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.

Bipartisan Senate Bill Allocates $100M to Ease Residential Solar, Storage Permitting

Sens. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced a bill on Monday to create a federal program to ease the permitting of distributed energy systems, including solar, battery storage and electric vehicle fast chargers. S. 2447 would appropriate $20 million annually, from fiscal year 2019 to 2024, for a new nonprofit organization under the Department of Energy, dubbed the Distributed Energy Opportunity Board, to streamline local permitting and inspection for qualifying systems.

U.S. Residential Energy Storage Market Sees Most Growth Ever in a Single Quarter in Q2 2019

The United States storage sector deployed more residential storage in Q2 2019 than in any other quarter on record, adding more than 30 megawatts for the first time, according to the new U.S. Energy Storage Monitor from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the U.S. Energy Storage Association. In a 20 percent increase from Q2 2018, 75.9 megawatts of front-of-the-meter and behind-the-meter storage was deployed in the second quarter of 2019.