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An even more energy-efficient house in Norway

Discover how xStorage Home helps a Norwegian family make their already energy-efficient home even more efficient.
Magnus Vågen and Arne Ivar Sundseth, xStorage Home distributor in the northern regions of Norway

I wanted to utilise more solar energy, and with the new installations, I can store power when energy prices are low, and use it when the prices are high.

Magnus Vågen, Eaton xStorage Home customer

The Vågen family managed to make their already energy-efficient home even more efficient.

When the Vågen family decided to build a new home three years ago, they dug for geothermal energy—a type of energy that is generated and stored in the Earth. It is clean and sustainable and can be used to make electricity. This type of energy helped the family reduce their energy consumption by around 40 per cent, compared to the consumption of an average household in Norway. This summer, the Vågen’s had solar panels installed on the roof of their property, and an xStorage Home system fitted in the garage. The family’s long-term intention is to become energy self-sufficient thanks to the energy savings facilitated by these installations. The energy produced by the solar panels is stored in two xStorage Home systems that include an Eaton hybrid inverter as well as the battery packs. In the autumn, the xStorage Home storage capacity will double with the support of a brand-new Nissan LEAF car. This electric car will be kept in the garage, and when connected to the xStorage Home system it will help power the Vågen’s home. “I real look forward to witnessing the interplay between the house, the solar panels and the electric car. The car’s batteries will be charged when electricity costs are low, and then discharged to power up the house when the electricity is at its most expensive. I hope the car will run on ‘free’ electricity within a year”, says Mr. Vågen.

Sells electricity back to the energy company

Thanks to an unusually warm and sunny summer, the family of five have used even less energy than they usually do. In June, before the xStorage Home system was installed, the Vågen family used 44 per cent less energy than the average Norwegian household. The following month, once their energy storage system was in place, they benefited from further savings, as they now used 53 per cent less than the average household in the country. “We are in no way extraordinarily conscious or extreme about saving energy. We live comfortably, using as much hot water as we like, and we keep our house warm in the winter. A lot of the energy we save is thanks to geothermal energy and good insulation”, Vågen says, and adds, “our energy meter is not yet installed, but I expect the savings to be even bigger when that’s in place”. Through an application on his phone, Mr. Vågen can see that he has sold more than 500 kilowatt hours back to the energy company since mid-June. If we have another summer like the one we’ve had this year, I’m pretty sure we could manage our energy needs from the energy we produce ourselves throughout the summer period, assuming we are a little bit conscious about how we use energy”, Vågen says.

Higher energy prices

Another benefit of being able to produce and store energy is that Mr Vågen can sell the surplus energy back to the energy provider, which increases the return on investment. “I expect the electricity prices to rise and I think that gives us an opportunity to build on our investment. The higher the price for energy, the bigger the opportunity for me to sell my stored energy back to the provider”, Vågen says. When exactly the investment in the xStorage Home system and the Nissan LEAF car will start to provide returns is difficult to predict, as there are many factors to be considered. “How much, and how fast, the electricity prices rise and how many people will invest in energy storage systems in their homes in the foreseeable future is difficult to predict. How long will the batteries and solar panels last? We’re not sure as this is difficult to calculate, but I do expect to receive returns on my investment in 15 years or so”, Mr. Vågen says. The winter is long and dark in Norway, especially as far north as Inderøy, but the family believe that the solar panels will really begin to produce energy around February. Mr. Vågen concludes, “February is usually cold, but bright, so the snow will reflect a lot of sunlight. The summer of 2018 and the year in general has been amazing for solar panels so far. I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll have equally bright weather in the future”.

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