California has a good solar problem. It has an overabundance of solar power generation that could be better utilized with the implementation of energy storage technology. State Senator Scott Weiner (D) introduced Senate Bill 700 to create an energy storage incentive that would provide rebates to customers of utility companies who install energy storage systems.
“The challenge is to match our daytime supply of clean renewable power with the actual demand for electricity, which now peaks in the evening. Fortunately, California is poised to turn this challenge into opportunity by putting power into battery storage for use when it’s needed,” said Ben Airth, senior specialist of distributed energy resources at The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE). CSE evaluated the benefits of combining residential rooftop solar systems with energy storage technologies and called for this type of policy to increase deployment of both energy storage and solar to reduce demand for electricity during peak hours.
Storing solar generated energy during the day in battery systems for use during those peak demand hours would reduce demand for more expensive peaker plants to operate and reduce users’ time-of-use charges. The bill, which would require the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to create the incentive program, would support the job growth in the state’s solar industry, which has already grown to over 100,000 workers and ranks first in the nation, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
“With nearly instantaneous response time, battery storage can smoothly ramp up and regulate supply, displacing peaker plants while simultaneously decreasing intermittency. The potential social benefits are substantial, including cost savings, expanded consumer choice, a cleaner environment and robust clean-tech market and job growth,” said Airth.
Companies like Tesla and Surrun have marketed residential batteries along with solar arrays in Hawaii and California and customers are catching on to the benefits of the combination. Larger-scale solar and battery systems have provided significant savings for business and residents. For instance, a one-megawatt solar energy storage system was added to SOMO Village’s 3.1 megawatt installation in Rohnert Park, CA. The solar-plus-battery system is expected to save its 1,000 residents and 50 businesses $1.8 million over 10 years and $160,000 in the first year.Tweet