I had a 6.5kW PV solar system installed in 2021, which includes 20 x 325W panels, along with 3 x 8.2kW GivEnergy batteries and a GivEnergy Gen1 hybrid 5.0kW inverter. Overall, I was quite satisfied with the installation, though there were a couple of aspects that could have been better. Firstly, the installer didn’t offer me an extended warranty on the batteries, and secondly, they didn’t offer EPS. Both options would’ve incurred additional costs, but they should have been presented to me for consideration. It’s worth noting that installations now include a 12-year warranty as standard.
The system’s maximum DC input is 6.5kWh, which is adequate for our peak production. Comparatively, the Gen3 inverter can charge and discharge batteries at 3.3/3.6kWh and has a maximum DC input of 7.5kWh. I chose to install the units indoors, as I believe it offers better protection from weather and helps with performance during cold weather, plus the units emit a bit of heat which is beneficial inside the house.
Performance-wise, our batteries and inverter have generally met expectations. However, we’ve experienced significant issues with firmware upgrades, which have affected both the batteries and inverter. These issues have occasionally taken our entire system offline.
For instance, in June 2023, a failed firmware upgrade resulted in a 15-day loss of peak production. Another time, a firmware issue with a battery took several months to resolve. It seems GivEnergy’s rapid expansion has led to growing pains, particularly a shortage of engineers. I hope they’ll improve and make better use of their installer network for initial diagnostics and minor repairs.
I remain cautious about firmware upgrades, especially considering the potential risks once the system is out of warranty. As for the inverter, I don’t see the need to upgrade it yet, but this might become necessary if it breaks down post-warranty.
I’ve been using the batteries to maximise savings with Octopus Energy’s Saving Sessions, earning over £150 in the winter of 2023/24. The system allows easy scheduling of forced charging and discharging, which is quite helpful.