Published on August 28th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor
Most early adopters of solar PV systems originally had the hopes of having power even if the grid went down with a power outage, only to find out that was not how things worked with grid-tied solar PV systems — if the grid went down, electricity from their PV system was also unavailable. But now that original dream can become a reality. By adding energy storage to the solar PV system, solar PV owners can have the security of being grid-tied (so that they can pull from the grid when needed), but when there is a grid failure, they will still have power.
The California Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) has been brought back and is now including Advanced Energy Storage (aka battery backup). So, what does that mean for Californians? This is a big step towards energy independence, even for the grid-tied utility customer. How can we go from 30-40% clean energy all the way to +70% here in California? The answer is a more flexible grid. And energy storage is part of the solution that provides us with that flexibility.
With the revived program, homeowners or business owners who have already gone solar or are now installing a solar system can invest in energy storage and store their generated electricity for use later and avoid using the energy generated from their solar systems during peak times. It’s the old adage “buy low, sell high.”
Now customers of PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E can save $1.80/W for energy storage, plus an additional 20% of the incentive when installing products from a California supplier. There are of course limitations and exclusions of this program – customers must be grid-tied to one of the eligible utilities, must use new equipment installed by a California-licensed contractor, and cannot be connected to a non-renewable generator, such as a standard diesel generator. But for that, they are only required to pay a minimum of 40% of the project cost!