It should come as no surprise that California leads the United States when it comes to solar energy. Not only does the majority of our state get showered with sunlight for the vast majority of the year, but the state government has provided numerous cost-saving incentives to get away from traditional solar power and switch to clean, renewable power. Soon, California residents may have an additional incentive to further increase their energy independence.
This past April, a new bill was approved by the state Senate which sets the foundation for incentives for installing energy storage incentives. Should the bill officially pass, public utilities throughout the state would be required to create an Energy Storage Initiative and submit a budget by the end of 2018, and then from 2018 through 2027 collect a stipend from the state government to fund rebates for energy storage system installations.
The California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) believes this legislation would create a market for power storage similar to that of what the state did for solar power a decade ago—create a thriving and competitive market which drives down prices and ensures access to these technologies for all types of customers across the state.
Energy storage has a number of benefits for home and business owners, particularly as California continues to grow and our electrical grid continues to become more and more stressed under the demand. Energy storage usually consists of a large battery or series of batteries that intake electricity and store it for use in a number of situations. During peak hours, brownouts and blackouts become a real possibility, particularly during the heat of summer.
With the new peak usage pricing structure taking effect for electric companies across the state, many homeowners, regardless of whether or not they have solar, are choosing to recharge their batteries during low-demand hours to save money and then switch to battery power during these peak times to avoid paying the higher rates.
Many people who choose to install solar panels and switch to producing their own electricity also look into the idea of installing an energy storage system, and there are numerous reasons why. For those who want to completely cut themselves off from the state’s energy grid, a battery solution can provide your home with electricity during nighttime hours or on days where solar energy production can’t keep up with the demand. These systems recharge themselves using the energy produced during the day and then switch on to power the home at night when a solar array is not generating any power. For those who still stay connected, a home battery system can still help you stay as energy-independent as possible, allowing you to keep and use more of the electricity your panels generate before having to draw from the local grid.
Numerous options have hit the market that have greatly expanded the feasibility of this technology. For example, the Tesla Powerwall is a popular, low-profile and affordable storage solution that can store up to 14 kilowatts of power, enough for a three-bedroom home for up to a day. The system is also expandable, and additional batteries can be added at nearly any time to accommodate increased usage, a more efficient solar system, or a desire to store more power. Numerous other solar and clean energy companies are continuing to develop their own energy storage solutions, and it’s reasonable to believe that this competition will lead to the development of better products available at lower prices—an ideal situation for consumers.
With new energy storage incentives, it’s reasonable to expect that energy storage solutions will become the next popular upgrade for many homeowners. While the proposed deadline for incentives is still about a year and a half away, there’s a strong chance that S.B. 700 will be passed and these incentives will become real. This means now is a good time to start considering your options when it comes to your energy independence and power storage solutions so you can keep your home powered on and your electric bills low.