved the G99 offer has come through today. Octopus just has to query one thing on it and then I can get an installation date.
Here’s the equipment we have decided to have installed.
- 6.075 kW of solar panels on 2 south-facing roofs. (15 all-black panels in total.)
- All In One 13.5 kW battery with the gateway (This gives it islanding whole house capability).
- SolarEdge inverter & optimisers.
The total cost is just shy of £17,000. That is for everything, scaffolding, bird protection, and all the certificates and registration. I have paid £500 so far and the balance is due as soon as the work is complete.
I don’t need the SolarEdge inverter and optimisers, I just want them. There is no shading on my roof (a small amount possibly on the side elevation depending on the time of year) but I want to be able to monitor each panel and the optisomers do this really well. It is the same with the GivEnergy Gateway, it is more a want than a need but we do have occasional blackouts so this is something that was high on my wish list.
The £17,000 could be reduced by removing some of the items and/or having a smaller battery.
Considering where I should house my new Givenergy All In One Battery. What are the options?
A home battery is quite versatile, it can be installed in the;
- Outside (If you can provide some sort of shelter over the top)
A battery will allow you to store any electricity you don’t use, so that instead of exporting the energy back to the grid, you can use it later when the sun isn’t shining. The initial cost for a battery is higher than solar panels alone, but it’s a great idea if you wish to be self-sufficient and avoid spending money on pricey electricity from the grid in the long-run. You can also guarantee that the majority of the electricity you’re using is 100% clean, green and home-generated.
The All In One battery by Givenergy is quite a weight, more so than the smaller battery. So installing it in the loft isn’t a sensible idea.
If you are looking at a smaller battery I know lots of people who have opted to have this installed in their loft and have been delighted with their Octopus install. My only concern with opting for installing the battery in the loft is the heat. We have quite a shallow roof space and it gets very hot up there. If we added a battery to the space I would be concerned it would be too hot to be considered a safe option.
My husband wanted to put the battery outside but my concern was about cold weather. I have read that if temperatures fall below zero then the battery sometimes doesn’t work. I know the Tesla Powerwall works fine outside at all temperatures but I would rather not risk it when we have a garage the battery could go in. If you do install the battery outside it just needs a canopy of some sort.
@sarah_go_green #homesolar #solar #batterystorage ♬ Here Comes the Sun – Relaxing Instrumental Music
After consideration, we decided to have it installed in the garage. My husband has been tasked with clearing it out ready for the big day, I am rather relieved to have an excuse to get him to reduce the amount of treasures he has in there.
Octopus Energy home solar installation day.
All the hardware required to install my home solar and battery storage will come from the Octopus warehouse in Slough. I was lucky enough to visit the site and it is super efficient. All the Octopus staff I met were very enthusiastic and committed to offering the very best service to help customers. You can smell their determination to get the green revolution rolling out across the country. I am so excited!!
I spotted a map in their staff room that highlights all the Octopus engineers who have completed their training. It’s a great visual reminder that there’s still a of the country to cover but I enjoyed looking at all the engineer photos on the wall. To have such pride and commitment to rolling this out across the UK is quite inspiring. We need more firms like Octopus Energy!
All the Octopus engineers are training in the Octopus facility in Slough, you can feel the enthusiasm and sense and purpose as you walk around the site. They have two warehouses one for all your lovely new green tech, such as solar panels and heat pumps and another for training, research and development. The dispatch warehouse has now been automated to help dispatch the equipment to customers are quickly as possible. It is very impressive and I salute their commitment to rolling this out as quickly as possible with their own staff. Thanks for letting me visit guys!
(The CEO of GivEnergy has also invited me to visit GivEnergy HQ in Stoke-on-Trent so watch this space. I will be the most-travelled middle-aged woman in a cardigan, being geeky all of a sudden is mainstream.🤣)
Here are some questions I have tried to answer for my own home solar and battery storage journey.
Can battery storage work in a power cut?
This is a question that I have been trying to get to the bottom of and has caused a lot of discussion on my Twitter account. (Thank you to everyone who has replied.)
The answer is yes home battery can work in a power cut but either it has to be set up so that the Emergency Power Supply (EPS) is linked to your home consumer board with a changeover switch or like me you opt for a battery like the GivEnergy All In One with the gateway unit that allows you to “island” your home.
It is the islanding part that allows the home to continue working if you should get a power cut. This happens automatically with the All In One battery if you also have it fitted with the gateway. At the moment this and the Victron battery are the only real rival to the Tesla Powerwall in the UK. The Powerwall battery can also island your home and allows the house to continue to run off the battery in the event of a power cut.
The CEO of GivEnergy explains how the new All In One Battery works in this video.
Octopus Energy can install a GivEnergy home battery with your solar panels. If you install both it is more expensive but you won’t pay any VAT. Solar panels are exempt from VAT and home battery storage is also exempt if it is installed at the same time as solar panels.
Do you really need an Emergency Power Supply?
When weighing up if you should pay for an EPS option you should consider;
- Do you live in a rural location prone to power cuts?
- How long are your powercuts?
- Do you work from home or need a guaranteed supply of energy in case of an emergency?
- Are you a prepper, like me and want to be ready for every eventuality?
Can you spend less but also have an Emergency Power Supply from your home battery in case of a power cut?
If you want to keep costs down you can ask your installers to add a changeover switch rather than trying to cover the whole house with a battery like the GivEnergy All In One with the gateway. The changeover switch can link the consumer board in your home. There will be an extra cost for the work so you have to decide if it’s worth it.
You can link a couple of fuses to the changeover switch. Some systems will even switch over automatically but others will require you to switch over manually from the grid to your battery in the event of a power cut. However, your battery will still only be able to power a small number of items. For whole-house capability, you’d need a Tesla Powewall, GivEnergy All-In-One battery with the gateway or a Victron battery. These are the only three batteries I know that can do that but they cost more!
If you feel you do need an EPS I would discuss it with your installer and find out the cost. There are a variety of options you just need to be selective about which items are going to be powered during a blackout, for example, lights, your fridge and wifi are obvious ones if you do for a changeover switch.
Your installer can also do a slightly cheaper option and add a 3-pin plug where the battery is located, this will be powered by the battery. You could then run an extension cable into the house for emergency use.
Here are two examples of changeover switches linked to an EPS.
Thanks to@madtomgarrett on Twitter for the photograph.
Thanks to @speak2thegeek on Twitter for the photo. He has his garage switches, downstairs lights and upstairs lights linked to his changeover switch.
Will solar panels work in a power cut?
As suggested in this video solar panels also don’t work in a power cut. This is something not everyone considers and for most people will never be an issue. Everything shuts down because you are connected to the National Grid. For safety, if the external electricity supply goes off so does your home battery. I believe this is a legal requirement to safeguard anyone working on the grid.
If someone is then working on the National Grid isolating your home will protect them. This is where islanding is essential. If you want your solar panels to continue to feed your battery they will need to be installed with a hybrid inverter. I think that’s right anyway. (I can explain this but don’t want to complicate it too much)
Dont get too worried if all this sounds a little too complicated. You just have to consider if you need the ability to power your home for long periods in a power cut. If you regularly get power cuts just ask Octopus what the options are. Octopus installs GivEnergy hybrid investors and this new All In One Battery so there are lots of options but it comes down to if you want to pay the extra for that facility.
I want to heat my hot water tank with my solar panels is a simple timer connected to my immersion heater good enough?
I have a very large hot water tank. When we first moved in I heated it with gas. Since having an EV I have started to think more creatively about my energy use and have had a basic digital timer fitted to my immersion switch. I time my immersion to come on during my Octopus off-peak period. I get 6 hours of off-peak electricity a night as I am on the Octopus intelligent tariff.
Now I am having solar panels my plan is to use the timer to come on during the day when there is lots of solar but is that adequate? Do I need to spend more than £30 on a digital timer from Amazon? I posed this question on Twitter and had some amazing insight from solar enthusiasts.
So i’m running through all the prep i’m going to do for the @OctopusEnergy solar and battery install.
Octopus will do everything in terms of install but I obviously have to think how I use my homes new solar energy.
☀️🛁 Do I go for a basic timer and change with the seasons… pic.twitter.com/zL3Fgj0kBR
— Sarah Go Green💚 (@sarah_go_green) July 10, 2023
The responses were split. Some loved the MyEnergi Eddi solar diverter for the hot water and others said I’d never recoup the cost of the Eddi and a simple timer will do the trick. So I think it depends on your budget and if you are happy with just a timer. I think for now the timer will do.
A good point is that you could still heat your hot water at night off-peak whilst exporting your excess solar for more than you would pay for your off-peak rate during the day. That is a fair point and shows how amazing the Octopus export tariffs are. It depends if you want to self-consume your own solar or make a profit exporting it. Octopus Flux is very popular as a summer tariff and you could do this easily on that particular tariff.
The GivEnergy hardware works with all of the Octopus smart tariffs. You can read my blog post where I discuss seasonal Octopus tariffs.
Octopus Energy Solar and Battery Storage South Wales.
At the moment Octopus Energy hasn’t officially launched its solar installation in South yet. I nagged them so much to come to the region they have asked if I would like to be the first installation in the area. I am obviously over the moon and after having a second quote have decided to go with them for the installation. ☀️
Octopus Energy Solar installation milestone.
- Survey Completed by Octopus Energy
- National Grid approved the installation.
- The scaffolding went up on 28th September and the installation started on 6th October and ended on 9th October 2023.
- I am now generating my own solar power and have been running my house from both solar and battery for the last two weeks. I am thrilled to bits!!
It took two hours and thirty minutes for the scaffolding to be erected in two areas of the house. The guys arrived at 9.30 a.m. and left at midday. Octopus subcontracts the scaffolding out and we had a company from Bristol who came and did the installation this morning.
The installation went to plan and took 4 days. The longest part was the cabling for the GiveEnergy gateway.
I will do a full review in the next week. I am very happy with the installation!!
How do I contact Octopus Energy Solar Panels?