Batteries vs. Blackouts: 1,100 Homes Powered Through Vermont Outage With Storage

Home batteries proved their resilience value during Vermont’s Halloween blackout. A major rain and wind storm struck the state at the close of October, knocking out power to some 115,000 customers. Among those affected, 1,100 homes managed to keep the lights on thanks to pilot programs specifically designed to promote resilient backup power with energy storage. The battery backup service lasted nine hours on average, but the longest instance stretched to 82 hours.

Top Federal Energy Official Visits Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood

Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette toured a home at Reynolds Landing in Hoover, where Alabama Power partnered with Signature Homes, Southern Company, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and technology vendors to create the Smart Neighborhood. Reynolds Landing homes feature emerging energy-efficient technologies, materials and appliances. The neighborhood is connected to a nearby community-scale solar energy system with natural gas and battery backup, the first of its kind in the Southeast.

City of Santa Barbara, CEC to Help Residents Prepare for Power Outages at Home Energy Storage Workshop

Community Environmental Council (CEC) and the City of Santa Barbara will present a free Home Energy Storage Workshop to help Santa Barbara homeowners understand the ins and outs of pairing solar power with battery storage. Led by CEC, the free workshop will provide the community an opportunity to gather and discuss power backup options in the face of imminent widespread “public safety power shutoffs.”

California Blackouts: Keeping the Lights on with Solar Energy

Hundreds of thousands of homes in California lost power early on Wednesday as windy, dry weather increased the risk of fire, prompting the electric utility, PG&E, to shut down the grid to avoid any chance of the type of power-line accident that sparked the deadly wildfire in the small town of Paradise less than a year ago. It may take days for the power to come back on. But at some homes, solar and battery storage systems are keeping the lights on.

The Future of Energy Storage Is Here: An Inside Look at Rocky Mountain Power’s 600-Battery DR Project

The first residents of an all-electric and energy efficient community — the largest battery demand response project in the United States — are settling into new apartments. Their cars are tucked neatly beneath solar panel covers and their electric cars can plug into charging ports. Inside each apartment in the Soleil Lofts development, a battery is humming. When complete, the planned community’s 22 buildings will have 600 apartment units with 12.6 MWh of battery storage, 5.2 MW of solar panels, 150 stalls of EV chargers and an overriding focus on energy efficiency. Utility access to the 600 batteries will turn the complex into a grid resource.

Panasonic Launches New Residential Solar Battery

Panasonic has launched a lithium-ion storage solution for residential solar installations. The company said its EverVolt storage system is available in the U.S. in AC and DC-coupled versions and boasts a storage capacity ranging from 5.7 kWh up to to 34.2 kWh. The Japanese electronics giant added the system is compatible with all kinds of PV technologies and inverters and can be tailored to homeowner needs. Panasonic said owners can monitor their systems with bespoke software and a user-friendly app.

California Supercharges Battery Incentive for Wildfire-Vulnerable Homes

California has passed its first-ever subsidy aimed specifically at bringing more distributed solar and energy storage to people at highest risk of having their power shut off by utilities trying to prevent wildfires. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved changes late last week to the Self-Generation Incentive Program, the state’s premier behind-the-meter battery incentive program. Among them is a $100 million carve-out for vulnerable households and critical services in “high fire threat districts,” offering incentives that could pay for nearly all of a typical residential battery installation, according to the CPUC analysis.

Implications of Rate Design for the Customer-Economics of Behind-the-Meter Storage

This work provides insights for the two main sources of bill savings for residential and commercial customers – demand charge reductions and arbitrage of energy charges – considering a range of customer profiles and retail rate designs. Storage can reduce monthly demand charges, which are dependent on the customer’s billing demand in kW rather than the amount of energy they consume in kWh, by charging during times of low energy consumption and discharging during peak consumption hours, thereby reducing peak power consumption from the grid. Storage can also reduce electricity bills by charging the storage during low-priced hours and discharging during high-priced hours, taking advantage of price-differentials of time-varying rates. This study considers a variety of demand charge designs and rates that allow for energy arbitrage.

Virtual Power Plant of 1,000 Homes Planned for Hawaiian Electric

The world’s largest residential virtual power plant is planned for the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, managing the electricity from some 1,000 rooftop solar-plus-storage systems that will be installed under a four-year contract beginning in 2020. Project developers Sunrun and OATI will send the energy from the residential systems to Hawaiian Electric Company’s (HECO) grid as called upon by the utility. The virtual power plant will provide peak demand shaving, on-demand reserve capacity and ancillary services.