Can You Have Home Battery Storage Without Solar Panels? Written by Tom Gill Reviewed by Charlie Clissitt Updated on 5 June 2023 ✔ Around 10,000 UK homes have a storage battery✔ Storage batteries help reduce your reliance on the grid✔ The average price of a storage battery is £4,500Over 10,000 households in the UK now use home battery storage – most of which are used in partnership with panels, thanks to falling solar panel costs.Not every home is suitable for solar panels, though. If your home falls into this category, don’t worry: you can still have battery storage without solar panels.We’ve explained how that’s possible, looking at the benefits and disadvantages of having a battery without solar panels, and outlined how you can add a solar array at a later date.If you’d like to know what solar-plus-storage could cost you, fill in this short form and our expert installers will be in touch with quotes for you to compare. Which solar products are you interested in? Solar panels Solar battery Solar panels plus battery Not sure Get started What's on this page? 01 Does a storage battery work without solar panels? 02 What are the benefits of a lone storage battery? 03 How much can you save by charging your battery on off-peak rates? 04 When will you break even on your solar battery? 05 Can you add solar panels to your battery later on? 06 Can you charge an electric car with a lone storage battery? 07 Summary 08 FAQs Does a storage battery work without solar panels?A storage battery can absolutely work without solar panels. You can use a storage battery to store electricity from the grid and it's a great way to save money if you're on a time-of-use tariff.Using a time-of-use tariff to charge your battery means charging it when demand for electricity — and therefore prices — are low (such as in the early hours).You can draw on this electricity during peak demand or possibly even in power outages. You’ll still be using power from the grid though, so you won’t be able to escape the cost of electricity, even if you avoid peak times.We recommend combining battery storage with solar panels for this very reason. Getting solar panels means you can charge your battery for free whenever the sun is up.You can then fall back on your battery when your solar panels can’t generate enough electricity, such as on seriously cloudy days, or at night.The downside is the upfront cost of getting both — battery storage will cost you £4,500 on average, and a 3.5 kilowatt (kW) solar panel system will cost £7,860.A storage battery’s typical lifespan is 10–15 years too, and with solar panels lasting around 25 years or more, you’ll need to purchase a second battery. This brings the total cost to £16,860. Read more: Are Solar Panels Worth It? Which solar products are you interested in? Solar panels Solar battery Solar panels plus battery Not sure Get started What are the benefits of a lone storage battery?Having a storage battery without solar panels has advantages compared to just relying on electricity from the grid. Here are the main benefits:You can avoid the higher costs of electricity during peak times — by charging your storage battery when demand is lower, you can use this electricity in the evening and avoid paying peak demand pricesReduces strain on the grid — using stored electricity during peak demand not only saves you money, but also puts less pressure on the grid, which means fewer power outages for everyoneCuts down emissions — for many rural homes, a power cut means turning to a fuel-guzzling generator for electricity. Some storage batteries can let you power your home without one – and if a storm is expected to knock out the grid, you can preemptively charge your storage battery, so you’re preparedIncreases energy independence — not all homes can have solar panels, but you can still get a storage battery to give you more control over the energy you use What are the benefits of having a storage battery and solar panels?Even less reliance on the grid — combining solar panels with a storage battery means you can charge the battery during the day using free energy generated by the sun. You may even be able to go off-grid if you have a large enough batteryYou’ll shrink your carbon emissions — a 4.2 kilowatt solar array saves 0.85 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, which is 13% of the average person’s emissionsYou can sell excess energy via the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) — energy generated by your solar panels that doesn’t go to charging your battery or powering your home can be sold back to the grid for £159 per year, on average Are there any downsides to using a storage battery without solar panels?You’re still reliant on the grid — because you’ll be charging your battery with electricity from the grid, you’re at the mercy of electricity prices, even during low demand. The average three-bedroom household pays £738 per year for electricity (as of January 2023)A battery will cost you around £4,500, but you’ll still be paying for grid electricityYou’re better off getting solar panels on their own instead — it’s £7,860 on average for a 3.5 kW solar panel system that will typically last at least 25 years, which is more than enough for a three-bedroom home – and you’ll break even in 15.1 years, on averageYou can increase your property's value — our National Home Energy Survey found that 69% of Brits would buy a property that had solar panels installed, the battery is an extra bonus.You only get 0% VAT on a storage battery if you purchase it alongside solar panels How much can you save by charging your battery on off-peak rates?You'll spend an average of 17.99p per kWh by charging your battery at night if you're on an Economy 7 tariff. So fully charging an 8 kW capacity battery on off-peak rates would cost you £1.44, versus £2.72 if charged using peak-demand electricity (based off of the UK average price of electricity at 30p per kWh).Charging your battery this way each night will cost you £525.60 annually, instead of £992.80 if you charged when demand is high. When will you break even on your solar battery?You will break even on your solar battery after 8.5 years if you charge it with off-peak electricity. This is based off of the average cost of a storage battery at £4,500, and assuming you're paying 17.99p per kWh for low-demand electricity on an Economy 7 tariff.It'll take 26.3 years to break even on solar-plus-storage, because of the fact you'll need to purchase two solar batteries within the lifespan of a solar panel system. Can you add solar panels to your battery later on?Yes, you can add solar panels to an existing battery system. It isn’t even that difficult — it’s just a matter of hooking up your new solar panels to the battery.Functionally, it’s the same process as adding a battery to a solar panel system, but the other way round.We recommend using a professional to install and connect your solar panels to your battery system, because of the risk of damage to yourself or the products. Can you charge an electric car with a lone storage battery?You can use a storage battery to charge your electric car, but it usually isn’t worth it.That’s because you’re paying to charge your battery with electricity from the grid, only to then transfer the stored energy to your vehicle — making the battery an unnecessary middleman.The rare time it might be worth it is if you’re on a tariff that offers cheaper electricity at certain times — at night, for example. You could use the cheap electricity to charge your battery, then use it on your electric vehicle. SummaryA storage battery is a great way to become more energy independent, even without a solar panel system to charge it.It will always be better to pair them however, because despite the increased upfront cost, you will eventually make a profit — £2,715 over the 25-year lifetime of your solar-plus-storage system, on average.You’ll drastically reduce your grid reliance too, meaning less strain on the grid, fewer CO2 emissions, and an important step to a cleaner world for all.If you’re wondering what solar-plus-storage might cost you, just fill in this short form, and our expert installers will be in touch with quotes for you to compare. FAQs Can I charge my storage battery with electricity from the grid? You can charge your storage battery using grid electricity, but it's best to do so when electricity prices are lower. This is typically at night, when demand for electricity falls and the grid is under less strain to provide power.Some people are on time-of-use tariffs, which charges them less if they use electricity when demand on the grid is lower. How many storage batteries are needed to power a UK home? The average three-bedroom home in the UK will need an 8 kWh storage battery to meet its needs. One or two-bedroom properties will be fine with a 2–5 kWh battery, and a four or five-bedroom home should consider anywhere between 9 and 13 kWh of battery capacity. Will batteries work if the grid goes down? Not all storage batteries will continue to power your home if the grid goes down, because it introduces risk to engineers tasked with fixing it. Basically, there's a chance electricity generated by your battery will feed back into the grid, which could spell disaster for engineers working on reconnecting the grid.There are some models of batteries that have features designed to stop this, and they'll continue to power your home immediately the there's a power cut. See what batteries will power you home if the grid goes down with our guide to the best storage batteries. Written by: Tom Gill Writer Tom joined The Eco Experts over a year ago and has since covered the carbon footprint of the Roman Empire, profiled the world’s largest solar farms, and investigated what a 100% renewable UK would look like. Tom has a particular interest in the global energy market and how it works, including the ongoing semiconductor shortage, the future of hydrogen, and Cornwall's growing lithium industry. Reviewed by: Charlie Clissitt Editor Charlie has been researching and writing about the home energy market for over five years, and he has been the editor of The Eco Experts since 2021. Charlie's thoughts on solar panels have seen him featured in various publications, including The Times, Ideal Home, and Grand Designs Magazine. Ever since he can remember, Charlie has worried about the planet, and he one day dreams of owning a solar power farm.