Electricity distributor Northern Powergrid has selected Moixa's smart batteries, which will be installed in 40 homes and connected in a virtual power plant.

The £250,000 trial will use 30 homes fitted with solar through the Energise Barnsley community energy initiative. It will test how the solution can decrease peak solar output onto the electricity networks when there is low local demand.

If the trial succeeds, it will help UK electricity network operators in saving millions of pounds every year in the form of infrastructure upgrades and can also reduce the burden on consumers in the form of increased bills.

The batteries will be installed at the end of January and residents will not be charged for them. It is estimated that solar panels can reduce about 30% of electricity bills and by adding batteries, a further 20% reduction can be achieved additionally.

Moixa will be managing the cluster of batteries to reduce peak generation output onto Northern Powergrid’s local electricity network by storing solar electricity instead of exporting it to the grid.

The company has developed a software with ‘learning algorithms’ that respond to solar generation, electricity networks needs and users’ behaviour to optimise electricity storage.

Moixa CEO Simon Daniel said: “Batteries will allow the electricity system to support much higher levels of low-carbon renewable power and increase UK energy independence.

“By managing clusters of home batteries in a virtual power plant and allowing homeowners to use more of their solar energy, thereby exporting less, we believe we can significantly reduce peak solar generation output onto the network.

“This will allow more homes to go solar without imposing new costs on network operators.”

Northern Powergrid System Planning Manager Andrew Spencer said: “This partnership is one of a number of ways we’re working to explore innovations that can benefit our customers and the communities we serve.

“Batteries will play a key role in the smart energy system of the future, keeping costs down for customers whilst allowing the power network to support greater concentrations of solar power.

“This innovative project will provide valuable data on how the inclusion of batteries in solar schemes can enable our designers to connect more PV panels before further network reinforcement is required.”